Friday, August 15, 2008

Iced coffee at home on the cheap!

I love coffee.

Freshly ground from whole bean coffee.

I love it so much, I invested in a pretty darn good Krups burr grinder ($50 buck from Amazon,com) a couple years ago and have never regretted the outlay of cash. As a matter of fact, I think it was the best $50 bucks I've spent. The money saved by buying good beans from a local roaster over the cost of stopping by Starbucks from time to time to feed my addiction (what else can you call that "gotta have coffee craving" you get in the morning?) has really been substantial.

As much as I love hot coffee on cold days, I have to admit that often I waited and drank my coffee when it was lukewarm, or completely cool. I had never tried cold brewed coffee or had an iced coffee until a couple weeks ago. I splurged at Border's bookstore and bought a combo lunch that included a medium coffee drink. Since it was over 95 degrees outside, iced coffee sounded interesting. Not only was it interesting, it was flat out fantastic!!

I wanted to be able to recreate that wonderful taste at home, the way I did with hot brewed coffee. Border's sells a cold brew carafe system---but at around $30, it was a little out of the ideal price for me. Remember, it's all about being able to live rich on the cheap! Last night, I had a really bad craving for iced coffee. Driving across town would have made that the most expensive cup of iced coffee in town! So, I did a little research and found one of the most informative websites (I need Coffee. com) , on making coffee that I have ever seen. I was going to head off to the Asian grocery store this morning to get a Vietnamese coffee filter to strain the coffee when I realized that the gold fine mesh filter that I bought for my coffee machine might just do the trick. Guess what? It was perfect!

So, I followed the instructions and made an awesome jar of cold brewed coffee concentrate (I even used a canning jar that I recycled from a previous salsa purchase!)!

Lesson here? If there is some type of food/beverage that you are obsessing about, do a little Internet research. You might have to tweak recipes or try several different ones, but I'd be willing to bet you can make it at home for pennies on the dollar. Or in my case, pretty close to free since I had everything right here at home.

The only thing that I plan to do for future glasses is to make a pretty stout simple syrup from the turbino sugar that I love so much so that it is already dissolved and mixes easily in the cold coffee. After that, milk or a little half and half is all that is needed. I might experiment and use a little vanilla in the simple syrup, but other than that I love the idea of making iced coffee at home so inexpensively! I have a bottle of coffee concentrate in the fridge as I type, ready for whenever I MUST have more!

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