As warmer days approach, save money by skipping Starbucks and making your own iced or frozen coffee drinks at home:
Cold-brewed coffee is by far the best method. It results in a strong yet less acidic brew that isn’t diluted with a whole bunch of melted ice. Not only is it the most delicious, but it will save you money, because it will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. This means no more wasted coffee and no more lazy morning trips through the Starbucks drive-thru. It also saves you money on your electric bill (although I have no way of calculating how much).
If you want to give it a shot, you could go out and buy a stupid thingamajig for $30-40, but that defeats the whole money-saving purpose here, and it is totally unnecessary. If you happen to own a French press, I have recently discovered that that is the easiest way to go, but you certainly don’t need to buy one of those either. You can make do with a big metal bowl or pot, a colander, and some cheese cloth or regular old coffee filters.
You do, however, have to shell out some dough for some coffee beans, and I hate to say it, but here it is worth spending more. I like to get mine at Broadway Cafe and Roasting Company here in KC, because it doesn’t get any fresher. Their house blend is $12 a pound. I ask the barista to grind the beans coarsely for me (like for a French press). You can also buy your beans at the grocery store and use their grinder; be sure to set it to the coarsest grind.
When you get your wonderful, fragrant beans home, all you have to do is dump them in a container with some water. Seriously, that’s it. A 1:4 ratio works well, so I like to use 2 cups of coffee and 8 cups of cool, filtered water.
Stir, cover, and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. I like my coffee strong, so I go for the full 24 hours.
Now all you have to do is strain the mixture. If you used a French press, just slowly depress the plunger, and you’re good to go. Otherwise, a two-part straining process works best. First, SLOWLY pour the mixture through a colander. Discard the grounds. Then, line the colander with a coffee filter or a double layer of cheesecloth and EXTRA SLOWLY pour the mixture through again to catch the finer grit.
Store your delicious coffee in the refrigerator. Like I said, it will last up to 2 weeks. Since it is concentrated, a lot of people like to dilute it 1:1 with water. I prefer to just add extra soy milk.
Coffee Ice for your Iced Coffee
Since you’re not pouring hot coffee over a whole bunch of ice, it doesn’t get super diluted, and like I said, some people prefer to dilute this stuff anyway, but if you’re HARDCORE and like some COFFEE IN YOUR COFFEE, try making delicious coffee ice cubes! Just pour your cold brew into an ice tray or ice mold and put it in the freezer.
Check out this hilarious denture-shaped ice tray that a friend gave me as an apartment-warming gift:
2 cups of coffee beans: $6
Yield: About 16 4-ounce servings (again, this stuff is strong)
Adding 8 ounces of soy milk per serving doubles the price, meaning that your delicious, refreshing iced coffee beverage comes in around…
That’s a fraction of what you would pay at any cafe. I actually had no idea how MUCH money I was saving by making coffee at home.
PS: If you like your coffee hot, you can still brew it cold using this method, and then heat in the microwave or on the stove before serving.