Every now and then in summer, the sun shines bright, everything warms up nicely then, bit by bit, not nicely at all. Pretty soon, it gets so warm that any enclosed space feels like a fan oven. A hot, steaming cup of decaf coffee is about the last thing on your mind. You need a cold drink. You need an iced coffee.
In times like these, it’s tempting to get a tin of cold joe from the shop – most of the High Street coffee chains have their own, dreadful takes on iced decaf – but it’s not fresh and who knows what, exactly, is lurking in those cans? Chemical slop and more E numbers than the Exeter telephone exchange. It’s time to make your own.
The best advice for home made Iced Decaf Coffee? Start Yesterday.
The biggest disadvantage to making your own cold brew iced decaf coffee is that the initial brew takes quite a bit of patience. Typically, the concentrate you are making is the base for tomorrow’s cup of iced coffee.
But it’s well worth the wait. The perfect iced coffee has a smooth, round texture and taste and far less of the bitter notes. You will be steeping your ground decaf for up to a day in the fridgeand that gives plenty of time to develop the complex concentrate that gives iced coffee itsamazing full body. Slow and steady wins the race.
Steep Time: Managing the Iced Decaf Brew
Decaf that has been standing for a whole day in a cafetiere will be stewed and over extracted and about as pleasant to drink as diluted vinegar. We’ve all steeped fine ground in a French press and regretted it 3 minutes later, imagine how grim that would be in 24 hours. The trick – as with a regular cup of hot decaf – is in the grind.
For iced coffee, you should use a medium-coarse ground to prevent your brew ending up full of oily acid. If you only have fine ground, you should reduce the brew time up to 50%. You’ll get your coffee quicker, but you’ll lose some of iced decaf coffee’s best features – the smoothtexture and full body. There’s a recipe for iced decaf coffee from coarse ground and separate instructions for making do with fine ground.
You should try whatever your favourite beans are and coarse grind them for iced decaf. A typical medium roast will make an excellent decaf iced coffee and you’ll get to discover more of the mellow end of your usual decaf cuppa. Darker roasts work well too – they tend to have more of the chocolate and nut notes that develop very well for iced decaf. An espresso-style roast will work well if you plan to add milk, cream or non-dairy alternatives in the final cup.
Recipe for Cold Brew Decaf Coffee
1. Put 800ml cold water into a large jug and add 100g of coarse-ground decaf coffee. Do not stir! Cover and leave for a day.
2. Stir the mixture slowly, then decant it through a sieve or funnel lined with coffee filter paper into another jug. This concentrate – enough for about 7 or 8 cups – keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days.
3. Serve 1-part cold brew concentrate to 2-parts water poured over ice.
4. Dilute with water to taste
5. Milk and sweeten to taste
Recipe for Cold Brew with Fine Decaf Ground Coffee
1. Put 50 grams of fine ground coffee into a large jug.
2. Add 450 ml of water.
3. Stir slowly for up to 60 seconds.
4. Leave in the fridge for between 8 and 16 hours
You might have to experiment with this over time. If the coffee isn’t super-fresh, you should brew for the longer period.
5. Filter the coffee through a fine grind filter.
6. Pour and serve over ice
7. Dilute with water to taste
8. Milk and sweeten to taste