(I originally posted this on January’s personal site in 2015. Enjoy!
Growing up with a French mother taught me some very important lessons. Never insult the cook’s food. It didn’t matter if it tasted like moldy garbage regurgitated by a rabid raccoon. You ate what was on your plate and lied about it being amazing or there was trouble. Luckily, my mom was a masterful cook so this was rarely ever an issue. Unless cheese was involved. Ugh. Because if a cheese smelled like sweaty, slimy toe jam embedded under a crusty toenail, that was a cheese of the highest quality and my mom was buying it and serving it with dinner.
But the most important lesson of all that I learned was to never ever, and I mean never never ever, talk to my mom in the morning until she had her coffee. This was not debatable.
“Morning, Mom, I’m gonna go outside and shoot hoops.”
“Not until your chores are done… AND DON’T TALK TO ME UNTIL I’VE HAD MY COFFAY!!!”
(Side note: my mom’s accent prevented her from saying “coffee” like the rest of us crude Americans. Other amusing mispronunciations were “lanch” instead of “lunch,” “See-sammy Street,” and “antee-bio-tick” instead of “antibiotic.” I still get a kick out of these and many more to this day. But I digress.)
“Hey Mom, I’m gonna play Nintendo.”
“No, I’m watching Sallay Jessay Raph-ay-el… AND DON’T TALK TO ME UNTIL I’VE HAD MY COFFAY!!!”
“Hey Mom, I need to–“
“I SAID DON’T TALK TO ME UNTIL I’VE HAD MY COFFAY!!! GO OUTSIDE!!!”
“But I thought you said to do my chores.”
I quickly learned to stay as far away as possible from our mom until she had finished her morning pot of coffee, eaten her buttered croissant, and finished that morning’s episode of Sally Jesse Raphael or Donahue or Maury or whatever show was on at that time. Sometimes, if I was feeling brave, and also because I was a punk kid, I would pester my mom into yelling “DON’T TALK TO ME UNTIL I’VE HAD MY COFFAY!!!” as I bolted for my room, cackling in hysteria.
Maybe it was a subconscious rebellion of my mom, or a dislike of the taste, or a texture thing, but I honestly couldn’t stand coffee for years… quite literally until my 30s. Whenever I was offered coffee, it was an emphatic “No!” While in chiropractic school I thought caffeine was the devil and I didn’t consume a single drop from my first semester until several years into practice. To this day, I still don’t understand how I achieved this superhuman feat of strength. With as busy as our lives are now, I couldn’t survive day to day without high amounts of caffeine in my diet. I’m pretty sure that’s a fact.
Eventually, I saw how coffee helped January with her postpartum depression after baby #5, and I decided to give coffee the benefit of the doubt. Coffee provided my wife with the ability to be happy, and because of that it will always have a special place in my heart. Coffee convinced me to give it a chance.
I began to drink it here and there, developing my infantile coffee tastebuds slowly but surely. Then we moved and I had to commute for five months. I quickly learned that I needed to live on caffeine as much as I did food and water or I would be falling asleep at the wheel more often than not. And who wants to do that even once? Not me, that’s for damn sure. So Monsters, Rockstars, and, yes, coffee were staples of my commute.
Once commuting was over, I began to get up early to hit the gym at the same time college kids typically called it a night. I created a tasty protein coffee drink, complete with coffee ice cubes, before my workouts to give me that extra jolt needed to throw some mad weight around, brah. I couldn’t believe how much energy I had for my workouts. I loved it.
But then January and I tried a cold brew coffee one day not too long ago. It was cold. It was smooth. It was delicious. It was POWERFUL! It was quite simply, as January would say, amazeballs.
It’s important to mention that I do not mean an iced coffee i.e. hot coffee poured over ice. No, no, no. That’s child’s play. This? This was a brand new experience altogether.
I wanted to consume this new delectable caffeinated imbibement all day, every day. So, I learned how to do it, and I learned how to do it well. And now I get to drink it all day, every day just like I want.
And so can you. Here’s how:
1.) Find a great blend of coffee. This should be a given, but settling for crap like Folger’s or Maxwell House will put you behind the eight ball in the flavor department. That’s a guarantee.
I stumbled onto a brand called Fara Coffee that’s amazing. It’s local to Austin, it’s organic, and the espresso roast is POWERFUL! If you live outside of ATX, find a good, local, organic blend and I promise you won’t regret it.
2.) Find a large glass jar of some sort. It could be an oversized mason jar or it could be a cleaned out kombucha jug. Either way, find something large that’s made out of glass that you can seal off. Plastic is a no-no. I won’t get into all the negatives about the chemicals that seep into liquids or foods housed in plastic containers, but one thing is for sure: plastic containers lesson the flavor as well. And flavor is what we’re all about here. So just remember… NO PLASTIC!!!
3.) Pour in the coffee grounds, then the water. The ratio here is very simple: For every cup of coffee grounds you pour in, use 3 cups of filtered water. I’ve seen some recipes that call for 3/4 cup of coffee grounds to 3 cups of filtered water, but most call for a full cup of coffee grounds, which I prefer. And just like we’re avoiding the crappy brands of coffee, we’re avoiding tap water, too. No cutting corners. And just like I don’t have to explain to you about avoiding plastic containers, I won’t insult your intelligence about tap water. Just remember… NO TAP WATER!!!
Personally, I use 2 cups of coffee grounds and 6 cups of filtered water for each batch I make. Once everything is poured in, I seal it up and shake it a few times to mix the water and coffee grounds together.
4.) Leave it in the fridge for 12 hours. This is minimum. Longer is better if you like your coffee like I like mine, which is POWERFUL! Leaving it in the refrigerator for such a long time lets the coffee grounds soak into the water, making the end product highly concentrated, the likes of which could never be achieved by simply brewing a hot pot of coffee. Sometimes I’ll leave a batch in the fridge for 24-36 hours and the end result is truly an eye-opening experience.
5.) Filter out the coffee grounds. You can use a cheesecloth, a very fine sieve, an old shirt, or even an old Birth Without Fear swag bag. It doesn’t matter, so long as you drain the liquid out of it into another glass container without the possibility of the coffee grounds making the trip as well. Having used all of the above, I’ve found the cheesecloth to give me the highest yield of coffee. You might prefer a fine sieve. Someone else might prefer an old shirt. I would advise you against using an old pair of underwear. Again, no explanation really needed here. Just remember… NO UNDERWEAR!!!
6.) Enjoy! If you like your coffee POWERFUL! then drink it as is, with your favorite creamer and sweetener, of course. If you don’t want to ping off the walls of your home or if you are sensitive to caffeine, you can always dilute it with more water. It’s really up to you.
After you filter it out, the cold brew should be good for about three days. Not like that matters, though. You will love this new form of coffee so much that it won’t even last the day. We’re lucky if it lasts a single morning around our house.
It’s that damn good.