cold press vs. iced coffee {and how to brew your own cold press}

You guys, I’m a total coffee snob. Remember when you were at the coffee shop yesterday and that girl was obsessing over whether or not they truly made  cold press and after drilling the barista for a full two minutes, she ordered a cappuccino instead?? Yeah, that was me. Sorry.

Do you know the difference between cold press and iced coffee? Brandon always says he can’t tell the difference but I swear he only says that because it sends me on a rant and I’ve been told that my rants are fairly entertaining. I like to call them educational.

When you take a sip of iced coffee though you probably think, huh this is good coffee and I bet it was really good coffee when it was still hot. Iced coffee is just that – coffee that has been iced. There’s nothing fancy here – no tricks up anyone’s sleeves, no artisan recipes. Nothing. For all you know, it’s day-old coffee they couldn’t sell so they put it in the fridge, threw a couple ice cubes and a fancy straw at it, and finally served it to you as iced coffee. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because I’m all for being less wasteful, but let’s not interchange this with the following recipe that I’m pretty sure has some kind of magical healing properties and originates from Wonderland or Atlantis…

cold press coffee recipe

Cold Press has incredibly complex flavors to it and is borderline like drinking liquid chocolate. It’s never, ever translucent brown like iced coffee because it’s rich and highly concentrated. In wine terms, it’s the port of coffee. It’s not the sort of drink you try a couple glasses of over the course of a meal, it’s the sort of thing you sip one glass of over the course of an entire conversation. Because it’s that delicious.

AND it’s crazy easy to make!

what you need:

  • 1/2 cup coffee beans
  • 3 cups cold water (the water must be cold!)
  • large wooden spoon OR rubber spatula
  • any pitcher or mixing bowl that holds at least 3 cups of water with a little room to spare for the coffee grounds OR get all fancy-pants and buy a cold brew system (you can get these brew systems for less than $15 so it’s still a win!)

the how-to:

  • grind coffee with as course of a grind as you can (this is the most important step, so if your grinder doesn’t have setting options take your beans to the coffee shop where you bought them and ask the barista to do this for you)
  • dump the ground coffee into your pitcher, bowl, brew system, flower pot… whatever you’re using
  • add 3 cups cold water to the coffee grounds, pouring slowly and consistently
  • use the large wooden spoon or spatula to push any dry grounds under the water (don’t stir though, the goal is simply to wet the grounds)
  • cover your container and put it in the fridge for 20-24 hours.

now pour yourself a glass:

  • strain your coffee grounds using a colander and cheese cloth – the more times you fold your cheese cloth to create a denser filter, the cleaner your cold press will taste. So fold or layer several cloths in the colander and set that over a new bowl or pitcher. Slowly pour the coffee ground mixture over your homemade filter. You can even pour your cold press over the filter a second time if you think you missed some grounds or just want a really smooth cup ‘o joe.

Ta-da! Cold press coffee! Serve it in a mason jar with a funky straw and you’re good to go!


Happy, caffeinated productivity!


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