Musings: Iced Coffee Dilemma

10:23 AM

My bank account cannot keep up with my Summer induced ice coffee addiction!

Seriously, ever since starting my new job that has a Starbucks relatively close, my bank account has been diminishing exponentially. Finally, I had to put a stop to it! An iced coffee + breakfast item was averaging at about $9/day AND that's just for breakfast! What the hell?!

Since disposable income isn't really in my vocabulary these days, I needed to get smart about this painfully debt inducing habit. I of course went to FB to crowd-source my options and I came back with a bunch.

Previously, I looked into various Cold Brews at various stores. I noticed most were concentrate and required additional work to make the end product. While I should have just took the time to read the instructions and see that it is mostly adding water to said mix, I didn't. I assumed it was more work than I would have liked. Lazy fail!

Here are my crowd-sourcing options:
So, I had my work cut out for me. I looked up each idea that was presented to me. I decided to try a few. During my research phase I was at Trader Joe's and they were highlighting a new item - Coconut Cold Brew Concentrate. I took the time to see what it would take and decided I needed to try it out. It was only $4.99 and said it would make me 4 servings, but I was able to get 5 AM iced coffees from it. The coconut flavor was interesting, it wasn't my favorite, but I didn't mind it at all.
Pic from Trader Joe's
Also, while in my figure it out stage. I realized I was making Simple Syrup all wrong. You know I don't cook, but damn, I felt dumb not making that correctly. I had to stop using my Turbinado sugar, cause the flavor is off. This time I used regular sugar, but I want to go to the Co-Op to get better sugar, not so processed like the one I have for baking. Secondly, I realized you boil the water then use the hot water ratio. I think you can guess how I tried to do it before and why it turned out not so good :/

I thought I'd try two of the techniques that were mentioned. These two were chosen because I was able to use Amazon Prime to get the items, since this issue was seriously escalating as each day passed and my account was drained even more!


Jeff & Jamee mentioned this and after looking it up on Prime, I realized the price was affordable and it seemed fairly easy to use. Jeff shared the link for the brown one, but I try to keep all my kitchen appliances black or steel, so I paid the additional $5 for the black one. I know it shouldn't matter, but it does!


A few people mentioned this method, so I also thought I'd try this method. I didn't buy the exact same bags as Pam had mentioned, because they were sold out of the 2 pack and this item seemed comparable. 
via Amazon
Overall, I took Shawn's advice, as he is like the Head Brewmaster for some awesome coffee place, on how long to actually let the Cold Brew sit for. He said 18 hrs was perfect, but you could go to 24 hrs. More than that was unnecessary. So, I had that going for me as well.

For our everyday hot coffee, we brew Peet's. I was skeptical on which beans to buy for Cold Brew, but I also gathered the consensus that any coffee bean works for this process. I was going to stick with more local beans, but for the sake of time I went to Peet's. I asked the barista's for some help and they directed me toward what they generally use for their cold brew, Jamaican beans. I told them I'd buy a half of a pound of whatever they suggested, while also asking them to grind them for me.

Coastal Grind Coffee Bag - I took my little baggie of coffee grounds home and basically the entire bag was one cup ground for my cold brew. I boiled the water, just because I thought it would be better. I let it cool off for the most part, but I had to leave to go somewhere so I had to finish it. It was still a little warm when I added the beans. I poured the grounds into the bag, tied it shut, and added it to my pitcher of water. I then set my alarm for 18 hours, which would be the next day at 10:30 AM. I would be at a baby shower so J had to take the bag out for me. However, he didn't squeeze the bag to get all the goodness out, so I wasn't left with much cold brew. Almost 3 full cups for the week.

I recycled the packaging, so I wasn't sure how to clean the darn thing. Their website is not functioning and Amazon only suggests your rinse it out and hang dry. I found them on IG and sent them a message to them directly how to clean. Never got a response...

Hario Mizudashi - I then had to score more beans to try the Hario Mizudashi, which I got from the Sac Co-Op. I tried to get some from Temple, but they only had 12oz bags and wouldn't let me buy by the weight. And these bags could cost as much as $21. So, I walked my happy butt back to the Co-Op to check out their selection. Since I haven't purchased coffee in the remodeled store, I had to ask someone for help -- I was a lost pup. Finally, I found it, but I needed help. Unlike at Peet's, where someone was there was awesome advice, I was left to fend for myself in the aisle. I'm sure I could have flagged someone down, but I didn't feel like it. Some were on sale, I gravitated toward those. AND they were organic. I grabbed my bag and filled it up, then I ground it to coarse, since I did for the bag option. I walked out of there for grounds under $3 for the Mizudashi!

Little did I know, coffee fail per the usu, I was supposed to grind it finely for this contraption! I assumed it was the same for the Mizudashi as it was for the bag. Wrong! HAHA, of course. I used it anyways. Even thought I only bought $3 worth of ground beans, it worked out perfect. I even had a little too much. Per the Mizudashi instructions you need to fill the cup to the end of the mesh, which is supposedly around 80g of coffee. Then you slowly pour the water through the grounds, cause there isn't any other option to pour in water. The process is SLOW! Really, slow. You fill it up to the middle of the handle, but I got a little overzealous in the pouring. Which I'm sure doesn't surprise you. It says to let it brew for 8 hours, but my sleep and work pattern didn't accommodate that, so I went with Shawn's recommendation for closer to, if not exceeding 18hrs.

The coffee was good, but STRONG. I even diluted it with water for my first cup, but I should have added more. Lesson learned after my first cup.

Overall, I think both options are great. They both require different ways to grind the beans. But I think the hardest part now will be finding the right beans from the right spot. The new Philz sells coffee beans by a quarter of a pound, which may be a great option. The Co-Op has tons of different types too and it is affordable. The Peet's beans were really good and flavorful, so they can always be a backup. I do want to get some from a local shop, so I think my next trip will be to Old Soul. They brew cold brew, so I'm sure they'll have some tasty beans for me. HAHA, funny to say I like beans ;)

Overall, this is much more time consuming, but much more economical for our budget. Starbucks still gets my business, but they won't be getting it daily. I just need to perfect my bean choice now. I've got the simple syrup and the process down!

I'm really excited that I made this switch. It also means I'll be much more caffeinated. I love being able to have an economical cold brew option for the warm months! OH the things you do when you make life changes and your budget is affected ;)

Don't worry, the pour over post will one day be coming your way too. I've had the coolest kettle for pour overs for months now. I just haven't pull the trigger on the pour over system yet. Nor can I get myself to invest in a burr coffee grinder. It's sitting in my Amazon Prime cart, all pristine and $129 dollars! AHHH....

Happy brewing ya'll, from a semi-faux coffee makin' connoisseur!

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