Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Newest Obsession: Iced Coffee

About 4:00 in the afternoon, I need a caffeine fix. In the summer it tends to be iced tea but my favorite is a cup of coffee. Not being a Starbucks junky (yep, we're cheap that way) the idea of iced coffee never occurred to me. That is, until I read Smitten Kitchen's caffeine-fueled raves about the recipe she'd found in the New York Times.

It was just the sort of gimmicky thing that appealed to me. So simple. Let the grounds steep in water for 12 hours, drain, mix with an equal amount of water, and then adjust flavor to taste with sugar and/or milk ... and add ice. Could it really work?

I got caught up in an intensive discussion with a Central Market coffee lover who kept digressing to urge me to buy special "toddy" equipment at a certain website and then looked grave when I refused. You know, all I really wanted was to know what number to set the coffee grinder on to get a "coarse grind. I finally emerged, triumphant, with my #8 ground coffee and sallied homeward to begin the Great Experiment.

The result?

Heaven in a glass.

So heavenly, in fact, that I am having to severely restrict myself to one glass daily. Does it taste like Starbucks? I have no way of knowing. But it is absolutely delicious.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
Time: 5 minutes, plus 12 hours’ resting

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
Milk (optional).

1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk. (I also like a little sugar mixed with the coffee mixture before pouring it over ice.)

Yield: Two drinks.

NOTE: To make hot coffee, dilute concentrate one-to-one with water and heat in the microwave.

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