Today is the day when we, as a nation, celebrate something many of us can’t live without. That’s right, it’s National Coffee Day! (What did you think I was going to say?!?)
I don’t know about you, but I distinctly remember my first cup of coffee. It was the morning after my 8th birthday party sleepover. After a night of singalongs to Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” and staying up late giggling about how Joey from NKOTB was sooooooo cute, my friends and I woke up to find my mom had laid out donuts and other assorted goodies for breakfast. She asked us if we wanted to wash our donuts down with some coffee. Since I was practically an adult at the ripe age of 8, I raised my hand and a few other girls followed suit. She poured us teensy little cups and warned us we might want to sweeten it with some sugar. One sip confirmed she was right. I dumped sugar cube after sugar cube into my cup until the coffee was to my liking. Then I gulped it down and shuddered at the bitter taste. I felt like such a big girl in that moment.
Fast-forward to today and I can’t live without my coffee. I’ve grown to love the taste, but one thing hasn’t changed: I still love it very sweet.
In honor of National Coffee Day, I thought I’d pass along a great recipe for cold-brew coffee that I recently discovered on the Gimme Some Oven blog. It’s been so incredibly hot in Southern California the last month, and I have a hard time drinking hot coffee on hot days – especially if I’m on the go. Cold-brew coffee is the perfect solution, and I quickly learned that it’s seriously so easy to make. The steeping process takes time, though, so this is the kind of recipe you need to make in advance of when you plan to drink it.
Here’s what you’ll need (courtesy of Gimme Some Oven):
- A package of whole-bean coffee
- Coffee grinder (I have this super cheapie option from Target)
- Large bowl, preferably with a lid
- Fine mesh strainer
- Cheese cloth (you should be able to find this in the baking section of any grocery store)
To get started, choose your coffee beans. I ended up buying Starbucks Morning Blend, since it was on sale – plus I earned a Starbucks Rewards star for purchasing it. P.S., If you’re not a member of the Starbucks Rewards program and you’re a Starbucks lover, you need to sign up now!!
Make sure you get whole beans. The ground beans you’ll find in stores will be much too finely ground for this cold-brew process — which bums me out, since I have a huge container of pre-ground Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice coffee that would make a killer iced coffee!
Next, grind up enough beans to yield 1 cup of ground coffee. Don’t grind the beans too finely; it should be a coarse grind like I show below.
Place 1 cup of coffee into the bottom of a large bowl (large enough to fit 1 quart of water). Then measure out 4 cups of filtered water (it will taste better using filtered) and pour that over the coffee in the bowl. Stir it all together, then cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 12 hours. I definitely recommend exceeding the 12-hour mark.
Once your coffee has sufficiently steeped, it’s time to strain the grounds out. Place a layer of cheesecloth in a fine mesh strainer and place the strainer over a bow. Pour your coffee/grounds mixture over the strainer and cheesecloth and let it sit until all the liquid has drained into the bowl. You can even press down on the coffee grounds with a fork to squeeze out any last liquid.
Transfer the cold brew coffee into whatever container you plan to store it in. All said and done, I ended up with exactly 3 cups of liquid, which was enough for 4 very tall glasses of iced coffee. I actually expected it to make a bit more, so I may double the recipe next time.
Unless you like really strong coffee, you’ll probably need to dilute this cold brew. The Gimme Some Oven recipe recommended two parts coffee to one part water, though I prefer it mixed at three parts coffee, one part water.
Remember how I mentioned I love sweet coffee? I’m a stevia user, since I love the fact that it’s a natural sweetener with no calories. But my go-to brand, Truvia, doesn’t do well in sweetening cold beverages like iced coffee or iced tea, since it’s in granule form versus powder. I just end up with a bunch of stevia granules at the bottom of my glass. I’ve even tried making a Truvia simple syrup (which involves heating equal parts Truvia and water in a pan until the Truvia dissolves fully), but you can’t make a big batch of it and keep it for later because the liquid starts to crystallize after a few hours. I’m sure there’s some kind of chemical reaction when it’s heated, but it still creeped me out when I saw the crystals forming.
So, my go-to no-calorie sweetener for cold bevvies is Trader Joe’s Liquid Stevia. It’s the only brand of liquid stevia I’ve tried, since—from what I’ve read—it has the least bitter after-taste. But, I’ve also good things about the Whole Foods 365 Organic liquid stevia, too. I recommend sweetening your coffee each time you mix up a glass versus sweetening the coffee concentrate itself, since you’ll be diluting it with water. I need about 1-and-a-half droppers of the Trader Joe’s stevia to get my coffee to the perfect sweetness — but since I like it sweeter than most, one dropper will probably be plenty for the average person!
If you prefer regular sugar, a good old simple syrup will be perfect for sweetening your coffee. Just as I said above, heat equal parts sugar and water in a pan and stir until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool fully. Unlike my Truvia version, regular simple syrup stores beautifully. Keep it in your fridge for up to a month.
I’ve been drinking my cold-brew non-stop since I first tried the recipe out. It’s the perfect start to these hot days we can’t seem to get rid of in SoCal.
If you try the recipe, let me know how you like it in the comments below! And if you have a favorite liquid stevia I didn’t mention, I’d love to know that as well!