Three weeks ago I left Holland to go to California for two months, where it’s now getting warmer and warmer. My lust for a hot espresso or a nice cappuccino just gets a little less when it’s 38 degrees. Thus I re-discovered my love for ice coffees, something that doesn’t cool down and that you can keep drinking for over an hour!
Unfortunately, to make it myself here (on the property where I’m staying) just isn’t as nice since I don’t have a good espresso machine. The french press I’m using doesn’t make the coffee as strong and smooth. Just adding a little bit of soy milk and ice doesn’t do the trick and makes the coffee quite watery and tasteless.
I’ve been visiting quite some coffeeshops around here and I saw that they’re offerring a drink called ‘Cold brew coffee’ and it kind of attracted my attention. As I got eager to try it, I looked up a recipe and started making it myself. It’s basically a very slow brewed coffee with cold water and it turns out to be extremely simple to make. It has a much more pronounced taste than the regular iced coffees. As it is brewed on cold water the acidity and bitterness is much less than that of a regular coffee or espresso. It is something that is completely different from a good espresso but it is definitely a very nice drink in it’s own way.
There’s another upside to this cold brew drink: once it is made you can keep the coffee in the fridge for a few days without it getting bitter or nasty! The taste stays extremely well and the second day the taste was actually much fuller than the first day.
As you cold brew the coffee, the taste get’s much smoother and that just fits perfectly with it’s cold character.
Because it takes such a long time to brew, it got the idea to flavor it in different ways by adding spices you’d normally never add to a regular espresso based coffee (except perhaps for the sugar based syrups which are way to sweet in my opinion). I began experimenting with adding fresh ginger, black chai, lemon and fresh nut milk, which all add a unique and subtle flavor to the coffee. I made a recipe on the ‘basic’ cold brew coffee and my added variations which you can read down below.
It gets even better when using freshly made nut milk in combination with this coffee, as you combine the coffee with the ground nuts the process of adding taste to the water works at the same time. Normally you’d make nutmilk by blending nuts and water and wait for about 12 hours to strain it through a cheese cloth, but now the process of both making coffee and milk can be combined. This creates a rich and smooth nut flavor in combination with a soft and a little sweet tasting coffee. Adding chai herbs to the nutmilk coffee adds a nice spicy flavor which fits perfectly with the overall taste.