As we continue to bake in North Carolina, our market has shifted from wanting hot coffee to wanting iced coffee. We serve a wide variety of iced coffees, and while customers love them, many of them seem apprehensive to make it at home. Somehow, it’s more daunting than their daily hot brew. We thought we’d try to convince you that it’s really easy to have a nice variety of great iced coffee at home. Heres 10 tips to improve your home iced coffee beverages:
1. Great iced coffee starts with great coffee. Just as we don’t advocate making hot coffee from lousy, stale beans, we advise you start your journey to great iced coffee by purchasing beautiful beans of know provenance from a reputable roaster. Avoid the supermarket bargain bin.
2. Recognize that coffees taste different cold than they do hot. There’s really no better or worse, exactly, but make sure the cold flavor of a coffee suits your preferred profile. Just letting a hot cup get to room temperature will give you a good idea of how a coffee will taste cold.
3. One of the key words in iced coffee is ICE. Ice can have a tendency to get nasty if it sits around in the freezer unused. If you’re wondering whether your ice is helping of hurting your iced coffee,it’s easy to test: let a few cubes met and come to room temperature, then taste the resulting water. If it’s water you would want to drink by the glassful, you’re in good shape. If not, try something else. Start by purging your ice bin and making it fresh. If that doesn’t do it, but some bagged iced.
4. Brew your coffee on the strong side. It’ll get watered down as the ice melts.
5. Try a concentrate (related to #4). Brew it REALLY strong, with the intention that it get watered down later.
6. Try a cold brew. Some people object to acidity in their cold coffee. Cold brewing greatly reduces the acid content of coffee (with the same coffee it will lower the acidity one full pH point vs hot brew). Put 3/4 cup ground coffee in a quart Mason jar, fill with water and stir. Cap it and put in the fridge for 12 hours. The strain the resulting concentrate through a coffee filter to remove he grinds. Add water to taste when you’re ready to drink it. You can even heat the reconstituted beverage for a quick, low-acid hot cup.
7. Make ice cubes from coffee. If you don’t like your cold coffee watered down by ice, this is a great way to keep it chilled and avoid dilution.
8. Don’t use “waste” coffee for your iced coffee. Saving some leftover coffee for iced beverage is often fine, but don’t be tempted to use the dregs of a burnt pot. If it doesn’t taste good hot, it won’t taste good cold.
9. Spice it up. Go beyond the usual cream and sugar. Add whole fruits to your coffee – cherries, strawberries, oranges all make nice enhancements. Add spices like cardamom or cinnamon. You might be surprised how much a little spice picks up your cold beverage.
10. Have fun with it! Try lots of new things. Vary your routine. The worst that can happen is you don’t like it, and you try something else!