A tale of two iced coffee methods.

I’m a coffee fiend. It only took me three weeks to get to the Gold level in Starbucks rewards, and I’ve gotten about five free drinks since then (buy 15 drinks, get one free). I was on overtime when I first got my card, so my coffee consumption was through the roof. Now I have no excuse really. I’m guessing I spend about $80/month on coffee. Now, before you start munching on your hater tots and telling me I could buy a new Porsche with all the money I’ve spent on coffee over the years, give this blog post by my buddy Serendipity a quick read (see also: Bridget’s marshmallows post. And anything Ramit has ever written).

I need my coffee. And I consider this a worthwhile expense.

The reason I’m writing about making your own coffee at home isn’t so much because it’s cheaper (although that’s a nice perk), it’s that I drink coffee as part of my daily routine. It’s inconvenient for me to get to a Starbucks before heading for the bus (when I’m staying at my house, anyway) and if I waited until I got to work to have my first coffee of the day bitches would get cut left and right. I can’t handle hot coffee when the temperature is about 12 or higher, so iced coffee is where it’s at for the two months of summer we get here. I normally stop at Starbucks since they have an iced coffee concentrate and Second Cup uses the horrendous method of just pouring regular coffee over a ton of ice (blech). On the days that I can’t get to a Starbucks on my way to the bus, I want to be able to have iced coffee, so I scoured the internet in search of the perfect recipe. My search yielded two main recipes for iced coffee – the grounds & filter method, and the double brewing method (also a lot of pictures of iced coffee in mason jars. Hipsters).

mine didn’t look this good – image from thepioneerwoman.com

The first method I tried was the grounds & filter, and it was pretty labour intensive (there’s your first clue). This is the Pioneer Woman’s preferred recipe as well. It involves adding one cup of grounds to approximately one litre of water, shaking it (like a polaroid picture) so that all the grounds are saturated, and leaving it overnight (or approximately 12 hours). Then, you line a strainer with a coffee filter and pour the sludgey mixture through. Voila. Iced coffee concentrate that you then chill and serve.

Since I live in a 500 square foot apartment, I don’t have any large containers suitable for making a huge quantity of iced coffee concentrate. This makes for a lot of work and very little payoff. I drink a TON of iced coffee and this concentrate doesn’t last very long in my fridge. The sludge is also unruly and I got it all over my counter as I was pouring them into the strainer.  Ditched.

Onward! The double brewing method is where you brew your coffee normally, but then do it again using the coffee you just made instead of water. This blew my mind when I first read about it – GENIUS! It tasted bitter. And again, not a huge amount for what I made. Ditched.

Thus, I have now decided that the best method to use is this one. It makes sure your coffee is strong and holds up against the ice, and doesn’t have the bitter taste you might get with a double brew. To sweeten, make yourself a quick batch of simple syrup (heat 2 cups water, add 2 cups sugar when it boils, once sugar is dissolved remove from heat to cool) and you’re in business. You could also buy the Starbucks Via iced coffee, which at $6.95 for a five pack isn’t horrible, but it’s still much less than buying one from a store.

Is there anything you can’t live without during the summer months? Do you drink as much coffee as I do?


Filed under Personal Finance, Recipes

6 responses to “A tale of two iced coffee methods.

  1. I just brew coffee or espresso as normal, pour over ice, and add milk. I didn’t even realize you were supped to do it differently for iced coffee?? lol

    PS. thanks for the link back! Marshmallow post is one of my favourites ;)

    • Oh I agree re: espresso because the rest of your ingredients are cold already. I just find that the regular coffee doesn’t get cold enough and I end up drinking a lukewarm watered down mess! Maybe instead of cutting down, I should just get an espresso maker!

      And no problem, I love that post!

  2. Cassie

    It’s funny that you posted this, because I just started brewing my own iced coffee last week! I was doing the same method Pioneer Woman used. To make it a little less messy I brewed it in a 4 cup measuring cup, and strained it into a juice jug using a mesh sieve with a filter in it. No mess, no fuss. I’ve been adding sweetened condensed milk to it instead of milk and sugar.

  3. belowhermeans

    “Hater tots” made me laugh so much! Can I steal this?

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