The husband. He has a long-standing Starbucks addiction. It’s not completely off the chart, but even at $5 a day, it works out to $35 a week. ($150/month for a 30 day month, $1,825/year…not that I’m counting or anything.)
I can sympathize with needing a caffeine fix, but we all know we’re overpaying for that kind of thing. I found The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee recipe last year and thought I’d give it a whirl. Slightly off topic, but Ree (The Pioneer Woman) rocks. You can easily get lost in her site for hours. I cannot get over how awesome she is. When I grow up, I’d love to be a bit like her…minus the cow farm thing.
The first few times I made her recipe, I used a whole bag of coffee grounds and borrowed these big Rubbermaid prep containers from work:
I couldn’t think of anything else in my kitchen that was big enough to handle the 8 quarts (2 gallons) of water that the recipe called for. But then I got tired of borrowing them, mainly because I felt like I should return them within 24 hours. Being that I have a slight tendency to not be on top of my A-game…well, that was a tall order. So I looked into buying some for myself. They are $25 each. What??? Uh…no.
And something else I learned early on. Ree uses a one pound (16 oz.) bag of coffee grounds in her example. The bags of coffee I was using were of the 11 and 12 ounce varieties, which explained why my first couple batches were a bit weaker than I had expected. Some minor math equations, but I eventually figured out that 12 ounces of grounds needed 6 quarts (1.5 gallons) of water. I still really didn’t have anything big enough to hold that much water.
In tinkering with smaller amounts of grounds (3 and 4 ounces), it finally hit me. I don’t know how I missed it before. (I’ll blame it on the metric system…us Americans with English degrees don’t speak metric too well.)
Instead of looking at the water in terms or quarts or gallons…I looked at the number of cups of water needed. Basically, all I was doing was this:
‘x’ ounces of coffee grounds x 2 cups = amount of water needed
Maybe this is totally obvious to my quicker minded, science/cooking friends, but it was earth shattering and transforming for me. Here is how it works without the equation:
3 oz. coffee grounds = 6 cups water
4 oz. coffee grounds = 8 cups water
8 oz. coffee grounds = 16 cups water
12 oz. coffee grounds = 24 cups water (which is the 1.5 gallons or 6 quarts)
Now, my little brain just thinks to Double-the-Number, and I can make any size I want. This is super convenient, especially if you only want a small amount (trial run, not enough room in the fridge, small prep containers, whatever.)
This last time around, I finally found a solution to my Big Container Dilemma. It was in my kitchen the entire time, and I never realized it. Basically, you use the following two items:
(You really only need the removable crock from the crock pot.)
Iced Coffee Concentrate Recipe
Step 1: Get one of your crock pot liners and line the crock with it. (Forget about the crock pot base…you don’t need it.)
Step 2: Get your coffee. Whatever brand you want (in our case, whatever’s on sale.) My Starbucks guy is surprisingly not picky with the type I use for this. I have used all kinds, and he is happy to have them all.
Step 3: Dump coffee grounds into lined crock pot crock.
Step 4: Add the right amount of water, using the Double-the-Number rule mentioned above.
Step 5: Cover water/coffee ground mix with lid. Yes, you will be cutting it a little close. I drew the plastic liner edges up over the lid, just in case it wanted to leak over the edge a little. It worked perfectly.
Step 6: Let mixture sit for 8 (or more) hours. One week is too long, FYI–found out from experience on that one.
Step 7: After your 8+ hours, get out your tools
Step 8: Place cheesecloth in strainer. Mine comes double-layered already (folded over on itself). I use two layers of that (so a total of 4 layers of cheesecloth).
Step 9: Ladle coffee mixture into strainer. You may have to use the back of a spoon to push the liquid through the grounds as they accumulate in the cheesecloth. Or, I just draw up all the cheesecloth and squeeze until most of the liquid is out. I had to empty the grounds from the strainer a few times. You can replace the cheesecloth if you need to.
Step 10: Put your trophy…er…coffee concentrate in the fridge until it’s cold.
Step 11: Once concentrate is cold, make an iced coffee to your liking. My way of doing it is not precise: coffee concentrate to the lower line of my Starbucks cup, add Truvia, ice, creamer, and milk. I don’t know the exact measurements, and everyone has their own way of doing it. I’m sure you can tweak it into one of your favorites.