Who doesn’t love iced coffee?
OK– plenty of people (including my husband). Coffee was definitely an acquired taste for me… I started off with throwing packets of hot chocolate mix into cups of coffee and mocha Frappuccinos from Starbucks, and eventually morphed into a regular-coffee-drinking-girl. (The downhill slide doesn’t take long).
It’s such a treat, though– coffee. I’m not really a “has-to-have-2-cups-a-morning-before-functioning” type. I more so see it as an experience and a privilege, so thus I am into any and all ways to make coffee exciting and trying it in new ways and with new flavors.
Summer time is such a great time for coffee, especially iced. So I’m going to share with you my favorite “homemade” way to enjoy iced coffee. Don’t get me wrong– I enjoy plenty of iced lattes on the run or while sitting in coffee shops working– but since we have a “coffee shop budget” each month that I try to adhere to, making my favorite beverage in-house is necessary. (And often just as tasty!)
First, a little background… there are a myriad of ways to make iced coffee, but I am going to show you the process I use with my own cold brew coffee maker. (My husband got it for me for Christmas last year– one of my favorite and most-used gifts!) It’s very easy to use, and you can find it here.
(Of course, another VERY easy option is just to buy the already-made cold brew at the store– but IMHO, the homemade stuff is a little better!! If you’re strapped for time or resources, though, this is definitely an option to still get that iced coffee fix and experiment with different combos).
Tips & Tricks #1- Pick Your Favorite Blends
Right now, I’m pregnant so I am brewing up half-caff cold brew. (As a general rule, cold brew usually yields a higher caffeine content, so using half caff makes me feel better!)
Pick your favorite blends and caffeine content and do a little experimenting. You can combine two flavors, like I have done here, or just find one you like and devote the rest of your life to it. The slow-drip process of this cold brew maker brings out the natural notes of flavor without giving you such a bitter after-taste.
My particular brewer takes 2/3 cup of ground coffee, so I measure out 1/3 of one kind and a 1/3 of the other.
Tips & Tricks #2- Patience
To get the optimal flavor and punch, the brewer works best on a S-L-O-W drip. If I’m thinking ahead and set this up the night before, then waiting for 8-10 hours is no problem. The other day, I was a bit more impatient and wanted some by afternoon, so I set it up on a faster drip and it was done in around 3 hours. Either way, you’re going to get some delicious coffee, but if you’re willing to wait, it will be even better.
Progress is being made! The iced water at the top dips down into the grounds, soaks through all of those inches of luxurious flavor, and then is filtered down into the carafe at the bottom for future drinking pleasure.
Tips & Tricks #3- Choose Your Favorite Ingredients
There are thousands of ways to craft your iced coffee.
The simplest is just to pour it over ice and enjoy– and this in itself is delicious for sure!
Since I’m a “sweets” girl, I usually dress mine up a bit. Here is one such scenario. I start with ice, a splash of Prairie Farms Caramel Iced Coffee (drinking it on its own is too sweet for me!), add in the cold brew coffee, and top off with milk (either whole or 2% for utmost richness). Oh, and adding a little ripple of whipped cream and caramel sauce just puts it over the edge.
Another favorite combo is to mix some unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar with milk and then top it with the cold brew. I haven’t found a mocha powder yet though that isn’t “grainy” in the drink, so I need to do some more research with syrups or a pre-made mocha base, like the Prairie Farms option below.
My next idea is to tackle the famous “Miel” drink– which includes milk, honey, cinnamon, and possibly a touch of vanilla and nutmeg. So delish!
I enjoyed this delectable drink with a few cinnamon sugar donut holes… it was amazing!
Just a little dose of real life, though– after I made this beautiful snack for myself, I put it on a tray right next to me that sits on the couch. I sat down with a big “whoosh” to start some work on my laptop, and the weight of my pregnant body made the tray tip towards me… and as if an explosion went off, my iced coffee spilled EVERYWHERE.
I thought about taking a picture, but I just wanted it to be cleaned up ASAP, so I went to quick work, trying not to cry over spilled milk. Thankfully, there was enough cold brew left to replenish my cup, and the donut holes were undamaged (whew!) As for the fate of my clothes, I’m not wearing a new outfit, and the couch / carpet / pillow has been scrubbed clean and I’m hoping will stay that way! A little part of my brain went off though, thinking… I better get used to this, with a baby on the way. Lots of “spilled” (or rather, “spewed”) milk in my future!