There's one drink that I can't get enough of this time of year. When the humidity is up and temps rarely drop below 90 in the daytime, I reach for this.
And while I'm sure Starbucks is very happy with my summertime obsession, I really wanted to perfect a recipe for making my own iced coffee. Cold brewing is the most popular method and I tried it last summer, but could never get it to come out right. I bought the brew from Starbucks made specifically for iced coffee, but still could not get mine to taste like theirs.
While hanging out poolside with my family last weekend, we started gushing about iced coffee and my cousin Catie said she tried The Pioneer Woman's recipe and really liked it. That blog post has over 1200 comments, so apparently lots of other people like it as well!
The one thing I saw in her recipe that made all the difference was the coffee to start with. I think my issue in the past was not using a strong enough brew, so I used Cafe Bustelo (can be found at WalMart) as she recommended. Her recipe makes a TON of coffee concentrate, so I scaled it down to just try it out first to make sure I liked it. If you want to make an even smaller quantity, just use 4T of ground coffee per 6oz of water.
At Home Iced Coffee
Makes 3 or 4 12 oz glasses of iced coffee
2/3 cup ground coffee
3 cups cold filtered water
Milk (I use unsweetened soy milk)
Agave nectar or simple syrup to taste
Mix the ground coffee and water in a large bowl or pitcher and stir well to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
Strain out the coffee grounds using a fine-mesh strainer and cheesecloth (paper towels also work well). What you are left with is super strong; essentially it is coffee concentrate. Fill a glass half with the concentrate and half with milk. Add agave or other sweetener to taste. FYI - the concentrate should last at least 2 weeks tightly covered in the fridge.
I don't put sugar in my iced coffee because it doesn't dissolve and just sinks to the bottom. I like to make a simple syrup by putting equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, heat to boiling, stir until the sugar dissolves, then cool. This syrup will incorporate well into any cold drink. You can also add spices (like cinnamon sticks) to flavor the syrup if you wish. The syrup will last for about 2 weeks covered in the fridge (beware - it is VERY sticky!). If you don't drink your iced coffee right away and want it to stay cool for a while, a great tip is using ice cube trays to freeze some of the concentrate to put in your glass so your drink doesn't get watered down with using regular ice.
I haven't calculated exactly how much I'm saving, but I know it's a huge savings over buying from Starbucks. And I'm very happy with this recipe, so I'm sure I'll be making it all summer long!