We’ve been in a real quandary over coffee in this house of late. Actually, it’s probably not all that accurate to say that it’s an issue “of late” because, in reality , F and I seem to constantly be in the midst of a coffee quandary. We both exist under the hopeful (yet possibly mis-guided belief) that there is a coffee out there that we can equally enjoy.
But here’s the trouble. Frank likes dark, rich, slightly bitter coffee that tends to make me buzz with caffeine and go running to the fridge for the addition of lots of milk. I like fragrant, smooth, easy-drinking coffees with a hint of sweetness.
This difference in our tastes in coffee became clear very early in our dating history when, in an attempt to woo him with fancy freshly ground coffee from the charming local kitchen store on my block, I purchased a bag of Snickerdoodle coffee grounds and presented them to F with flourish. Despite his best attempts, Frank burst out laughing at this utterly girly selection. I’m still living that one down.
Over the years we have tried various breakfast blends, french roasts, and countless creative locally roasted beans, including beans that have filled my luggage with coffee smells on trips home from Vermont, Italy, France, and Laos (to name a few). We are serious about this coffee search. Even when we find a flavor we both like, F likes his brewed coffee to be intense and concentrated, while I prefer something much lighter.
It is only with iced coffee that we seem to find a way to meet in the middle. This is fortunate for our current lifestyle, since here in Bangkok it is at least 90 degrees outside by 6 in the morning and iced coffee always sounds good under those conditions.
It is not just any old iced coffee that allows us to see past our coffee differences, however. No, the iced coffee that we swear by in this house is cold-brewed. Cold-brewed coffee is a revelation, brought to my attention by (who else?) Lynn Rossetto Kasper. The reason that cold-brewed coffee works so well for both of us is that we can make it rich and flavorful by increasing the amount of coffee we use, but “brewing” it without the heat helps to decrease that acidity and bitterness that I dislike in the coffee that F prefers. What results is a light, yet flavorful drink that we pour over ice and drink with a bit of milk.
We may have the coffee problem solved for now, but it is yet to be seen what we will do when we return to a colder climate. Iced coffee on a snowy December morning? I think not.
- 10 cups water
- 4 ounces freshly ground coffee (medium-grind works best)
- milk or cream, for serving (optional)
- Combine the water and coffee in a large pitcher, stirring gently to agitate. Allow to rest on the counter at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Pour the coffee through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pitcher. (I sometimes find that I need to line the strainer with a coffee filter to eliminate ground coffee slipping through.)
- Pour strained coffee over ice and serve with milk or cream. Store coffee in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.