June 23, 2011

Cold-Pressed Coffee

I look back at a lot of the rituals I had in college and think that even at 19, I had a few things figured out. Nearly every day I managed to make it to my favorite coffee shop to sit in front of the big picture windows and read.

(I especially remember one triumphant afternoon when this slow reader plowed through most of A House for Mr. Biswas in time for the next day’s class. But my academic triumph was hosed by a couple in their late-20s sitting at the table next to me, in love and looking happy, who pinched my heart with an empty ache. Oh, the misery of a lovesick teenager.)

Once the Minnesota winter thawed, it was here that I learned about cold-brewed coffee. Deeply chocolately, without a whiff of bitterness, it was a revelation, and a recipe that speaks to the heart of any lazy girl. Combine coffee grounds with water. Go to sleep. In the morning, strain, and drink bliss.

This is a great way to make coffee when you’re camping or in a vacation house, and somehow magically––I can’t explain it––this method can transform even the cheapest tin-can coffee into something magnificent.

Cold-Pressed Coffee
Serves 2

1/3 cup ground coffee

In a French press (a jar or pitcher works, too,) stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

In the morning, plunge French press, or if using a jar, strain coffee through a coffee filter. Pour over ice, and doctor to your liking.

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  • Julie: I’ve never heard of this method before! I’ve been trying to make coffee early, then stick a cup in fridge for it to cool down before I’m ready to ice it down. This is so much better than that!4 years ago

  • Julie: You will love. Seriously. And for achingly hot days, no stove!4 years ago

  • Nikki: I love this. It’s kinda like that overnight oat thing that’s been taking over health food blogs.

    And there’s nothing like saving 4 dollars by making coffee at home instead of getting it from a coffee shop.4 years ago

  • Cadi: Mmm… just in time! I’ve been spending the rent on iced coffee from my favorite shop this week, it’s been sweltering. I’ve heard that cold pressed coffee is better than hot coffee that’s been iced, that somehow the cold brewing makes it less bitter? There’s only one way to find out. Thanks for this!4 years ago

  • brie.: ok, you have officially saved my summer. i’ve been wonder FOREVER how to make this, i’ve looked for assistance online to no avail. thank you for improving my life today. seriously, london is set to enter a heatwave and i’m certain that i’ll be looking forward to this EVERY morning!4 years ago

  • SarahJ: This is one of my favorite things about summer! I usually store the coffee in a mason jar in the fridge and it feels so luxurious to have on hand. I will also have a jar of simple syrup if i’m really on top of things. Sadly, I packed my French press during my move and haven’t figured out where it is.4 years ago

  • Woo-hoo! Glad to save the day!

    And it’s true, Cadi–not bitter at all. I don’t get it. It’s…magic.

    This morning I only had a little bit of the cold-pressed coffee left and was still hankering for more. So I made some hot espresso to shake up with ice and the results were clear: so not as good! 4 years ago

  • Jessica: Thank you, Sarah! This seems SO much simpler than other (non tasty) versions I’ve tried before. Joy!4 years ago

  • Lizzy: I have a great addition…the night before, after you set your coffee on the counter to rest overnight, make some simple syrup to sweeten your coffee. This simple thing makes the coffee feel like a special dessert as well as your required caffeine for the day! Plus, who likes that grainy sugar sitting at the bottom of the coffee?

    Vanilla/Cinnamon Simple Syrup
    1 cup water
    1 cup sugar
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 tablespoons vanilla

    Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once the sugar is well dissolved and the syrup lightly coats the back of a spoon. Remove cinnamon stick. Pour into a jar and chill in the fridge. Add as much as you like to your coffee and stir rigorously4 years ago

  • Claire: I have a silly question…can it sit longer than 12 hours? I drink my coffee at work because I hate commuting with coffee (I know I’ll spill it on the bus or train!) — I’m wondering if I could make it around 5 p.m. at work and get to it the next day around 9 a.m….? Thoughts appreciated. :)4 years ago

  • Suzy: Huh! Never heard of this before! I’m not much of a coffee drinker but I think I have to try this! I love simple, revolutionary things like this that don’t cost much time or money. Of course, that’s the bread and butter of PoP… and why we all keep reading! Thanks yet again, Sarah.

    (And thank you to Lizzy for sharing the simple syrup recipe. Must try that as well!)4 years ago

  • Sara: So interesting how many ways to brew coffee there are. I have to try this, just out of curiosity alone!4 years ago

  • Sara Rose: I keep meaning to try cold pressed coffee and am so glad you wrote it . . because that means I have more ways to drink coffee all day! Happy weekend!4 years ago

  • Kanesha: So great. Can’t wait to try this out during the holiday (7/4) weekend.
    {Plus, my mother-in-law keeps buying Folgers…so seems like the perfect project.}4 years ago

  • Anita: Ooooh! This was good Sarah! I make a simple sugar (1 cup sugar and 1 cup water heated until the sugar has melted into the water). I add the simple sugar and some skim milk to make my iced coffee. Better than Starbucks!

    Also I was reading through your blog and stumbled upon your yogurt making adventures. I’m sure you don’t have time right now. However I bought a tube of regular yogurt and strained it for 24 hours using 2 layers of cheese cloth and an regular strainer. Then I whipped it up with my hand mixer…Greek Yogurt! Cheaper than buying it. YUM! :) Just add honey, berries, etc. etc. etc.4 years ago

  • Anita: Oops…Not tube…but…TUB of yogurt. *slapping had against forehead!4 years ago

  • wendy: I have been making this since you posted about it a while ago, last year? It is fabulous! And with the addition of the simple syrup recipe, I think I will be in heaven! I have been making a large batch and fridging it to last all week. yummy!4 years ago

  • Alicia Marie: Ok. I made this yesterday and I finally got to try my coffee this morning. OMG. Thank you. This was exactly what I’ve been looking for and the serving size is perfect. Thankyouthankyoythankyou.4 years ago

  • WOO-HOO! I love a triumph! :)

    Claire, I bet you could. If you’re worried about it being too strong––and it’s pretty strong––you could add a little more water to counteract the extra time? But I’d just try it as is and see how you like it when it sits longer. Then you can adjust as necessary.

    4 years ago

  • Claire: Thank you, Sarah!! I’m going to give it a go next week!4 years ago

  • Nimble: Our coffee maker died last week. I want you to know how much this know-how has improved the quality of life for my husband and me. Coffee+water+time. It’s magic!4 years ago

  • Wholesale Coffee: Cold brewed coffee is the best for iced coffee! Toddy works great or try the manual method: Cold water and ground coffee together in a pitcher for 8-12hrs, strain, and enjoy black or with cream/milk. If done properly it will not be bitter. Use a central American for the best results. YUMMM!!!4 years ago

  • M @ Pub Diaries: I’m a recent convert to ice coffee / cold pressed coffee. The weather in London doesn’t often demand that I forego the warmth but while in New York recently the heat was too much and still needing my caffeine hit I was introduced to it near the Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg… Now back in Europe the Autumn is upon us but I don’t think I can wait until Summer.4 years ago

  • Ivana: Hi. I have a question. What kind of coffee do you use for this? I have to explain my question for it to make sense. I live in Macedonia, in the Balkans and here when you say ‘coffee’ it means Turkish coffee as we say it. It’s ground roasted coffee beans boiled in a little pot. I doubt that you can make the coffee you suggest with this kind. So when you say ‘coffee’, do you actually mean espresso? I’d love to try it. Thanks for the idea.4 years ago

  • Hi Ivana, I’ve used a few different kids of coffee. I’ve used ground whole bean coffee in a dark roast like this, and I’ve also used ground coffee that comes in a can (sometimes marked espresso) like this or this. I hope that answers your question!4 years ago

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