So I think it’s safe to say that I have a bit of a Starbucks addiction. Even though we have free coffee at my office, my days are just a bit better when I have my daily grande skinny vanilla latte. The downside, of course, is that they’re about $4 a pop. Multiply that by 5 days a week, and it’s a very expensive addiction.
I came across this idea a while ago and thought I’d give it a try. On hot days, iced coffee really hits the spot. And I figured I could just bring a giant batch in my nalgene and sip on it all day. And it’s surprisingly easy to make. Don’t let all of the steps scare you. I think it only took me about 30 minutes of effort to do (not including the time it took to steep).
Homemade Iced Coffee
Ingredients and supplies:
1 lb ground coffee (dark roast)
8 quarts cold water
A big container that can hold at least 10 quarts and has a cover
Another container, could be a pitcher
A fine mesh strainer
Ice cub tray
Things you like in your coffee (I used Almond milk and splenda)
This was the coffee I used since it was the one that the website recommended. I found it at CVS for about $4. And you can sometimes find it on sale or use coupons. You could probably use another brand of coffee if you’d like. I think as long as it’s strong enough. This one in particular said it was “dark roast, special for espresso coffee.”
In your large container, dump the 1 lb of coffee. I happened to have an old container I used to use for cereal. The original instructions recommended this one: Food Storage Container . I personally didn’t want to pay $16 plus the $4 for the lid. So I really think that any container that’s big enough will do. Also you could always just halve the recipe so you can use a smaller container.
Pour in 8 quarts of cold water (2 gallons). This part is a little weird. It looked like the coffee floated to the top. And wasn’t really mixing. So I tried to stir it up a bit with a wooden spoon until I was satisfied that all of the coffee was wet.
Cover the container. This was where I discovered that my container was unfortunately just a tad too small. I forgot that my lid was a few inches thick so I couldn’t stick it in without the water splashing everywhere. But I figured it was covered enough so I just went with it. Let it sit on your counter for at least 8 hours. If you’re doing it on the weekend, you could do it the night before and then strain it in the morning. I did it during the week, so mine sat overnight and then the whole next day until I got home from work.
After the time is over, take your second container and place your mesh strainer over the top. You can see that I just used the pitcher that I was planning on keeping the coffee in. No reason to messy up another container. Also in order to get the strainer to stay still, I stuck the handle of the strainer through the top of my slow cooker. Clever, huh? Anyway, then put the cheesecloth over the strainer. Don’t skip this step. If you do, you’ll find small bits of coffee in your drink. Not good.
Now start pouring the whole mess through the strainer. You should see that the water drains through and the coffee starts forming a mound at the top. You might need to do a bit at a time, since the coffee piles up quickly. I was surprised that the water went through so quickly though. I thought it would take a few hours to drain, but really it was just a matter of minutes.
You should start seeing your pitcher fill up with your coffee.
At the end, you might need to push on the mound with a spoon to get the last of the water through. I just played around with it a bit until I was satisfied no more was coming out. Take the cheesecloth of coffee out and chuck it straight into the trash.
You now have your iced coffee. I took one of my ice cube trays and poured a bit of coffee into them. You’ll see why in a second. Place the pitcher in the fridge to chill and the ice cub tray in the freezer.
The next morning I filled my nalgene with a few cubes of regular ice and a few cubes of the coffee ice. The thinking behind this is that as the coffee ice melts, it won’t water down and dilute your coffee.
Pour a little bit of your coffee into your glass.
Then fill the rest of it up with anything else that you like in your coffee. You could use milk, but since I’m more or less lactose-intolerant, I used the almond milk from Trader Joe’s. I tried it with just the almond milk at first bought found it way too bitter so I added splenda.
Now as to whether or not I’ll make this again, I’m not sure. When I first made it, I really liked it. It was easy, cheap and tasted OK. However after a few days of it, I started to not be so excited. One reason is that I found it a little too strong for my taste. As the coffee ice melted, it actually made the coffee too strong. So after a few days of that, I decided to just use the regular ice cubes. Also the first time I made it, I used the sweetened vanilla almond milk. However after looking at the ingredients, I realized that the sweetened milk had a lot more carbs than the unsweetened. Unfortunately you also sacrifice taste when you switch to the unsweetened. It’s good in my smoothies because those are sweet enough, but in the coffee I really needed it.
The coffee should keep for a while in your fridge, depending on how air tight your container is. According to the original instructions, if it’s in an air-tight container, it can actually keep a whole month in the fridge. Since I planned on drinking coffee every day, I decided a non-air-tight pitcher would be fine. However, about 5 days in, I started to notice a strong smell in my kitchen that I couldn’t place. I smelled the coffee pitcher and it just smelled like coffee. But there was definitely a strong unpleasant oder in my kitchen. After two days of it, I dumped out the rest of the coffee. If you try it, let me know if you experience the same smell.
Also, let me know if you make any changes to it and if you decide to use another brand of coffee. I have two more pounds of coffee to use, so maybe I’ll try it again. But for now, I’ll stick to my Starbucks.