Secrets Revealed! (Or, Perfect Iced Coffee)

It’s absolutely, totally, completely, sweat-running-down-your-back-ily summer. And that means it’s time for iced coffee.

Window into Iced Coffee
(I did not take that awesome photo; it was taken by Thingo and shared on Flickr under a Creative Commons license. I’m grateful for this, because this post has been in the works for weeks, and held up by photo trouble!)

For years, I only bought iced coffee because I couldn’t figure out how to get the same results at home. But now the secrets have been revealed!

Secret #1: Make your coffee ahead! I usually am lazy and end up just brewing hot coffee in my drip maker and then putting it in the fridge, but you can also make cold-brew by mixing a third of a cup of ground coffee with 1 1/2 cups water and letting it sit overnight in the fridge, then straining the grounds out with a double-layer of cheesecloth. Cold brew has the advantage of being very smooth and low acidity; I just can’t usually manage cheesecloth before having any coffee.

Secret #2: Simple syrup. This was actually the first secret I learned, from a brilliant coffee shop that offered it in the summer. I make mine with two parts sugar to one part water. Combine them in a pan and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. The sugar will dissolve into a cloudy solution; it’s done when the solution turns clear. I store mine in a mason jar, but a brilliant friend recently turned me on to using a rinsed-out wine bottle to store it for easier pouring.

Secret #3: Coffee ice cubes. This is the best part, because it saves you from watery coffee or trying some alchemy involving brewing double-strength and adding just the right amount of ice. Just freeze some brewed coffee in an ice cube tray. I find it easiest to pop the cubes out and store them in a tupperware once they’re frozen; that way I can wash and use the tray for other things in the meantime. If you add milk or sugar to your coffee, remember that these cubes will add about a tablespoon each of undiluted coffee to your mug as they melt!

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1 comment to Secrets Revealed (Or, Perfect Iced Coffee)

  • bonnie

    hint – if you brew it in a french press you can pretty much skip the cheesecloth. the very bottom gets a wee bit of grounds, but not much, and it’s easy to stop pouring right before you’re going to get them.

    the thing that always gets me is remembering to do the brewing early enough that it will be steeped when i want it. i’m being sneaky now and getting it going at the beginning of the day instead of the end!

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