Who loves iced coffee?
I do I do I do-oooo.
(I’m saying this in the Keenan & Kel “Orange Soda” voice, to give you a visual.)
Correction. I DID love iced coffee. And then I discovered cold brew. And it is SO. MUCH. BETTER.
I had tasted cold brew once awhile back, before it became the trendy thang it is today. Then when I was at Kelly’s recently, I had it again (Mitch always keeps some of that deliciousness in the fridge!) and it sparked my love all over again.
Naturally, I had to make my own.
Being the secretly (or perhaps not secretly?) lazy human that I am, there is nothing I love more than working form home all day in my pajamas with a constant flow of coffee. Good coffee. That part is essential. So I’ve made a habit of making cold brew every few days and keeping it on-hand.
But now and then, I like to go the extra mile and make myself something really special. You know, keep things interesting.
This time, it was with–wait for it–a heavenly vanilla bean and creamy coconut milk mixture that had me over the moon.
Don’t like coconut milk? No problem.
Variation #1: Substitute regular milk, or half and half!
Variation #2: Go with true Vietnamese Iced Coffee style, make vanilla bean condensed milk. (Actually you guys, that’s what I’m drinking as we speak, because we ran out of coconut milk after I shot this.) Just scrape out that vanilla bean goodness of two beans, and put it right in the condensed milk. Steep overnight, and you’ve got vanilla bean condensed milk!
Its really up to you–the only thing required is delicious coffee. (Nomad Coffee Roasters, a local Chicago brand, is my current fav!)
Here’s how to make it.
Start with the coffee
Good coffee is essential. Coffee snobs everywhere will argue that you must start with whole beans and grind them at home. And I do declare, this results in the freshest brew.
You’ll want to make sure the grounds are course–read–not fine, because you don’t want them swimming through your french press filter and causing yucky coffee sediment in your glass. (WOOF.) Yes, of course, you can also buy pre-ground coffee, but again, just make sure it’s coarsely ground.
A little word about coffee: I recently heard about a local Chicago coffee brand called Nomad Coffee Roasters, and loving all things local in Chicago, I couldn’t wait to try them out! We’re always rabid for caffeine in this household, so I was excited to get my hands on a new brand.
To be candid, I am not a coffee snob. I don’t know everything there is to know about coffee. But what I DO know is that I feel in love with the brand, and their product is damn delicious. Really, really good. All of their beans are fairly sourced, high-quality, and get this–they’re roasted right here in Chicago! They have a handful of varieties to choose from, with beans imported from coffee-centric countries like Guatamala, and Colombia. I’ve experimented with the above three, but really liked the Lost City roast for this particular use. It’s a dark roast with hints of molasses and a little spicy kick!
One of my favorite parts of being a blogger is getting to support and spread the word about local brands who are doing awesome stuff–so seriously, give them a try. You won’t be disappointed! (Also worth noting, they also have individual brew K-Cups, if those are more your speed! They’re also earth-friendly and fully recyclable.)
Okay, continuing on. So you have your coffee–now what?
French Press Those Beans!
I make my coffee in the French Press. If you don’t have a French Press, you can totally make it in a container with some cheesecloth. (The Pioneer Woman did a great post on this if you’d like to check it out.)
The ratio for coffee to water seems to vary depending on who you ask.
If you know me, you know I’m one who likes to improvise in the kitchen. I like to experiment. So keep in mind, you should play around until you find a ratio that works for you!
So after some experimenting, the ratio I’ve found to work best in my 32 oz french press is about 1/3rd coffee grounds to 2/3rds water. I usually throw in a LITTLE more coffee than that, you know, just for good measure. But I think it’s a good ratio to stick with.
(Keep in mind, since it’s cold brew, you’ll be making a concentrated solution, which you’ll dilute with water later.)
Based on the above ratio, combine your coffee and water into your cold brew. Stir it up real nice with a wooden spoon, and pop it in the fridge overnight. About 8-12 hours. Make sure the plunger is UP! DO NOT PRESS THE PLUNGER YET!
Vanilla bean cream goodness
Then move on to make your vanilla bean cream!
- 2 vanilla beans (like, the actual pods.) You can find these at the grocery store in the spice section.
- One can sweetened, condensed milk.
- One can full fat coconut milk.
First, you’ll want to strain your coconut milk. (If you don’t have a strainer, you can always use your french press in a pinch! Run it through a couple times and you’re good!)
Then, pour it into a sauce pan.
Separately, cut open your vanilla bean pods and scrape out all the vanilla. (Who knew it looked like that, right?) A spoon or the back of a butter knife works great for this.
Pop it right into your coconut milk, and turn on the stove, bringing it to a simmer. Heat over medium-low heat and stir vanilla bean in thoroughly. Remove from the heat, and then pour in your sweetened condensed milk. Stir well until they’re completely mixed.
Remove from the heat, and let cool. Transfer into a container to store in the fridge, or pour it right in your coffee once it’s cool! (Note: the cream will separate when it cools. Yes, it looks gross, but just give it a shake and you’re fine!)
Bring it all together now
Then, when you’re ready, push down the plunger on your french press, and pour out your cold brew into a separate bottle or container. I recommend transferring it into a glass bottle (like this one here!) which you can order on Amazon!
Then, dilute the mixture with equal parts water. But really depends on how strong you like your coffee–experiment to see what you like best! To make sure to get it to your liking, start out with a little less than equal parts. Taste as you go. If it’s too strong, keep adding water little by little until you’re satisfied.
Pour over ice to serve, and pour in your creamer to your liking.
(And then give me a ring and invite me over for coffee, please.) P.S. if you’re interested in purchasing Nomad coffee and supporting a local brand, you can do so on their website here!