Smooth enough to drink on its own or pair with your favorite milk or sweetener, cold brew coffee is perfect for summertime sipping. Easy to toss in a thermos for a trip to the beach, great for an afternoon cool-down, or a perfect kick to add to a summertime cocktail, cold brew is ready to go when you are.
Cold brew uses a lot more coffee grounds than your average cup of joe, and for that reason cafés have to charge $1-$3 more than they would for a hot coffee. It’s a lot more practical to make it yourself at home. The downside? It can be VERY messy to make at home without the right equipment. I was blown away by how easy it is to use the Brim Smart Valve Cold Brew Coffee Maker. The design is smart, efficient, and sleek. It comes with two main parts; a decanter, and the maker itself.
The maker has a patented release valve on the bottom. When it sits on your counter, no water passes through it, but sit it on the decanter and it releases all the liquid inside. It has a reusable cloth filter with a pull tab that works really well for removing the sediment (sludge) at the bottom and is easy to remove and clean. The decanter serves two purposes: measurement and storage. There is a measurement mark on the side that makes for a great concentrate recipe. When the cold brew is made, throw the lid on the decanter, and store in your fridge for up to two weeks. The recipe is super simple and tastes great.
Here’s my foolproof technique for making cold brew with the Brim Smart Valve Cold Brew Coffee Maker:
- Pre-wet that cloth filter and place it at the bottom of the cold brew maker.
- Take your favorite 12 oz bag of coffee, grind it coarsely, and put it in the maker.
- Fill the decanter to the measurement line with filtered, room temperature water and pour into the cold brew maker. Repeat a second time.
- Give the grounds a good stir to make sure the coffee is saturated and put the lid on.
- Store on your counter for 12-15 hours. Remove the lid from the cold brew maker (otherwise you’ll create a vacuum seal and the cold brew won’t drain), and place it over the empty decanter, it’ll take about 30 minutes to drain. Discard the grounds and you are ready to enjoy!
With a cold brew concentrate, you can add hot water and drink it as a hot coffee or dilute it with water or ice as a cold beverage. You can take a twist on an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, and other classic cocktails and recreate it with cold brew. You can even use it as a marinade or add it to your favorite milk stout.
If you want to jazz up your cold brew, a fun, easy way is to add ingredients to the cold brew while it steeps. Cinnamon sticks, orange peels, vanilla bean pods, lavender flowers, or chicory work really well, for example. Cold brew is considered a full immersion process, meaning the coffee is fully immersed in water to create the extraction and filtered afterwards. Because of this, you are essentially steeping the coffee oils similar to how you would a cup of tea. You can add your flavors for just the last 5 hours of the process for a subtle taste, or let it steep the entire time for a heavier flavor.
My absolute favorite summer drink is a take on a Cold Brew Arnold Palmer. It’s citrusy, refreshing, and sweet. My recipe is great for making two beverages, so find a friend to share this with. You’ll need a 6.8 fl oz bottle of Fever Tree tonic water. You can use any tonic water, but this one specifically has a bit more juniper botanical flavor; giving the drink more complexity. You’ll also need lemonade, whichever is your favorite, but Simply Lemonade is easy to find and delicious. I like using a standard 16 oz pint glass. First, fill up the glasses 1/3 of the way with lemonade, take that 6.8 fl oz bottle of Fever Tree tonic water and divide between the two glasses. Fill the glasses up with ice – you should have about 2 inches of ice at the top. Now you can slowly add the cold brew concentrate. Because you added the ice before the cold brew, the yellow of the lemonade and tonic will be at the bottom and the dark brown of the cold brew will be left at the top; leaving you with a beautifully layered presentation. You’ll want to incorporate the drink to enjoy all the flavors combined, but it makes a pretty photo for your Instagram story. Enjoy!