Cold Brew Coffee Recipe – How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Iced Coffee

by Irvin on September 16, 2013 · 16 comments

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Cold Brew Coffee Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com | #coffee #recipe

I remember the distinct moment when I made the decision. I gave up drinking the sugary sweet caramel soy Frappucino about two weeks into our epic cross-country road trip. I normally don’t drink coffee in general (mostly because of a two-year stint as a barista in my post-college years that traumatized me from the beverage for quite some time) but I had started up again because my normal go-to-bed-at-2am and wake-up-at-9am schedule wasn’t working out so well with our roadtrip. I need the caffeine to readjust to life on-the-road. But then, all of sudden I realized drinking a sugary caffeine laden drink and sitting in a car for 6 hours wasn’t a good match. My pants were feeling a little tight. This was not good. All the hiking I was planning on doing as we cross this grand country of ours was suppose to kickstart my WEIGHT LOSS not weight gain. When we pulled off the highway for our next coffee break, I ordered a plain iced coffee, a cold brew coffee in fact. Less calories, just as much caffeine. It was simple as that. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

AJ and Irvin Hiking in Grand Teton. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

Irvin rock scrambling at Devil's Tower. Photo by AJ Bates of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

Once I got back from our road trip, it was hard to adjust. Certainly I drank less coffee at home, but every now and then I found myself getting a hankering for stuff. Drinking it any time after 2pm was a mistake for me (buzz buzz!) but whenever I walked by a decent coffee shop (something that is pretty much impossible NOT to do here in San Francisco, land of the excellent coffee shops) I found myself being mysteriously drawn to the counter and ordering an iced coffee. The problem was, no matter how great the San Francisco coffee shop with their artisanal, local, organic, free-range, gluten-free, cruelty-free, freshly roasted half-an-hour ago coffee beans that were picked by indigenous people on the farm in their far away country where they were paid a decent living wage above and beyond fair trade, sometimes the iced coffee was good, sometimes it was great and other times it was only OK. Some shops knew how to do it and others didn’t. That’s when I realized I need to learn how to make it at home.

Cold Brew Coffee Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com | #coffee #recipe

Now you’d think it would be a pretty simple thing to do. Make some coffee and then just let it cool down. Pour it into a glass with ice and DONE. But you and I (and the coffee snobs of the world) know better. Iced coffee isn’t that simple. True cold brew ice coffee is worlds apart from the other stuff. If you just chill hot brewed coffee, the iced coffee gets bitter and astringent and needs tons of sugar and cream to make it drinkable. No sir, you need to learn how to cold brew coffee properly.

Cold Brew Coffee Recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com | #coffee #recipe

There have been plenty of places on the internet that talk about their recipe and method of making it, including using fancy equipment but as I started to experiment at home I landed on my favorite method for perfect iced coffee, a synthesis of a few different recipes around the web. And no, it doesn’t require anything more special than a plastic pitcher (or French press if you have it) and some time to let it sit. Now I can sip my iced coffee while buzzing around my apartment, content that my coffee is better than those I can get at the fancy shmancy coffee shop. Now if only I can figure out how to get back to gorgeous National Parks so I can go hiking without having to drive 10,000 miles. Then my life would truly be perfect.

Devil's Tower by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

AJ at the Badlands National Park. Photo by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda @zomppa September 16, 2013 at 5:17 am

I love the smell of coffee, but I still can’t handle the drink!!

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Ruth September 16, 2013 at 6:12 am

Man I love coffee- some days it’s what gets me out of bed! I’m curious about your tip about adding a pinch of sea salt- I’d never think to do that. Will give it a try tomorrow morning!

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alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] September 16, 2013 at 7:19 am

mint + salt? you just changed my entire cold brewed coffee world for the better, Irvin! woke up in Nashville to the third cool [which is relative, obviously :)] morning in a row and was currently debating switching to hot coffee mornings. not anymore! gotta’ try this delicious concoction. thanks for sharing!

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Casey@Good. Food. Stories. September 16, 2013 at 7:34 am

When you figure out a way to teleport yourself to National Parks for hiking, would you let me know? (says the girl who lives very close to hiking trails but would rather be in Canyonlands)

And – mint in cold-brewed coffee! Genius!

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar September 16, 2013 at 8:46 am

I am all over this! Cold coffee is my fav – and the mint is awesome in here!

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Arthur in the Garden! September 16, 2013 at 9:24 am

Coffee is a gift from the gods! I use it in brownies, cakes, everything…..

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Irvin September 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

I LOVE using it to boost chocolate flavor! I’m a fan for sure!

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Kathy - Panini Happy September 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm

All right, totally trying this tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever tried cold brewed coffee but now you’ve got me WAY intrigued. I can’t wait for my Solid Gold smooth brew!! :-)

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Will @ Cold Brewed Co. September 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

Cold brew is the hottest thing in coffee right now, and for good reason. Glad to see you’ve taken a liking to the stuff. I haven’t tried with mint yet, but I plan to. Sea salt is an interesting innovation…will need to experiment as well.

- Cold Brewed Co.

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Adri September 17, 2013 at 7:02 am

I love good cold brewed coffee.. You are absolutely right about the water. It is key – as it is in good pasta. The fine commercial makers in Italy all use spring water , but that’s another story.

I have used a Toddy coffee maker for over thirty years, and it works beautifully. It is a cold brew method, a technique that extracts all the flavor and virtually none of the acid and harsh notes of coffee. I’m so glad you’ve discovered this for yourself. Enjoy!

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Ash-foodfashionparty September 18, 2013 at 10:31 am

I love my coffee. I think it’s an art to brew the perfect cup of coffee.
Will surely try your version, looks really good and sounds good.

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Neil Smith September 20, 2013 at 4:30 am

Great post, I look forward to making some iced coffee (sooner than later)! Keep up the great writing and photography!

Neil, Durham, NC

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Irvin September 20, 2013 at 8:09 am

Thanks Neil!

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Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking September 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I am all about iced coffee, even in the wintertime. I just can’t do the hot stuff then buzz around and get stuff done without sweating my butt off! I had no idea all that went into the perfect cup. I can’t wait to make this!

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merri October 7, 2013 at 11:01 am

I don’t like hot coffee at all but I do like it iced, I even drank it as a kid. I make it from the leftover coffee at work on afternoons (just a LITTLE bit of coffee to a LOT of ice & milk) but now I know why it’s always bitter, as opposed to what I can buy at a shop (I had wondered, thought maybe our coffee machines here are dirty). La boulange is my fav for a quick iced coffee, altho I admit I have not tried most of the trendy coffee shops we have here. maybe I should find some beans and cold brew and bring it to work to keep work fun at the end when I’m bored.

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Frederick Colby March 17, 2014 at 6:49 am

My favorite has always been iced coffee… but since I had cardiac surgery my doc said no caffeine. My question is, does your recipe for making iced coffee work just as well with decaf? I use Starbuck’s House Blend ground decaf and have been making a pot of hot coffee and refrigerating it. Using a French Press sounds easier and would taste better. Your advice?

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