Most of my friends know I’m an iced coffee aficionado. I study this sh*t in my spare time. I know the caffeine doses and calorie count of every large iced coffee at most American chains even if I haven’t tried it yet. And as much as I hate capitalistic, consumerist monsters, Starbucks wins every. Damn. Time. When it comes to iced coffee orgasms.
There are several ways to concoct iced coffee.
- Double brew. This means double the amount of coffee bean (read: caffeine) and then let the contents cool. Pour in ice and serve however you well please.
- Brew. This is a weak hand to play, but if you insist. You brew your regular coffee and let it cool off. Pour and sip fast before your iced melts. Then you might not notice the watered down contents of your cup.
- Cold brew. You seep coffee beans in water for five moon cycles, strain, repeat, do a coffee dance, and then you have the “most delicious, smoothest coffee you ever did taste.” I’m quoting the hippies (I think).
- Hot coffee in ice in a non-clear cup, probably served at McDonald’s. You’re either an idiot if you accept that or a villain if you serve that.
Traditional Starbucks serves the double brew. I think so does McDonald’s since their caffeine content is even higher than Starbucks. (I know, right!) And it is darn good. Looking at you, Robinson St. Starbucks. Seriously, half my blogs come out of a Trenta iced coffee.
Cold brew, however, is the nectar of the bonafide bohemians. If you’re a true coffee purist, you’re supposed to faint over cold brew and accept nothing less. Well, I occasionally shop at Wal-Mart, so I think you know where I stand on this issue:
Cold brew is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Okay, so I’ve only tried it maybe twice. But each time my friends ask, “How was it?,” and I’m like, “It was good.” Which means it was boring af. Why you raving over there? Did you take Ecstasy with your cold brew? Double brew feels just the same.
And then I read these online forums on how to make cold brew. They all are titled “Easy Cold-Brewed Coffee,” key word being easy, because it’s false. I mean, let’s just look at the quick summary.
Total Time: 10 minutes, plus 14 hours steeping and chilling time
Are we planning a wedding? When I want my iced coffee, I want it now. Not fourteen hours later. There is nothing easy about that.
And then this:
Makes: 2 cups of coffee concentrate
Two cups? Fourteen hours and ten minutes for two, maybe three, cups of coffee, but probably just one, because when I indulge in coffee, it is a “go big or go crazy” endeavor.
Who has time for this?! I know grad school makes me a bit busier than the typical twenty-something, but does anyone have time for this? Unless it’s one of the listed hobbies on your dating profile?
“What are you doing this weekend?”
“I’m cold brewing coffee.”
Let’s read further on instructions: You place coffee grounds in large container, add water, and stir. (Not too hard.) Cover with something and let steep at room temperature. For 12 hours. Or up to one day.
Are we having a child? Again, how is this easy? I could just walk to my local Starbucks. Time is money, people.
Next comes: Line a fine-mesh strainer with a coffee filter and put it over in a bowl. In batches, pour coffee through the filter. Stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the container.
Excuse me, batches? “Stop when”? Am I getting reimbursed minimum wage?
My friend, Katharine, actually once followed through on this journey to destroy the seven Horcruxes. She narrates (via Gchat):
“So cold brew can be an everyday luxury for those that appreciate the time, effort, and taste. However, is the effort actually worth it?”
No, Katharine, it’s not.
“Example: when I made cold brew and then went to strain it, thinking it would take approximately 20 minutes, it ended up taking over an hour. [It was] 11 PM. [And I] was doing this to give as a gift to someone (but also to keep the rest for myself).”
She should have just bought them a Starbucks gift card.
“All the frustrations. [It] was quite messy, cheesecloth is a joke [which is a substitute for the fine-mesh strainer in case you’re not in Martha Stewart’s kitchen], but I wasn't about to spend 20 bucks on a fine wire mesh strainer for a one time use. It was a fun little project, but perhaps not worth taking it on unless you have all the tools already. I now have a gallon sized storage bowl with a lid. I'll make coleslaw in it.”
Now let’s take a pause to discuss coleslaw now that Katharine’s brought it up - or any of these recipes that people suggest. Coleslaw is a relatively simple thing to make, but have you ever tried to make it? As in more than Marzetti Slaw Dressing poured over shredded cabbage. The recipe calls for, like, two cups of sugar and one cup of mayonnaise. No, sir, I will not make that. I will not bring that to a pool party. We want abs this season, not sticks of butter to fill Chubbies. You won’t even need Chubbies; you’ll be chubby.
In general, I have a few rules when it comes to recipes:
- If it has more ingredients than I have fingers, get out. And if it has more than seven, I really do stop and pause.
- If it has more than one ingredient not in my kitchen, get out.
- If it contains more than a half-cup of sugar, half-cup of mayonnaise, half-stick of butter, etc. and is not serving an army, it can go run on the treadmill and then come back to me.
- And if it takes a trip around the sun, GTFO. (I’m talking about you, cold brew.)
So the whole irony of this entire post is, I have written it under the power of a cold brew. This is what happened: I went to Starbucks this afternoon because I was failing to produce coherent results at my internship. I see the blaring ad for how Starbucks is now offering cold brew, the barista asks what I want, and I haphazardly say “Venti cold brew, no milk or sugar.” Then I see the price. It is 75 cents more than plain iced coffee. What is this corruption?
Annoyed, I wait for this purported godsend to be hand-crafted for me. I sip it. Without milk or sugar.
Well, damn. This is actually good.
Okay, maybe it is worth 75 cents more, but, readers, don’t worry. I stick to my principles. I am not at all – not even close – reaffirmed to continue down this reckless path in the future. I will order iced coffee, cold brews be damned, and making cold brew be especially damned. Unless you’re a stay-at-home cold brew hobbyist.