Frugal Living Tip File: Coffee

/* Written 11:25 AM Dec 15, 1995 by in igc:misc.cons.frug */ Meg Worley (meg@Steam.Stanford.EDU) wrote:

: Seriously, I'm interested in hearing about methods of cold-
: processing coffee without shelling out 40 bux for one of
: those toddy thingies they sell at the foofy coffee places.
: I'm sure it can be done, but I don't have the pounds of
: coffee needed to find the method by trial and error.

WHAT??? $40 for a device to cold-process!!!

Do you happen to have a glass jar laying around anywhere? If not, save one from your next jar of mayonaise, pickles, or whatever. Put in a cup or so of coffee grounds and fill with water. (I strongly recommend distilled or filtered water for taste, not that sludge that comes out of your cold water tap.) Let stand overnight--8 hours, 24 hours, or whatever. Filter. That's it. You have cold-filtered concentrate. Dilute with water to your taste and heat in microwave.

After filtering the first round I pour at least three more jars of water through the coffee grounds--until it comes through relatively clear. The second jar poured through will be about as dark as the first. Just keep rinsing the grounds until you get most of the coffee essence out.

How to filter? I use an old Mr. Coffee filter basket with regular coffee filters. I happen to have a round plastic pitcher that the filter basket will partially fit down into, but you could improvise. Anything that will support the filter basket while you are straining the water through the grounds. Also, I imagine that a big funnel would hold the filter paper, folded like we did it in Chemistry 101, but I haven't tried that. The funnel could be stuck down in a jar to do the pourthrough.

I keep my concentrate in the refrigerator, although it really doesn't seem necesssary to refrigerate it. I have kept it for as long as a week and it was still as good as the day it was made. It is the acids and oils that make coffee taste bad after it sits for a while, and cold processing does not extract acids and oils. Also, the source that gave me this method said that a lot of people who think they can't drink coffee because of the caffine will find that they can drink it using this method. That's not to say that if caffine happens to keep you awake you can drink cold- processed coffee at midnight and go right to sleep. But if coffee has upset your stomach, you may well find you can drink it with impunity when made by this method.

I never throw away any old coffee. Often I take a cup to bed with me and then fall asleep before I drink it. The next morning I just reheat that same coffee in the microwave for my breakfast coffee. Try that with perked or dripped coffee and it will be undrinkable. I will say, though, that the only coffee I have used this method with has been Luzianne coffee/chicory blend, so I can't testify that you will get the same results with straight coffee. I can testify that you don't need to have a special $40 gadget to do cold-processing.

Using this method has greatly simplified my life because I drink coffee all day long. If a cup happens to get cold before I finish it, I just go reheat in the microwave. And by the way, it may not seem very frugal, but heating coffee and tea is almost the *only* thing I use my microwave for.

/* Written 1:29 AM Dec 15, 1995 by in igc:misc.cons.frug */

On Fri, 15 Dec 1995, Meg Worley wrote:
> Thanks for posting this info!  I will try it tomorrow morning
> (and may never go back).  One question though:  You talked
> about rinsing the grounds... Do you mean that you do a second
> batch with the same coffeegrounds, or that you do the diluting
> as you filter -- filter concentrate, then pour through appropriate
> amount of clear water until satisfaction has been attained?

After you have soaked the coffee grounds you will have a quart or so of coffee slush which you will filter. A coffee-filter basket will not hold all of that at once, so you will fill up the basket, wait for that to go through, pour some more and wait for it to drain, pour some more, etc.

After the original batch has gone through fill up the jar you have soaked the coffee grounds in in with water and pour that jarfull through the grounds in your filter basket. Keep doing that until the filtrate is relataively clear.

You will then have a concentrate which you can dilute to taste all at once, or you can use perhaps 1/4 cup or less of that concentrate per cup of coffee to dilute in the cup as you make it. I don't dilute my concencrate ahead of time as a rule in order to save storage space. I usually end up with about 2 1/2 quarts of concentrate which I dilute with about three times as much water as concentrate. I am using Lusianne coffee, however, which is twice as strong as regular coffee, so it is likely that most people would not dilute regular-coffee concentrate more than two to one, or mayber even equal parts con- centrate and water. Just experiment to get the strength you like.

Let us know what you think.

Cold Filtered Coffee

1 lb coffee with chicory

Line a colander with cheesecloth. Grind the coffee beans and put them into the colander. Put the colander inside a glass bowl. Do not use metal. Pour cold water very slowly over the grinds. Stop when the bowl is almost full. Cover and leave for a day. Remove the colander from the bowl. Let the colander drain out completely. Press out excess water with the back of a spoon but do not press coffee grounds through. Funnel the coffee syrup into glass jars and cap.

Store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. To make a smooth cup of coffee, pour 2 ounces of the extract into a cup. Fill the cup with simmering water. Use sugar and cream or milk to taste.

"Cold Brew" Instructions

    Coffee concentrate.

  1. FILL - Add 1 lb. of coffee (regular or coarse ground beans) into Toddy's brewing container and add 9 cups (72 ounces) of cold water.
  2. BREW - Let the coffee mixture cold brew undisturbed for 12 hours. Remove the stopper and let concentrate flow into the glass decanter. 1 lb. of coffee will yield 6 cups (48 fluid ounces) of concentrate. Refrigerate.
  3. SERVE - For a cup of fresh, steaming hot coffee, simply add 1 part concentrate to 3 parts steaming water (or add cold water and microwave). For a glass of delicious iced coffee, simply add milk or water, and serve over ice.
    Tea concentrate.

  1. FILL - Add 1/2 lb. of loose tea leaves into Toddy's brewing container and fill with cold water 1 inch from top of brewing container.
  2. BREW - Let the tea mixture cold brew undisturbed for 12 hours. Remove the stopper and let concentrate flow into the glass decanter. 1/2 lb. of tea will yield 6 cups (48 fluid ounces) of concentrate. Refrigerate.
  3. SERVE - For a cup of fresh, steaming hot tea, simply add 1 part concentrate to 7 parts steaming water (or add cold water and microwave). For a glass of delicious iced tea, simply add milk or water, and serve over ice. Adjust the strength to taste.

Cold-Brewed Coffee Extract
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1 pound good quality coffee, ground for drip
2 1/2 quarts cool tap water

In a minimum 3-quart pitcher or jar, combine the coffee and water. Let stand for 12 hours. Strain the coffee through a regular kitchen strainer into a 2-quart jar or pitcher. After the bulk of the coffee Place the strainer over a bowl for a few hours to get every last drop.

I find that tastes vary about the strength of coffee. For instance, a guest the other night who was familiar with coffee extract requested her iced coffee be made with nothing but the extract, ice, milk and sugar. I needed a shot of water in mine. For morning coffee, however, I found that three parts water to one part extract, as the manufacturer of Suzanne’s gadget suggests, was too weak for me. I preferred two parts.

For Iced Coffee
Stir together equal parts of the coffee extract and cold tap water (or bottled water). Pour over ice. Add sugar and milk to taste.

For Hot Coffee
Use one part coffee extract to 2 to 3 parts just-boiled water.