Nina Nelson/FlickrThe last thing most of us want on a balmy 80-degree morning is a steaming-hot cup of coffee.
Thankfully, trendy coffee shops have popularized cold brew — a super-concentrated coffee "tea" that is filtered from coffee grounds that have steeped in cold water for hours. It is served over ice.
But there's one problem — cold brew is really expensive. A small cup in New York City can set you back $4.
And what coffee shops don't want you know is that it's super easy and cheap to make yourself. It also saves a ton of time in the morning.
There are many different ways to make cold brew from home, but this method is cheap, easy, and nearly painless to clean up.
Here's how to enjoy cold brew every day for a fraction of the cost of buying it at a shop:
Step 2: Buy at least 4 ounces of freshly roasted beans and grind them on the medium-coarse setting
I buy my beans from the bulk section of my local Whole Foods and grind them there. They normally retail at about $8.99 per pound. So 4 ounces of this stuff costs me about $2.25
Step 3: Mix grounds and water
Add 4 ounces of coffee (8 tablespoons) to the filter basket.
Then pour about 4.5 cups of cold filtered water over the grounds. Make sure to use filtered water, rather than tap water, for a better-tasting brew.
It can take a long time for the water to saturate the grounds and filter through. To speed up the process, stir the wet grounds with a chopstick while the water drips through.
If you're impatient like me, just pour the rest of the water directly into the pitcher.
Step 4: Refrigerate overnight
Throw the pitcher in your fridge and let it brew overnight. Ideally you'll let it sit for 12 hours.
Step 5: Pour over ice
In the morning, your cold brew will look like this. Cold brew is about 67% less acidic than coffee brewed conventionally, giving it a smoother taste that is easier on your stomach. This is because the cold water pulls less soluble acids from the coffee beans and teases out the sweeter, chocolatey notes.
It will also be seriously concentrated since it's been brewing for so long. Take out the filter, toss the grounds, and pour your coffee over ice, adding some water or milk to dilute it down to taste.
This method makes about 4.5 cups of cold brew.
Assuming that you drink coffee every morning, a daily cup of $4 cold brew at your local coffee house would set you back about $112 every month — not including tip.
If you use my method, and you only drink a cup per day, each 4.5-cup pitcher would last you about 4.5 days. In a typical 28-day month, you'd only need to brew a new pitcher about six times. At $2.25-worth of coffee per pitcher, this would only cost $14 per month — a whopping $98 in savings.
This method also saves you a trip to the coffee shop and takes less time to assemble in the morning than it would take to brew a fresh cup of hot coffee.
Coffee shops mark up cold brew coffee for a variety of reasons. Cold brew requires more coffee grounds than hot-drip coffee to make, and it also takes a longer time to brew. The plastic cups baristas serve cold brew in are more expensive than the paper coffee cups that they serve hot coffee in. Also, ice machines are expensive. They cost coffee shops about $12 a day to rent, according to The Atlantic.
So next time you've got a pang for some ice cold, chocalatey coffee, try making it yourself. Your wallet will thank you.