Magical Coffee

By • December 2, 2009 102 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe was inspired by a drink I love at a local cafe. (Theirs is "magic coffee.") After my first taste, I went home and immediately started tweaking a recipe. They brew the coffee hot, but since it was summer and I am lazy, I wanted to use a cold-brewed coffee base, and I started with a recipe from the Times. There's lots of room for variation depending on what flavors you like--I did a Scandinavian version with white sugar, almond extract, and crushed fennel seeds too.ErinH

Food52 Review: One of those recipes that's a great concept rather than a precise formula, ErinH's iced coffee takes inspiration from both her local coffee house and the New York Times. Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a few spoonfuls of dark brown sugar to the coffee as it cold-brews gives it a lush sweetness and a hit of warmth. After a night in the fridge, you strain the coffee and pour it over ice cubes. Then comes the cream. (Or milk, depending on your mood.) And then, as ErinH says, you "die of happiness." We loved this iteration and think her "Scandinavian version" (using almond extract and fennel) sounds like a winner too. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 2-4

Coffee Base

  • 2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  1. Put ingredients in a quart jar and stir.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The Finished Drink

  • milk, half and half, or cream
  • ice
  1. Pour the coffee base through a sieve or strainer into a bowl, then strain back into jar for easy storage.
  2. For each drink: Fill a tall glass halfway with ice. Pour in coffee until glass is about 3/4 full, and add milk/half and half/cream to taste.
  3. Die of happiness.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!

More Great Recipes: Booze-Free Drinks

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Comments (102) Questions (2)


28 days ago Juju Sprinkles

Here's how to make cold brew in 3 steps! (And everything you need to know about cold brew)


about 1 month ago Andrew Smith

I’ve backed off on the cinnamon (using ¼ tsp.) and add 2 tsp. vanilla extract. I also use the French press for the first two steps.


2 months ago Carolyn ODonnell

I love this recipe. I had tried the cold brew method a few times before this and was never happy with the result. I was surprised I liked this because I do not add sugar to my coffee or espresso, milk yes, sugar no. Anyway I wanted to let you all know about a variation I have tried on this recipe. Instead of milk or cream try club soda. To me it tastes a lot like a Guinness. I tried the club soda because of an earlier recipe posted here at Food 52 maybe using tonic water.


2 months ago bretty

In the refrigerator now! I opted for cocoa powder instead of cinnamon because I have never been a huge fan of the intense Mexican coffee taste


2 months ago Carolyn ODonnell

oooooh cocoa powder ...nice alternative.


3 months ago KLD1967

I made this last night and just had my first cup. Pure heaven and magic. Trying to figure out if it will be wrong to make this every day.


3 months ago Alyson Torsone

I recently had an iced coffee with condensed milk. A cold stimulating dessert!


3 months ago ktgrice

Even better if you freeze some coffee in ice cube trays and use them instead of ice. Keeps the flavor from watering down. Also a pinch of cardamom.


3 months ago j.andrade

Glad you all "discovered" the centuries old recipe for traditional Mexican coffee.


3 months ago Artemis Voutsinou

So basically cold-brew coffee with cinnamon?


3 months ago Pascal Díaz Durán

In Mexico, traditional coffee as grand ma would prep it ,would be made by boiling water in a clay pot, once water was ready very finely ground coffee was added,a couple of cinnamon sticks,a few clovers, and raw brown sugar paste, once poured some would even add a splash of any spirit at hand (even pure cane alcohol would do...)


3 months ago ebony

so the 'magic coffee' ... is just iced coffee???


3 months ago Sharon Zimmerman

I used to work for Cafe Soleil (back when it was just the off- shoot of L'Etoile). The kitchen would make a huge batch and then most of it never made it out to the customers because we couldn't stop drinking it. Thanks for the memory bomb!


4 months ago cupcakemuffin

This is fantastic! I make cold brew at home quite a bit in the warmer months, but never considered steeping the grounds with other flavors. I tried the cinnamon-brown sugar this time and it was so delicious -- excited to branch out with some of the other suggestions next time!


5 months ago kay

A French Press, if you have one, should work on finishing


5 months ago Eileen W.

Just needs to be strained sufficiently -- I used a coffee filter.


7 months ago Gary Hughes

I'm going to try this with my new espresso maker tomorrow by putting the coffee in with the cinnamon and a cardomom pod so it heats through and up into the pot together.... I like the idea of it hot instead of cold... add some palmyra jaggery - - for sweetness... YUM!


8 months ago beejay45

I just bought some cinnamon oil, and as soon as I have it I'm going to try this recipe with it. Good Earth Tea uses (used?) cinnamon oil in their proprietary blend. It gave regular black tea a really sweet taste, and I loved it. I'm eager to see what it does for cold brewed coffee. Thanks to Jennifer for her comment which reminded me of this recipe. ;)


8 months ago Jennifer

Super yummy! Even in the middle of winter!


11 months ago TheLearningCook

Hmmm. No wonder my iced coffee is always the buzz of the century. I usually do 1 cup grounds per 2 cups water. I think this recipe really sounds worth trying so it is in the pitcher now.

I actually bought a pitcher that is designed for iced coffee. It if don't work at all but it works gret to strain it! Lol.


11 months ago TheLearningCook

Ugh. Auto correct. It doesn't work at all.


12 months ago Lisa Reese

LOVE LOVE LOVE! This makes me so happy