Living in a hot and humid climate can be a difficult thing to endure. For that reason, I need to find ways to stay cool and Iced Coffee is one way to go! Believe it or not, I used to hate Iced Coffee. I wouldn’t even drink my cup of hot coffee if it got cold and, I didn’t dare re-heat it either.
That was me up until a few years later, when I was on vacation at a theme park and was melting in this Texas heat! I needed something ice cold, full of caffeine and a soda was not cutting it. So I gave in. I ordered myself an Iced Coffee to quench the thirst. It was sweet, ICED and perfectly caffeinated, which made the heat (and crowds) tolerable! From that point on, I was hooked.
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Speaking as a Cookier, it’s good to have a batch of concentrate here at home so I can quickly mix up a glass and keep working. Teacher Appreciation and Nurses Week fall on the same week this year and it’s only a month away…May 6-12th! So, having this stocked in my fridge is really convenient to say the least. Truth is, this works for anybody who has a thing for Iced Coffee.
Of course nowadays, you can order it anywhere, which is pretty great. Downside…it gets pretty pricey. And when you’re trying to budget and keep expenses down, hitting the drive thru is one of the first things that gets nixed. Plus, there’s that whole thing about having to change out of your PJ’s … pffft, no thanks! But here’s a great thing about Iced Coffee…it can be made at home for a fraction of the price! All you need is coffee, water, patience and a little planning. AND…you can stay in your PJ’s…BONUS!!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Ground Coffee – Preferably Course – Whatever brand/favor you love
- Cold Water
- GLASS Jar (Large, between 1.5-2 gal)
- Mesh Strainer
- Coffee Filters
- Glass Bowls (Large)
- * Muslin Bag (optional)
- Glass Storage Container(s) – I used Mason Jars
I’ve made this recipe a couple of times (both in small and large batches) and have found it’s easier to get this started first thing in the morning, which is where the planning takes place. The day you get started doesn’t take much time, so you can get it going, then go about your business. It’ll need to sit for 24 hours before you’ll need to strain it, which is where you’ll need patience.
Once it’s the coffee is mixed with the water, it’ll look similar to a gritty, mud-like mess, as shown in the photo below. Mix, cover and allow to rest for a full day. I say this as a warning, since it can be a little time consuming. It took me a couple of hours to strain since it’s a big batch! This process goes a lot smoother (and cleaner) when a Muslin Bag is used to hold the coffee grounds.
Coffee Concentrate Process
When the time comes to begin straining, have a couple of glass bowls, strainer and coffee filters ready. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the coffee grounds, allowing as much of that liquid gold to remain in the jar. Place them in a bowl and set aside.
If you allow the liquid concentrate to sit a few hours, you’ll notice a thick-ishly, smooth substance sitting on the bottom of the jar. Don’t panic! This “sludge” is normal. This is a good time to either carefully scoop out the concentrate with a ladle or gently pour it into another container, but doing so without disturbing the settled sludge. Just strain out as much of it as you can but really, a little of it is okay in my book. Once you’ve got most of the coffee out, then just discard the sludge.
Now, place a filter in the strainer and place strainer over large glass bowl. Slowly and carefully begin pouring coffee concentrate into the strainer, a little at a time. Rushing through this part can be messy, splashing the concentrate all over your counter is super annoying –Not that it happened to me 😉 Let it sit and drip through into the bowl. Continue this process until the entire concentrate has been strained, changing filters as needed. You will notice that sometimes the concentrate is not filtering through, mostly because there’s sludge buildup on the filter, which means it needs to be replaced. So…replace filters as needed throughout straining process.
If using a Muslin Bag, pour ground coffee into bag, zip tie it closed and place in glass jar with water. After soaking for 24 hours, remove it from jar and place the bag in a bowl fitted with a strainer. Let as much as the coffee drip out of it and then pour the liquid into jar with the rest of it. Allow concentrate to sit a couple hours to allow the sludge to settle and then proceed with filtering it through strainer as mentioned above.
Once it’s been strained, pour into mason jars, cover with lids and refrigerate. The reason I recommend using glass bowls, jars and storage containers is because this concentrate is strong, can stain plastic and the coffee scent lingers afterwards. NOTE: Don’t discard those coffee grounds! They are useful in more ways than one and you can see how here and here.
Simple Syrup is…well, simple. Traditionally, it’s just equal parts sugar and water that have been brought to a boil, cooled and refrigerated for use in cold drinks, such as tea, lemonade and in this case, Iced Coffee. Me being the rebel that I am, alter that ratio slightly but if you like traditional, stick with that, I won’t mind. For a thicker, richer syrup, you can alter the sugar to water ratio 2:1.
Simple syrup is my preferred sweetener for these drinks because it is easily infused into them. When granulated sugar is poured into a cold drink, it settles at the bottom of the glass where it dissolves … at a snails pace. Who has time for that! I’m always making simple syrup variations and will be sharing a few of my favorite in a different post. Basic Simple Syrup is clear as is pictured in the photo below in the small jar in the middle. I make it the same day I begin soaking the coffee grounds. Once cooled, then just cover and refrigerate. Use when needed, within a few weeks preferably.
Iced Coffee Concentrate
- 1 lb Ground Coffee, Coarse
- 9 cups Water
- 1/2 cup Water
- 3/4 cup Sugar
Add ground coffee to a large glass container.
Add water and stir gently to combine. Cover with lid or a kitchen towel. Allow to sit on kitchen counter for 24 hours.
Scoop out coffee grounds, place in bowl and set aside. Allow liquid concentrate to sit for a couple of hours.
Slowly and carefully pour concentrate through a strainer lined with a coffee filter, leaving "sludge" that's settled at the bottom undisturbed if possible.
Pour concentrate into glass storage containers and refrigerate for up to a week.
Mix equal amount of coffee concentrate and cold water. Add choice of creamer (or milk) and simple syrup to taste. Pour over ice and enjoy.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Mixture will be cloudy at first but then will turn clear once it begins to bubble up. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Carefully pour into container, cover and store in refrigerator.
My Preference: 1/2 cup Concentrate, 1/2 cup Water, 1/2 cup Milk & Creamer Combination and 3 tbsp Simple Syrup. Stir well and serve over ice. Yes, I like mine sweet 😉
Variations: Replace Simple Syrup with flavored syrup of choice, such as: Chai, Earl Grey, Caramel, Vanilla, etc. Tailor this recipe to suit your preference by altering the concentrate to water/milk/sweetener ratios!
TIP: After mixing concentrate with water, fill an ice tray and freeze. Use the ice cubes in your prepared glass to prevent it getting watered down.
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