This Summer: Stop Buying $5 Iced Coffees

It is summer. It is hot. Tomorrow is the first day of June, which means that you’re contractually obligated to consume only cold beverages. Can I get you something to drink?

ICED COFFEE

While the subject of iced coffee preparation is somewhat controversial, I am unafraid to come down squarely on the side of the cold brew preparation. Living in New Orleans made this my jam. Cold-brewed coffee (and tea) is less acidic, smoother, hella strong, and you don’t heat up your kitchen to make it. I also use way less sugar in cold-brewed iced coffee.

Now, you can buy a Toddy coffee maker or whatever, but that is not actually necessary. I once made a cold-brew concentrate in a Ziploc bag and brought it along on a road trip in a cooler. That was rad. It can be kind of messy, what with all the grounds, but if you have a French press, you do not have a problem.

You will need:

– A French press, if you have one. If not, you need some sort of glass, plastic, or stainless steel jar or pitcher or bowl with a lid. You will also need a fine-mesh strainer (or even a colander lined with paper towels).

– Coffee, coarsely ground (like a French press grind, if you use one at home)

– Water

– This Times recipe uses a ratio of one ounce of coffee : five ounces of water, so if you have a four-cup French press, you’d use 6.5 oz of coffee, or 3/4 cup + a skosh. (This is an inexact science, obviously.) Scale up or down accordingly. If you want to use an entire pound of coffee (and end up with eight cups of coffee concentrate, which will keep for two weeks in your refrigerator), use 10 cups of water.

Put the ground coffee and the water in your container. Don’t push the French press’s plunger down, if you’re using one. Refrigerate 8-12 hours, then strain, either with your French press or with your strainer. Now you have a concentrate that you can dilute with water and/or milk.

To serve, use 1/4 cup concentrate to 3/4 cup milk or water. (Extra milk makes it creamy-delicious, but also compounds the coffee poos, if you’re the sort who is susceptible to them.)

ICED TEA

Listen up, America. Nostalgia kills. Stop with the “sun tea.” Get rid of your sun tea. It is revolting. That shit is crawling with bacteria because the temperature of water heated au naturel (about 130 degrees) does not get high enough to actually kill bacteria (195 degrees). I mean, you’re into whatever you’re into, but Alcaligenes viscolactis causes “gastric upset, diarrhea, and other flu-like symptoms.” Not a good look for summer. Cold-brew that shit instead, sister.

You will need:

– Some sort of tea-brewing vessel that has a lid to keep fridge smells out of your beverage (a jar or a pitcher, or even a bowl with a plate over it, will do).

– 1-2 tea bags (or 1-2 teaspoons of loose tea) per eight ounces of water

Put the tea bags in the water, obviously. Refrigerate anywhere from 4-12 hours! Green and white teas need less time than black teas.

What might you add to your tea? Ideas: sliced ginger, fruit (citrus peels, berries, anything sliced, lychee), cucumbers, herbs (muddled or chiffonaded lavender or mint, maybe even ROSEMARY?), spices (think chai: cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, cloves, lightly crushed cardamom pods, black peppercorns). After brewing, you can add sweetener or juice (or make an Arnold Palmer).

SIMPLE SYRUP

Use simple syrup and you won’t end up with gritty sugar at the bottom of your cup (unless you’re into that sort of thing).

You will need:

– A small-to-medium saucepan

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 cup water

Combine sugar and water. Boil, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Let cool and bottle for storage.

This will last two weeks in your refrigerator, unless you add a skosh of vodka as a preservative, in which case it will last a little longer.

That was delicious. And yes, I’d be thrilled if you washed the glasses.

Photo via ks_marks/flickr.

Simone Eastman is a cat lady. She thinks you are perfect and beautiful.

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