Finding the perfect beverage can be a careful balance between maximizing caffeine intake and minimizing spending. My favorite options for warm weather—and summer is definitely approaching—include cold brew coffee and iced tea. I tend to find it silly to spend real money on coffee or tea in stores because the necessary ingredients are so cheap; I generally lean toward making my own. I recognize that, in writing this article, I am unavoidably going to sound pretentious and snobby, but in reality, I’m really just lazy and cheap.
I didn’t drink coffee before last summer, when I started to make my own quality iced version. My roommates and I didn’t have a coffee maker, so making cold brew coffee really came out of convenience. Coffee shops will often charge extra for cold brew coffee, making it a snobby drink, but it’s only because it takes time to make—you can’t make fresh cold brew coffee on the spot.
All this recipe requires is ground coffee beans, a strainer, two cups, ice, and water, so any moderately stocked kitchen should be able to produce delicious iced coffee. This makes a concentrate, so be sure to add water or milk when you drink it! Also note that this recipe can be scaled up to produce a large amount of concentrate for enjoying over the course of a week. If you have extra, throw it in an ice cube tray and make coffee ice cubes for your next batch.
1/4 cup ground coffee
1 cup water (and more water to dilute the concentrate)
1. Cover coffee grounds with one cup water and let sit for up to 12 hours, or overnight.
2. Strain coffee water twice through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter. Pour over ice.
3. Add water to concentrate in a one-to-one ratio with coffee ( less if you prefer stronger coffee).
4. Add milk or sugar if desired.
If you prefer to stay away from coffee or find yourself getting over-caffeinated too quickly, you can always go for iced tea. Of course, there’s the easy way to brew iced tea (steep your favorite tea for the prescribed time—usually a few minutes—and pour over ice), but that tends to water it down. Good and cheap iced tea is easy and requires very little active time. This recipe takes a bit longer than the typical cup of tea, but creates a stronger concentrate that cools before it’s poured over ice.
4 tea bags of your favorite flavor
4 cups water
1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot, then turn off heat. Add tea bags.
2. Let steep 30 minutes or more until tea is cool. Remove tea bags and pour tea over ice. Enjoy!