Thursday, September 20, 2012

perfect & simple vanilla iced coffee

+ optional cinnamon roll.

but why would you want it to be optional?

i love iced coffee, and i will drink it well into winter until it's 20 degrees outside. and although i'll settle for a steaming latte or caramel macchiato every now and then when it gets chilly, something about iced coffee is really delicious to me. it's better, somehow. don't ask me how. similarly, i enjoy popsicles and ice cream regardless of the temperature. soups are also divine when it's 100 degrees outside. sometimes i don't make sense.

this semester has really sucked the life out of me so far. i'm staying up later and waking up earlier, which means i'm getting a lot less sleep. i am not a morning person, though i strive to be. when i do manage to wake up without feeling half dead, i thoroughly enjoy morning time. taking my time getting ready, browsing the news and making a nice breakfast (i know, it's like i'm sixty or something, right?) make all the difference in the world in terms of how my day goes. if i start on a tranquil note, i find it so much easier to relax and maintain that tranquility throughout the day.

needless to say, i've been drinking a lot of coffee. and waking up even earlier to trek to starbucks or mcdonalds (shudder) for a nice iced coffee was starting to add up in a lot of ways. i wanted to learn to make my own, at-home version. and i did!

it's really quite easy. i did a lot of reading about methods, and i decided to do the "cold brew" process instead of brewing the coffee hot and then allowing it to cool. don't ask me how, but it truly does taste better this way! making my own vanilla syrup was incredibly easy as well, but these, in addition to other flavors, can be purchased at starbucks, target and other grocery stores.

you will need:
  • a large (at least 1½ - 2 gallons) jug/container
  • 12 oz. - 16 oz. bag of ground coffee (i used starbucks medium roast!)
  • filtered or tap water
and, if you'd like to make the vanilla syrup:
  • 3½ cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • a container of your choice 
pour your ground coffee into your container, then fill with water. this depends on your container size, of course. i used a 12 oz. bag of coffee and i fit about 22 cups of water into mine; i'm not sure this detail is super important, as long as the coffee isn't watered down, but all of the grounds are in contact with water - stir to make sure! pop your container in the fridge over night, or at least 8 hours.

for the syrup, boil together your water and sugar for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens just slightly. afterward, put it an a container, allow it to cool, then add your vanilla extract and refrigerate.

the next morning, or 8 hours later, take out your mixture and prepare to strain. here's where it's tricky. i didn't have cheesecloth, so i used paper towels. if you have an extra fine sift, this might work as well. take another large container to collect your liquid, place your paper towels over the top and begin pouring the mix in, separating the grounds from the liquid. this took me about 10 minutes and i had some help, but paper towels ultimately work if you're patient. when you're done, you've got your perfect iced coffee!

i put mine back into the large container and keep it in the fridge. i've read various accounts about how long this is supposed to keep... a week, a month, who knows. i'll find out. to make mine the way i like it, i put 3-4 spoonfuls of vanilla syrup into the bottom of the glass with ice. i then add about a cup or cup and a half of the iced coffee, then top it off with 1% milk. usually i shake it up to make it frothy!

enjoying this coffee has made my mornings this week go a lot smoother. cinnamon rolls help too.


  1. No you make perfect sense, I drink frappucino's when it's 20 degrees just because they test better, and it doesn't make me feel colder. It's like I'm breaking some secret law, I think that's why it tastes better haha

    1. Exactly! I feel like I taste more flavor of a drink when it's cold... when it's hot, I feel like all coffee just tastes like hot milk. Haha glad I'm not the only one!

  2. I understand you on the getting up early for school thing: I get up around 7:30 every teusday, wendsday and thursday for my 9:30 class and next quarter I have to get up around 6:30 and I'm going to need all the coffee I can get


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