I am a coffee lover. More accurately, I am a latte lover. Or a mocha lover or really anything that tastes more like sweetness and less like actual coffee, but still gives you that nice caffeine sizzle. My love affair with coffee started, rather predictably, in college. Late nights combined with early morning nursing classes and boring study sessions just demanded a caffeine crutch.
In recent years, I’ve attempted to limit my caffeine intake to just one drink a day. And I limit my lattes and mochas to the occasional treat. I still can’t drink coffee black, but I’ve found a little sweetener and half and half doctor my brew enough to where it is enjoyable, but not so much I feel guilty imbibing each morning.
I’d love to get the caramelly or chocolatey goodness of a coffeehouse latte or mocha everyday. They are such a delicious way to get your daily pick me up. But the truth of the matter is I just can’t afford it. Both financially and healthful-ly. Depending on your coffee provider of choice, medium specialty drinks (at least in the D.C. area) go for $3.24-$4.24 per beverage. That’s a ridiculous $1182.60 a year! And that’s for the cheaper end of the spectrum.
After doing a quick internet search, I found the average medium latte/mocha will run you 200-400 calories (my favorite is the 400 one!). This just isn’t feasible for the wallet or the waistline. And so I find myself most mornings turning to home brew. Even if I am “bad” one day and doctor the coffee with extra sugar and cream I’m (at my worst) consuming 142 calories. And I’m spending way less money on them!
But, it turns out, coffee can be good for you! A plain cup of coffee has only 2 calories. And there has been some very positive research showing that moderate consumers have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems. So if you can drink it black, more power (and heart strength) to you.
With the summer heat, I have been really into iced coffee. But pouring hot coffee over ice just doesn’t work and so I’ve tweaked and (semi)perfected the cold brew technique. It’s incredibly easy, just make sure you plan in advance. It isn’t instant brew.
You will need: coffee. Any flavor or strength will do, I like to use a bit stronger of a brew for this technique than I would for a hot cup, so pick your favorite. I picked this batches’ brand because the packaging would look good in my picture so feel free to be as discriminating (or not) as you’d like. Water, a bowl, a coffee stirring implement and a straining device (I like to use my french press).
½ pound ground coffee
1 gallon of water
Pour the ground coffee into your bowl. Add the water (this ratio errs on the side of stronger coffee. You can always add more water at the end to dilute). Give the grounds a good stir so they are all incorporated. Cover and let sit on the counter for 12 hours. (8 hours could work in a pinch, I’ve let mine sit for as long as 24). Walk by and give it a stir every so often. Once the coffee is “brewed” strain the grounds out with your straining device or pour in batches through a french press. Store, refrigerated, in airtight containers for up to a few weeks.
To serve: Pour cold coffee over ice. (If you’re really ambitious you can freeze coffee or almond milk and use as ice so as not to dilute the perfect strength you worked so hard brewing). Mix in your additives (if you’re like me and need a punch of sweet). You can use sugar, sweeteners, flavored coffee creamers, flavored syrups, half and half, milk, agave, etc. I prefer liquid forms of sugar with the cold brew because they mix in better than the granules of sugar, but the sky, really, is the limit. My personal favs are agave nectar with half and half or almond milk with homemade caramel sauce.
Try out different combos and come up with your own go-to. And if you find a particularly scrumptious combo, please share!