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I drink iced coffee by the gallon. Currently my go-to method is just to brew a strong pot of store-brand medium grind coffee at night using an old Mr Coffee drip coffemaker, putting the brewed coffee in the fridge and adding sugar-free hazelnut syrup and fat-free half & half in the morning.

Obviously, I'm not a coffee connoisseur. I'm not looking for exquisite flavor and delicate notes here, I just want my java, and I want it as cheaply and conveniently as possible. I don't want any "nasty" flavors, and I can't stand burnt tasting coffee, but I won't even notice a reasonably mild decrease in quality.

I've read about brewing methods using near boiling water (french-press type), and cold brewing methods to make concentrate. Can I get more bang for my buck by doing both? What I am imagining is using my 10 cup rice cooker and the giant freezer I have at my disposal this time of year. How about freezing the concentrate in hopes of keeping it at the ready for 2-3 weeks?

This is what I have in mind:

Step 1 - In the morning, put a large quantity (maybe 2 cups?) of inexpensive, medium roast, medium grind coffee in my rice cooker. Add 8 cups of cold water, hit "cook" and bring just to or just below the boil.

Step 2 - Perhaps keeping the rice cooker on "warm" for a while? My cooker will drop from boiling down to about 140F where it will stay just about indefinitely.

Step 3 - Set the cooker insert, contents and lid on the porch until chilled, then place in refrigerator overnight.

Step 4 - Strain the grounds from the coffee concentrate, freeze the concentrate in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer cubes to a freezer bag.

Step 5 - Reconstitute coffee cubes in water, add syrup and creamer.

Can I expect that I will get more concentrate (or more concentrated concentrate) by using both heat and time in this way? What problems can you foresee? Should I keep it below the boiling point? Will keeping it warm for a while extract more flavor? Will it be OK to freeze the concentrate?

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If you are after quick and efficient, why not use granulated coffee? –  rumtscho Oct 24 '13 at 19:35
    
I do sometimes, but that's even MORE expensive. Since it appears that maybe I can't reasonably make the coffee less expensive, next up, the syrup! –  Jolenealaska Oct 25 '13 at 3:01

1 Answer 1

I think this will give you some very disgusting coffee. By doing both a high temperature and a long extraction, you will get the worst of both worlds.

High temperature extractions can get some great flavors out of coffee by forcing out a lot of the caramelized sugars, but usually they also use a very quick extraction to avoid also pulling out the bitter flavors.

Cold brewing works by remaining below the temperature that the bitter compounds are most easily extracted at and using a long extraction time to get out the most of everything else.

By using a high temperature and a long time, you'll get most of the sugar out, but you'll also very efficiently extract all the bitter compounds in your coffee.

I would think your best bet for something like this would be to just use a standard cold brew method. Let the grounds sit in room temperature water from 12-24 hours, strain it through cloth (I like using a clean old t-shirt), and then refrigerate your concentrate. I also know people who have frozen the concentrate in ice cube trays to use in blended drinks, so it should freeze well too.

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Hehe, like I said, I'm no connoisseur, but disgusting is definitely not a quality for which I'd be aiming. Glad I asked! :) –  Jolenealaska Oct 24 '13 at 17:02
    
@Jolenealaska It would mainly be very bitter. That makes me think though, there are some things where that might be ok. Perhaps in really rich coffee drinks or some desserts where the bitterness would be offset by fattiness and sugar? Who knows? I wouldn't drink it straight though! –  sourd'oh Oct 24 '13 at 23:19

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