Instructables

Easy "cold press" Iced Coffee

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It's summer time and my morning jones for java requires a temperature modification! I used to work at a popular national chain coffee shop that charged $2 - $3 or more for just a cup of cold press coffee. In this instructable I will show you how to use the exact same procedure but on a smaller scale for at-home consumption.
 
 
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Step 1: The Grind

At most grocery stores or coffee shops you can buy your beans in bulk and grind them on the premises. I find that this is the best way to get the right grind. I used to have a small coffee grinder but found that I never could get the right balance between too coarse and too fine of a grind. The coffee shop I worked at would grind beans for cold-press on the "metal filter" setting. At home, when we make hot coffee we use a french press so the coffee I use for this recipe at home is ground on the "french press" setting on the grinder at the grocery store.

For those of you grinding at home, below I have posted an up-close pic of perfectly coarse coffee grounds for this recipe. I put the grounds next to some Grape Nuts cereal for a size comparison.

Step 3: Just add water!

Now you have a 1 gallon pitcher with dry coffee grounds in the bottom. Fill the pitcher up with cold water. The coffee shops use filtered water but I just use good old Cleveland municipal water!
kbritton2 years ago
Thanks for these instructions they are very clear, and I got my setup running tonight for the first time, so I get to taste the coffee in the am - yeah! I think you did a great job illustrating the process, and I have only one small suggestion. In step 1, you use GrapeNuts to help the viewer see what size of coffee grind is best for cold pressing. But it's been 10 yrs since i've seen a GrapeNut that up-close and personal, so I don't really remember how big they are! A more standard object, like a ruler or a pencil would be a better size reference, just for your future work, which I hope is plentiful in these instructables, as I was so impressed I signed up. Thanks again for giving me the info I needed to try this!
rmitchell22 years ago
I like to boil down the coffee with sugar after I get it concentrated enough to make it into a syrup which I then add to milk. Tastes pretty good.
I'm in Michigan, and I drink iced coffee year round (hot coffee too). I already have 3 coffee pots, so the idea of buying a french press was pushing the limit. I like this concentrated coffee idea. I usually just drink it black (hot or cold), but have been known to add cream, or cream and sugar. I am also going to try using the concentrated coffee to flavor homemade ice cream - I usually use instant for that, but this would be even better! And I like the "good old Cleveland municipal" comment. Makes you more real. Thank you!
Gonna have to give this a try im using a filter i took out of a old kettle
zexy4 years ago
Nice! I'll have to give this a try.
TRL10875 years ago
This is your first Instructable? Really? It's quite good, and I can't wait to try this out. I might suggest in the last step, in the picture where you're pouring coffee back into the pitcher, that you take the picture from a direct angle, perpendicular to the wall. The same applies to a few of the other pictures, for the reason that it makes you seem more professional. There's nothing wrong, it's just a though.
my wife and i are big time coffee junkies, and iced coffee is one thing that i love to have on summer days. i appreciate this recipe, i can't wait to get home and give it a shot. thanks! nick
Rishnai5 years ago
I like the idea. I usually make the hot sort and chill, but this is a method I'd like to explore. Of course, it's 11:30 at night, so I know better than to do it now.
spookypants5 years ago
Very similar to my method, only I used coffee filters to filter the grounds. I'll be converting it into an instructable soon ..

My web version here: http://rabblog.com/
Kagetsuki5 years ago
My uncle makes excellent cold-brew coffee that makes for great coffee in the summer. I know he uses a special pitcher for it and everything, and I believe the process is somewhat similar to your own, but he once told me he used light to "activate" something in the beans. I've got to ask him exactly what he does. Lately I've been addicted to iced coffee, and I think I'm going to have to try your method immediately. Thanks for the great instructable!
ClevelandWhiteout (author)  Kagetsuki5 years ago
I am very interested to learn about how and why your uncle uses light in this process! Please let me know. I'm glad you like my first instructable. I'm doing my next one on how to make homemade stock using the scraps of veggies that most of us throw away when preparing a meal. I hope you'll check it out. -Beki
I went ahead and asked him, and he said he only uses a particular type of glass pitcher with a strainer attached to a rod in the lid (I believe this is called a french press?). Anyway, he takes very cold water, just about to freeze, and essentially carries out everything just as you've done. However, he leaves the pitcher on the windowsill in the sunlight for a few hours. Apparently if you leave it in the sun for too long it warms the water too much and you don't get the cold-brew goodness, but if you get light in there it somehow helps the coffee particles release their umami. Since the particles are darker than the water they absorb the light and this aids in some particular chemical reaction that doesn't normally happen in cold water. He had no scientific basis for any of this so it may be pure perception, but he's been playing with coffee making since before I was borne so I'm assuming he knows what he's doing and is capable of ascertaining the difference in taste by methodology. He also said he's been playing with putting cold packs and ice in the water when he puts it in the light so the water will stay cooler longer and the brew can sustain more light. This whole thing also reminds me of why the Japanese are putting OLEDs in certain refrigerator compartments: the light prevents bacterial growth and enhances the flavor of meats and vegetables. Perhaps I should create an OLED enhanced "french press" thing and see if it makes really good coffee.
ClevelandWhiteout (author)  Kagetsuki5 years ago
Wow, that is so interesting! I will have to try the sun method tomorrow. I use a french press but only to make hot coffee. I posted a picture of one in the instructable for cold press just as an aside. Thank you for sharing all of the interesting info with me!
darkinertia5 years ago
do you need to use that much coffee? cuz i have a small sampler type bag i got from the store i believe its about 1 oz or 2 but im thinking it should be enough for a decent amount of cold press right?
ClevelandWhiteout (author)  darkinertia5 years ago
@darkinertia:

Yes, you can certainly make smaller batches than what my recipe calls for. Or bigger batches for that matter. For 1-2 oz you are looking at about a 1/2c. -1c. of grounds so I'm guessing that you can use 1/2 - 1 liter of water. It depends on how strong you like your coffee. I must confess I don't know a lot about making that small of a batch. Let me know how it turns out.
darkinertia5 years ago
this is an honest question, but whats the point of this? isnt just making coffee in a coffee maker and throwing it in the fridge the same thing? im just curious if this effects the taste at all
ClevelandWhiteout (author)  darkinertia5 years ago
@darkinertia: Good question! It's all about flavor. Many people develop a taste for coffee the way people develop a taste for wine or bourbon or food. If you have had a lot of various coffee beverages made the traditional way (Italian cappuccino, Cuban espresso, Turkish coffee, or even English tea & Indian chai) then coffee made the quick way is less enjoyable. (Think of the difference between cooking food on the grill vs. microwave) I know I sound like a coffee a snob - Ha! I just worked for a coffee shop for several years and got in the habit of making and drinking coffee, espresso and teas in a certain way. Also, the comment from Qadupae is absolutely correct. :)
Cold press does actually change coffee a little. Cold press reduces the amount of acid released in a cup and tastes a bit less bitter than a regular hot cup.
PKM5 years ago
Great first Instructable- you've clearly got a good feel for how to use images to enhance your instructions, which are clear and well written. I'm not even a coffee person but that drink looks very appetising :) Keep up the good work!
ClevelandWhiteout (author)  PKM5 years ago
Thank you for the great feedback! I'm trying to think of something new to do. I'm not such a handy person. So, most likely my instructables will stay in the kitchen.
Nothin' wrong with that. Everyone has to eat. :)
ClevelandWhiteout (author)  darus675 years ago
@ Darus67: You know I was just thinking last night about a possible idea for my next instructable and then this morning I got your comment! Now I know it's a sign that the idea I had yesterday must come to fruition. Are you ready for an instructable on how to prepare fresh CEVICHE?!?!? I just made it for the first time for dinner last night I couldn't believe how yummy it was and also way easier than you'd think for such and exotic dish.
flactemnad5 years ago
This works well for hot coffee too. You just make the extract and then add hot water. Way better than instant coffee in my opinion. We had a cheap french press, so we use 2-3oz of coffee with about 2.5 cups of water. Let that steep 12hr+, then press and pour into a filter. Great coffee made even better.
cry_wolf5 years ago
This is your first Instructable? Thats absolutely amazing, most people's first Instructables are works of horror, yours is very professional and beautifully documented. I loved iced coffee so i'm going to try this out. But i'm going to add some vanilla soymilk and add some sugar. :D hope you can make more instructables, good work. :)
Brennn105 years ago
I love coffee. I love this Instructable. This is tomorrow morning's breakfast drink. Thanks for the instructions!
ClevelandWhiteout (author)  Brennn105 years ago
I love my very first Instructible comment ever!
Thanks Brennn10!
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