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Cold Brew: So Hot Right Now
It used to be the sole domain of coffee connoisseurs but now it’s the must-have sip of the summer: cold-brew iced coffee. Why cold brew? The long, cool soak allows coffee’s nuanced aromas and rich flavors to come through, minus the bitterness and acidity released by contact with hot water.
Jonathan Rubinstein, owner of Joe and one of the brave pioneers who first introduced great coffee to New York City, shares his cold-brew tips with us.
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Cold Brew How-To from the Experts
“At Joe we use a total of one pound of coffee grounds to nine cups of cold water for each batch" (But you can scale down the proportions to your needs.) "We like to combine half the coffee with two-thirds of the water, let it sit for five minutes, then add the remaining coffee, followed by the rest of the water, making sure all the grounds are wet."
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Choose Your Container
"I use the Toddy cold-brew system but you can use a regular French press as well,” says Rubinstein, "just make sure all the fine grinds are filtered out of the brew before you drink it." (Alternatively, use a plain ol' glass jar for cold brew, though straining it is more of a pain.) Once the coffee and water are mixed, cover it and leave to steep. "Twelve hours at room temperature is ideal. Fridge is an option, and can be delicious, but you'll need to increase brew time to 24 hours, or grind the coffee finer, or both."
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Feeling the Strain
If you're using a French press, plunge the filter, then pour the mixture through a strainer lined with a filter or a piece of cheesecloth to get all the fine sediment out. If you're brewing in jar, you’ll need to pour once through cheesecloth to strain out the grounds out then again through a filter or a fresh piece of cheesecloth to catch the sediment.
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The resulting brew is a rich coffee concentrate that should be stored in the refrigerator and diluted with an equal proportion of water (or milk) before serving. "If kept at concentrate, it will keep for two weeks," Rubinstein assures. "Once diluted, we like to use it within three days."
For bonus points, make coffee ice cubes too!
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Asked what kind of coffee he prefers for cold brewing, Rubinstein declares, "Light roast coffees taste great. African coffees are particularly delicious and give a cup that has a little more depth of flavor and good acidity. The grind should be French press or coarser."
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Our cold-brew technique is very similar to Jonathan's -- give it a try.