Here at The Emerald Journal, we covet coffee like it’s a means to a very productive and successful end. Although being naturally full of energy is a lovely thought, the hustle and flow of life in your twenties (or at any adult age) starts with a strong cup of coffee. Cold brew coffee is becoming a staple amongst coffee lovers especially in tropical South Florida where temperatures reach into the 90s as early as April! With all the outdoor activities beckoning this time of year we need to get our coffee fix from cooler sources—a hot cup o’Joe just doesn’t pair well with humidity. Cold brew in Miami has become synonymous with Panther coffee since their brilliant inception of making cold brew not only available, but portable too. They make it pretty convenient to buy a refillable cold brew stubby—those oh so cute amber glass bottles—but you can also make your panther cold brew at home using a french press and you’re own glass bottle or mason jar. I spoke with a few helpful baristas from my favorite coffee shop about the simple home brew process and felt pretty confident I could handle the task. Most of the “work” is a waiting game in that you just need to let the grounds sit in water, then the magic happens.
Not to be confused with iced coffee (although I feel the name is intuitive) let me clarify the distinction:
Iced coffee- hot brewed coffee poured over ice. In my opinion not as tasty, and a little bit bitter.
Cold brew- coffee grounds steeped at room temperature or cold water for 9-12 hours. This method yields a much less bitter taste.
The flavor is beyond compare. Cold brew is less acidic, smoother tasting (or less bitter), and quite potent. The caffeine content can be higher in cold brew than hot brewed coffee due to the copious amounts of time the coffee solubles have to dissolve. But keep in mind caffeine results will vary depending on the bean you use, and most of the time it’s pretty comparable to hot brew. This is my very unscientific opinion here, but it seems the reason we feel so amped up by cold brew (thinking it some how has more caffeine) is simply that we can drink it much quicker than we do a hot cup of coffee. But feel free to correct me with a lengthy scientific finding that proves otherwise.
When I first thought of making my own cold brew my only hesitation was thinking I needed a bunch of fancy equipment ( i.e. filters, specialized glass chemix and a magic wand only coffee shops possess), but thankfully my curiosity was met with simplicity. I also love to note that only two of the tools here require spending money, and they are extremely affordable. My little investment of $15 for a french press paid off the moment I tasted my first cup of homemade cold brew.
From the mouths of baristas, here is the no fuss method to make your own cold brew at home using three simple tools:
A french press
-Pour room temperature water into an “8 cup” french press— which is technically only 4 cups of water because french press companies tossed out standard rules of measure. If your press is a smaller size here are the measurements to follow:
1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans to 4 cups of water or ¼ cup of coarsely ground coffee beans per cup of water.
-Add your coffee grounds to the water and stir with a spoon just enough to see the grounds combine evenly.
-Place the cover of the french press in place, but do not sink the plunger down because you want the coffee grounds to float around freely for at least 9 hours.
-Note the time you complete the previous steps and let it sit for up to 12 hours, I recommend doing it in the evening so you can wake up to cold brew and start your morning off right.
-Once the time has elapsed, you are free to grab a glass and pour yourself a serving over ice. Good to go. You can dilute with water, cream, or milk. Whatever tickles your pickle. I use vanilla soy milk and coconut syrup as sweetener, but I also love maple syrup. The options are endless. Try to use a syrup to sweeten your cold brew otherwise it doesn’t combine well. You’ll likely find yourself chewing the sugar rather than just sipping it down.
Cold brew coffee is a wonderful time saver once it’s made, you can keep it in a bottle sitting in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. For those days when leaving the house on time is nearly impossible, this will keep you on time and preserve your sanity. I also find it’s a really sweet gesture to take more than enough to share with your friends and co-workers, who doesn’t love a little unexpected cold brew pick me up? It also dawned on me this is a really simple gift idea for that coffee fiend in your life...birthdays, anniversaries, or just for the love of coffee!