food, frugality

Cold Brewing for Old Yankees

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It’s true.  Cold-brewed coffee tastes better.  It also sits better in my aging stomach than hot-brewed.  I drink mostly iced coffee anyway, so heating water and then cooling it down offends my sense of frugality.  Reading an article on cold brewing in Consumer Reports encouraged me to try it but discouraged me from buying any of the fiddly and pricey gadgets reviewed in the article.

Guess what?  It is easy to make really good cold-brewed coffee with cheap gadgets U may already have.

Tho mindful of my carbon footprint and sustainability and such, I dislike permanent mesh coffee filters because they pass sludgy fine particles that paper filters catch.  (I would tolerate the nuisance of washing permanent filters if they were more effective.)  I also had a generous supply of paper filters and did not want to waste them when I switched to cold brewing.

Apart from a fridge and whatever brand of coffee U like, here is all U need for cold-brewing:coffee_350x287

  • shallow cup
  • #4 cone filters
  • coffee measuring scoop
  • stapler
  • large covered pitcher   (The cover should let U pour with the cover on.)

Pull a filter open and use the cup to hold it open.  Measure up to 6 scoops into the filter.  (Maybe U could fit in more after some practice.)  Fold and staple as shown in the photo below.  Unless U like weak coffee, do it again with another filter.  Yet again, if U like strong coffee.


Put the sealed filters in the bottom of the pitcher and fill to a convenient level from the cold tap.  Cover the pitcher and leave it out overnight.  (Diffusion thru paper filters is much slower than dripping thru mesh filters.)  Refrigerate after that, so the coffee will have more hours to diffuse while cooling down from room temperature.

The same common kind of pitcher cover that would let U pour iced tea or lemonade w/o pouring out ice cubes will also let U pour coffee w/o pouring out the filters.  Just leave them in the pitcher until all the coffee is gone.

My 4-quart pitcher has both quart and liter markings; I find it convenient to fill up to the 3-liter mark.  For that much water, I use 2 filters, each with 6 scoops of espresso.  U could start with amounts like these and experiment to find what works for U.

Given the lead time between when cold-brewing starts and when the coffee is ready, having 2 pitchers in the house is helpful.  Buying 2 pitchers still costs less than buying a fiddly cold-brewing gadget.