You probably got a 6-cup measure on your coffee because of the grind. Measurements will vary depending on size of grind. A medium grind (percolator or one step up from drip) comes in at about 5 1/4 cups per pound. Most of the cold-brew calculations are based on ounce to ounces and are roughly 4:1 water to coffee. But I've also seen them vary from 3:1 to 5:1, it depends on the coffee and your taste.
I used just shy of 1 cup of ground coffee and put it in a glass pitcher with a little over 3 cups of room temperature water (I don't have a French press as of yet). I let it sit for 12 hours on the kitchen table, then I filtered off the grounds (more on that below). However, it was a very weak brew. I had to use about 1:3 coffee to water, but it wasn't a very rich, whole coffee flavor; then it was all washed away as soon as I added a little milk. I threw in another part of coffee, bringing the mixture to 2:3, but it still tasted weird--strong but not rich. I had to add a little Stirling Irish Cream to balance it out. Did I do something wrong (no wise cracks about the Irish Cream, ha)?
I filtered the coffee into a glass jar using my AeroPress and a fine screen/funnel commonly used here in Taiwan for filtering tea leaves from tea. First, I put the AeroPress funnel into the top of the jar, then I assembled the AeroPress normally and put it into its funnel (the two are made to fit together perfectly--Alan put a lot of thought into designing this thing). I put the tea screen into the top of the AeroPress and filtered the bulk of the coffee grounds into the AeroPress chamber through that. I used a chopstick to agitate the grounds in the tea screen to prevent clogging, but I had to dump it several times (more often as I reached the bottom of the mixture). When the AeroPress chamber got full, I pressed as I normally would when making a cup of AeroPress coffee (be careful: since there are not many grounds, there is a bit of blow-by at the sides when it is almost fully pressed, so go slower as you reach the bottom). You would not believe the sludge that the AeroPress filtered out.
I'd appreciate any suggestions anyone might have for improving my cold brew, be it correcting my method or offering an alternate method.
After reading this post a couple of months back, I thought the same things about the French Press - why wouldn't it work. After trying it several times, using the same ratio of water/coffee as my French Press simply isn't large enough to load a pound of coffee into, I have to say it works well.
I prefer this for cold coffee drinks though, when warm it just isn't coffee. However for iced coffee or an iced milk drink, it really can't be beat. And since it is summertime, I seem to be using this technique more often.
I have also had good luck with travelling with the extract, getting good coffee on the road has been near impossible since I started roasting my own.
try brewing longer (18 hours or even up to 24 hours), and use less water:coffee ratio. It should taste very smooth but not weak in any way.
Even with the given that 1lb = 5.25 cups coffee, that's less than a 2:1 water coffee ratio (at least per the filtron instructions). I've tasted filtron coffee from this method (although I don't own a filtron myself). And the coffee that I made with the 10 oz (by volume) batch with 5.5 Cups water tasted about the same to me as the filtron coffee that I tasted made with the 1lb coffee to 9Cups water ratio.
For me I like the idea of using the cheaper beans because I personally think that this cold brewing method sort of 'evens out' the differences in quality among beans because of the way I serve up my concentrate (trying to duplicate an iced coffee from a coffee house with a little milk and vanilla syrup and lots of ice).
If you are adding syrup then I'm sure any coffee will do as you won't really taste the coffee. If you're making a traditional Iced Coffee then a good quality coffee makes a big difference in taste. I've tried 4 different coffee blends since I got the Toddy in June & the flavor dropped off noticeably when I cheaped out. I just got in some of Intelligentsia's El Diablo dark roast for the Toddy & I'm expecting a nice chocolate flavor (among others) to come through in the I/C. So far the best tasting I/C came from using Peet's Major Dickason's blend but I think the E/D will beat it.
Try cold brewing with a high quality, fresh roasted blend & you won't need to add syrup to your I/C.
For those who have had this iced coffee method come out well: Would you say that the flavor is more akin to an typical North American drip machine, a French press, or an AeroPress (all brewed using their standard brewing methods)? I haven't played around with many other methods, so those are the three I have for comparison.
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