I think I first fell down the iced coffee rabbit hole when I was working at McDonald’s in high school. I LOVED working the 5:00 am shift for a myriad of reasons, and I was also duel enrolling at the local community college. My managers would let me work the back drive through (where they take your order and your money) so that I could study in between customers. My brain felt overloaded for much of that period of my life, so I was often fueled by coffee.
Okay, not much has changed.
Anyway, I got tired of hot coffee… plus working the drive through meant my window was open most of the time, letting the ridiculous south Alabama temperatures in, and the heat from the kitchen would invade my space at all times… it was just too hot. So I started drinking the iced coffee McDonald’s began offering around that time, and I got hooked.
Now I don’t even like McDonald’s iced coffee; they always mix it wrong, which is super frustrating to me. (It was better when I could make it myself…) But after approximately six years of experimenting, I finally perfected my iced coffee at home. It’s cheaper, easier to obtain, and much, much healthier since I make it sugar free!
The number one rule of iced coffee is that you have to start with a cold brew. I don’t understand the science behind it, but when you chill hot coffee it results in something very bitter. Coffee that is brewed cold is much smoother and tasty… totally worth the extra time.
I make my cold brew in an old milk jug. I just dump my coffee grounds and water together in there, shake it up, and let it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours (but it often goes longer).
You can use any method that works for you to strain it. I like to use a fine mesh sieve over which I lay a tea towel. I pour the coffee through that into a bowl.
The sieve provides more support to hold it all than just the towel, and the towel is easy to pick up and wring out to make sure I get all the liquid. Then I can just toss the grounds into the trash can and be on my merry way.
I use a funnel to return the strained coffee to the milk jug for future use. (Coffee in chocolate cake or brownies makes them richer and 100% more delicious, so it’s nice to have on hand for that, as well as smoothies, milkshakes, and, well… iced coffee.)
I used to mix my iced coffees one at a time, using the cold brew from that jug. Then one day we went on vacation. I didn’t want to give up my iced coffee for a whole week (I have a problem, I’ll admit it!), but I didn’t want to haul all the ingredients along with us.
But then I had a “duh” moment, where I realized I could mix it all up in advance. Like…. WHY ON EARTH DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT BEFORE?!
So now I use a second old milk jug to combine all my ingredients. Then all I have to do is pour it over ice and drink it. Much more efficient! The amounts in this recipe may seem odd, but that’s because I have it figured to fit perfectly in a milk jug. 🙂
The best part is that it’s sugar free AND dairy free! For Trim Healthy Mamas it’s a fuel pull so you can sip on it throughout your morning. Or afternoon. Or evening. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, you can add a splash of heavy whipping cream. It makes it rich and delicious but turns it into an S and obviously is no longer DF.
Cold Brew Coffee
1 1/2 cups coffee grounds
Using a funnel, pour the coffee grounds into the gallon container. Add enough water to fill the container and shake. Place in the fridge and try to wait patiently for at least 24 hours. Strain; discard or compost coffee grounds and pour the finished coffee back into your container.
70 ounces (8 3/4 cups) cold brew coffee
42 ounces (5 1/4 cups) almond milk
21 squirts liquid stevia (sub with whatever sweetener you like if you don’t care for stevia)
3 1/2 T. vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in an empty milk jug (or other gallon container), shake, and store in the fridge. To serve, pour over ice. Optional: add a splash of heavy cream to your cup just before drinking.
For a single serving, use:
10 ounces cold brew
6 ounces almond milk
3 squirts liquid stevia
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
By the way, a good hack is to write this recipe on the outside of your milk jug so that it’s always right there when you’re mixing up your coffee. Yay for efficiency!