Every iced coffee-lover should know this easy method for How to Cold-Brew Coffee for Iced Coffee! Turning it into Affogato (which means “drowned” in Italian) by adding a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream is just icing on the cake.
How about a cold brew?
When I lived in Florida I became a little bit of an iced coffee junkie. I developed a Starbucks-almost-every-morning ritual without realizing how easy (and cheap!) it is to make cold-brewed coffee at home.
Why do I need to cold-brew my coffee for iced coffee?, you ask. Can’t I just brew up a pot the regular way and let the coffee cool down? You can indeed. But hear me out…even though it takes a little bit of planning ahead since you’ll need to brew the coffee the night before, it is ridiculously easy to make; it’s actually less work than brewing a regular pot of coffee. And if you just use regular coffee that’s been chilled, it won’t be nearly as good as if you use cold-brewed. Here’s why…
When you use the cold-brewing method, coffee is never heated; in this method, the coffee grounds basically steep in room temperature water for about 12 hours and then the liquid is double strained to remove the grounds. The result is a coffee concentrate that’s much less bitter than normal, has low acidity (so it seems naturally sweeter), and is nuanced with all those flavor notes that coffee connoisseurs love.
(Side Note: I want to mention coffee ice cubes for a second. I think they’re a cute and clever idea, but with cold-brewed coffee, there really isn’t any need for them. This is because cold-brewed coffee is pretty concentrated stuff; to make iced coffee, many people dilute cold-brewed coffee at about a 1:1 ratio with water, so all you have to do is use a little less water to account for the ice melting. That being said, if you freeze cold-brewed coffee into ice cubes and add milk as the liquid along with maybe a splash of half and half, it makes a pretty fabulous iced coffee.)
This is how I make cold-brewed coffee for iced coffee (which I read about originally on The New York Times)…
Step 1: Stir together 3 cups cold filtered water and 1/3 cup medium to coarse-ground good quality coffee in a large measuring cup with a pour spout. Cover the measuring cup with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature overnight or up to 24 hours.
Step 2: Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve (or a regular sieve lined with cheesecloth) into a French press. Insert the French press plunger and slowly press down (this is the 2nd part of the double straining; the French press makes it easy!).
Step 3: This is your cold-brewed coffee! Store it refrigerated until using.
- 3 cups water
- ⅔ cup medium to coarse-ground good quality coffee
- Stir together the water and coffee in a large measuring cup with a pour spout. Cover the measuring cup with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve (or a regular sieve lined with cheesecloth) into a French press. Insert the French press plunger and slowly press down (this is the 2nd part of the double straining; the French press makes it easy!).
- Store cold-brewed coffee in the fridge until using (it will be fine for at least a week, assuming you don't drink it all before then).
- For iced coffee, fill a tall glass with ice and add equal parts of coffee concentrate and water (or to taste). If desired, add cream/milk and/or sweetener to taste.
So, what is Affogato? It’s just a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped with a shot of espresso. And it is so good. (Basically just a coffee float!) In warmer months I like to use cold-brewed coffee concentrate instead of espresso when I make Affogato, but of course the trick is to find a great quality gelato or ice cream. I typically opt for French vanilla where you can see the little flecks of vanilla bean.
- 1 large scoop good-quality vanilla gelato or ice cream
- ½ cup (120 ml) cold-brewed coffee concentrate
- 1 teaspoon dark chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional)
- Scoop the ice cream into a small glass; top with the coffee and chocolate shavings and serve immediately.