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The Ghetto Barista September 8, 2012

Posted by J. in Domesticity, Genius, Other People's Genius.
Tags: , , , , ,

Iced coffee, man.

I love this stuff.

I could drink it all day, and don’t think I haven’t.

My friend, the inimitable and inestimable Yorkie posted a link to my Facebook wall from the Pioneer Woman blog about the making of cold brewed coffee. Cold brewed, you say? What is this sorcery? Yorkie shares my love of this crack in a glass and was wondering my opinion of it. I decided to give it a try.

All I know is that from the gorgeous, slick photos, I was sure it was easy and mess-free to do and I’d have iced coffee in no time.

It was kinda easy. It was far from mess-free. And it took so long to make that I got a caffeine headache waiting for it. It was also the best goddamned iced coffee I’ve ever had that didn’t come from the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru.

I tweaked a few things, and you can be sure there will be no high-glossy photos of a pristine kitchen, a large glass dispenser with a brass spigot, or special tubs purchased from the restaurant supply store. Cheesecloth? I’m not buying cheesecloth. We roll a little differently here in the Upper Village, so I used what I had on hand. You can, too.

Here in an honest summary is how I make the Pioneer Woman’s best iced coffee in the world. Trust me, I’m not luring you in with any false sense of marthastewartness here. It gets messy and it takes awhile. Know that. But it’s worth it.

The first thing you do is simple. You dump a pound of coffee in a big container and pour two gallons of cold water over it. Right here is where I digress. That is the ratio. I use a 12-oz. bag of coffee, so I add 1 1/2 gallons of cold water. Half a pound? One-gallon. You get the idea.  Some folks don’t need two gallons of iced coffee in the fridge. Sitting there. Tempting them. Luring them in with its dark, rich, beauty…

I’m sorry. Where was I?

I do this step before I go to bed. I also do this before I’m out of coffee. I mean this part. If you rely on coffee to get your brain and heart going in the morning, don’t wait to do this until you’re out of coffee. Don’t use you last bag of coffee to “give this a shot.” It’s dreadful. Trust me. Don’t starve the monkey.

I use my biggest mixing bowl, dump the coffee in and stir in the water. My bowl only holds 1.5 gallons of water, so it’s like it was meant to be. Cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. Or for 8 hours. A long time. This is not a quick project.

In the morning, you will have a lovely, thick, gritty, sludge.

Thick, gritty, coffee sludge. Steeped and ready to be strained.

Now, it needs to be strained. Gotta get all those coffee grounds out of there. There are many methods. Basically, you need something to act as a fine filter and something to hold that filter. After I posted this to my wall, people told me all the ways they do it. Cheesecloth in a strainer. Paper towels in a strainer. A doubled bed sheet put right in the container before mixing, then lifted out after steeping.

Me, I found the fastest way (because it’s all about shaving time off this step) is coffee filters. I have two tall pitchers and I set my coffee filter basket with a filter in it on top of the pitcher. I used to use my fine mesh sieve for this other pitcher but it didn’t work as well for some reason. However, just yesterday my old coffee maker went tits up so I kept the basket and now I have two. Sweet!

Picture me behind the camera tapping my foot impatiently during this step.

I use my measuring cup to scoop out a bunch of coffee making sure to get lots of grounds. I don’t know why, but the coffee strains faster if there are lots of grounds in the filter. I scoop up from the bottom so the filter is full of coffee grounds. This is also where you want to be careful. Make sure the steeped coffee with the grounds doesn’t go into the strained stuff.

Oh, the strained stuff. Black gold. Pure, strong coffee, already chilled and ready-to-drink. I don’t have a fancy decanter. I have an empty milk jug.  It’s not fancy, but it does the job.

Black, liquid gold in my “special coffee decanter”.

Now, to prepare it. You make it any old way you like your coffee. In lieu of having a central line put in just for my caffeine intake, I use a mason jar. Yes, it goes from a used milk jug to a canning jar for a glass. I told you, we’re not fancy folks here. I use what I have. And it’s genius. Here’s why.

Put ice in the mason jar. Add sugar. Pour in coffee. Add cream. PUT THE LID ON AND SHAKE THE FUCK OUT OF IT. Yeah, there you go. Your sugar gets mixed in completely. You can stir it in a glass until the cows come home, but you know you still get some gritty sugar through the straw at first. Tell you what, though. You shake it in a glass jar and you get the frothiest, creamiest, coldest iced coffee that has ever been though up.

Take the lid of and stick a straw in.

It’s heaven.

Getting to heaven is messy bidness.

And once your coffee has been consumed, you can tackle the mess. I deal with sloshed over  coffee, and grounds stuck to everydamnedthing. I’ve dirtied two pitchers, a measuring cup, a bowl, two coffee filter baskets and a mixing spoon.  But don’t worry. I will pay my husband the dishwasher off with a cold jar of coffee.




1. audreygs - September 8, 2012

Yum! Must try…as soon as I get enough room in the refrigerator…

2. Yorkie - September 8, 2012

Mason jars do well for storage, and they make it look like you both know AND enjoy what you’re doing. And they come in all sizes, from Urine Sample to Pass A Drug Test tiny up to Hey, I Bet I Could Wash My Toddler In This.

I’m glad you nixed the cheesecloth. I couldn’t find any at my local Kroger (looked everywhere…found plenty of pig’s feet and books on fighting the devil, it being the South and all, but alas, no cheesecloth), so I’ll give proper coffee filters a go. Besides, the notion of all those little cottony fibers going into my coffee just made me feel kinda hinky.

What did you use for a creamer? I’m still on fat-free half-and-half, though I do add a spire of Redi-Whip on top when I’m feeling rather rakish and frisky.

3. Zonda - September 8, 2012

I want some now!! I like your way better 😉

4. Eat Right, Exercise, Get Hit by a Bus | askpoopsplease - April 19, 2013

[…] That’s a lot of sugar and saturated fat for anyone. God on a wheel, when I think back to the amount of iced coffee I consumed with real cream in it last summer, I want to cry. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that there are […]

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