Step 1: Ingredients
2-2/3 cups water
1 c. coffee beans (or pre-ground coffee), medium to coarse grind
Coffee press or strainer lined with cheesecloth
Whole spices, if desired
Vanilla extract (optional)
Step 2: Heat Water and Add Ground Coffee
Remove from heat, and pour into coffee press, or cover and leave on stove top if using a colander to drain (next step).
Step 3: Steeping
When the coffee has cooled:
For the coffee press, simply push the handle down as far as it will go. If you're using a cheesecloth-lined colander, Set the colander (strainer) over a bowl, pour the coffee, grounds and all, into the cheesecloth, and bring up the sides of the cheesecloth, forming the coffee grounds into a ball. Twist and squeeze!
You should have about 2 cups of insanely strong coffee.
Step 4: "Cooking" the Syrup
If you allow the syrup to boil, you will wind up with a heavy concoction that won't dissolve smoothly in the seltzer. It might work for an ice cream topping, but......HEY! There's your second batch!
In the saucepan, combine the brown sugar and coffee over medium-low heat, and stir until the sugar is dissolved -- usually right around the time the mixture is thoroughly heated (too hot to touch), but not boiling.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. If you see a thin, foamy layer on top, just stir it right back in.
Adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla is optional, but it's a very nice touch.
Store in the fridge -- the syrup should keep well for at least several weeks.
Step 5: Finishing
Measure out an ounce or two of syrup.
Fill your glass halfway with seltzer, and then very, very slowwwwwwly, begin to pour the syrup into the glass. If the seltzer foams up, just pause and wait until everything settles, stir gently, and then continue adding. Taste-test intermittently. Keep track of how much syrup you add, so you'll be able to establish your preferred ratio of seltzer to syrup.