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Cold Brew Coffee Hits the Spot

coffeeThere has been some talk about the health benefits of coffee, some of which are protection against diabetes, liver damage, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some researchers have also found that coffee makes the mind more alert and thus, can help the body react faster and become more alert to react in situations that cause excitement, such as climbing. Well, I am not here, however, to debate all the differing theories on the cons and pros of coffee. I am a coffee lover and thought I would add few positive qualities of this robust and delicious beverage to support my recipe for a cold brewed coffee concentrate.

I know of many climbers who thoroughly enjoy their morning cuppa Joe. And they have all kinds of various instruments for making their coffee, from French press to percolator, to drip, and others. I for one, love my percolator coffee when camping. There’s something very comforting about the whole process of making the coffee, waiting for it to perk and then watching as the coffee turns from golden to deep, rich brown and the aromas that come with it. There is definitely something to be said about the anticipation involved in this method and I just love the flavor. But many folks want their coffee more quickly than that. I am one of them when the weather is cold or if I just want to have a quick cup in the afternoon without making a whole pot, or if I’m at the crag.
Recently I stumbled on a way to have great tasting coffee (hot or cold) very quickly for those times when you want your coffee and you want it now! It’s a cold brew coffee and, although it is simple to prepare, I thought the flavor would be lackluster. But, I tried to make it and found that the finished product was not lackluster, but some of the best coffee I’ve had. It packs a punch too! The process leaves you with a strong coffee concentrate that will be diluted with either cold or hot water when you’re ready to have a cup. It doesn’t take up as much space as a percolator French press either. You can bring as much or as little with you to camp.

If you haven’t tried it, here’s how it works:

• In a 2 quart pitcher, place 1 ¾ cups course or medium ground coffee.
• Add 3 ½ cups cold water and stir to combine it.
• Cover with plastic wrap or the lid of your pitcher (you don’t want bugs in it) and let it steep at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
• Line a mesh strainer with a coffee filter, place it over a wide mouth jar or pitcher, and slowly pour the coffee into the filter until all the liquid has passed through. I used paper towels since I didn’t have a coffee filter and it worked quite well.
• Cover the coffee and refrigerate it for up to 5 days.
• To make iced coffee: Fill your cup or glass halfway with this concentrated coffee and dilute it with an equal amount of water, half n half, or milk. Simple syrup or sugar will sweeten it.
• To make hot coffee: Fill your cup halfway with the coffee concentrate and 2 to 3 parts boiling water.

I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as I do. It tastes great, and if it adds an edge to my climbing alertness and reaction time, I’ll take it!

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