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The Best Cold Brew Iced Coffee Recipe

A few years ago, I was introduced to cold brew coffee. And folks, I’ve never been the same.

For those of you who are confused when you hear words like “cold brew” tossed around, let me break it down for you. Cold brew is not just iced coffee. It has been my experience that some people who apparently want to ruin lives just take coffee and put it on ice and called it iced coffee. SAY IT AIN’T SO.

Cold brew is made by soaking coffee grounds in water for a period of 8+ hours. Because you use cold or room temperature water and not hot water, the beans never get scorched. So many people don’t like coffee because of the bitter taste, but coffee doesn’t have to be bitter! By soaking the beans, you get a rich, almost chocolate-y flavor that is amazingly delicious (and not bitter)!

Cold brew is a little time intensive, but super easy. Here’s what you need:

I like to use my French press because it’s a bit less messy, but I also like using a big ol’ container (with a cheese cloth and strainer for straining the grounds out) to make bigger batches.

You’ll also want to make sure you have good quality coffee. I love Caribou Blend, and I recently discovered the Dark Roast from Aldi makes killer cold brew. The regular roast, however, makes literally the most terrible cold brew of all time. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you’re trying to be thrifty.

You can start with coffee beans and coarsely grind them, or you can just go the easy route and by the beans already ground. I used to be an over-achiever and grind them as I made the coffee, but honestly, if the coffee is good, I don’t notice a big difference with grinding the beans fresh or not. You do you.

I use about 3/4 c of coffee grounds and fill the French press with room temp or cold water about an inch below the rim (about 8 cups or 34 oz to fill your French press). Then, put the plunger lid back on. You’ll let it sit on your counter for about 8 hours. Unless I’m making a bigger batch, I’ve noticed that going much longer than 8-12 hours, lets some of that acidity seep back in, which we obviously don’t want, so don’t let it go too long.

Once it’s time, plunge the French press and pour the coffee into a container for storage, or into a glass with a bunch of ice. I don’t typically strain, but you certainly could.

I love black cold brew, but you can add half and half or even sweetened condensed milk if you want to get really crazy. This stuff is so good. You’ll never go back to regular “iced coffee.”

Truly, I like my cold brew better than anything you can buy at coffee places. SERIOUSLY. THAT IS HOW GOOD THIS IS. Try it, and let me know what you think!

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Hi! I'm Maddie.

If I’m giving you my elevator pitch, I’m a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, brand photographer and educator for creative women.

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