"Black Gold": New Orleans Iced Coffee Concentrate

By • May 6, 2010 12 Comments

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Author Notes: I’m kind of obsessed with Iced Coffee. To me, other than a well-made Manhattan, it’s quite possibly the perfect drink. And now withwarm-weather finally (please merciful God) approaching…it’s iced coffee time.

But so often, it’s weak, bitter and tastes like what my brother Dave and I call, “brackish dirt water.” Not to mention, who the heck really knows how long it’s been sitting there.

I tried for many years to re-create the iced coffee I had in New Orleans, particularly at Royal Blend, a lovely little spot just off Royal Street. But I always came up short. Weak, watery…ugh. Then I noticed in a NOLA friend’s refrigerator, a plastic bottle that read “Coffee Concentrate.” I was intrigued, confused, bewildered (I hadn’t had my coffee yet). Then she explained to me, “Oh mon cher,” she said (in my memory she was much more Cajun than in reality), “this is the only way to have iced coffee.”

Now there’s another way: New Orleans Cold Drip Coffee Concentrate.

I know, I know….Steve, you’re saying, gosh that sounds complicated. And we don’t even live in New Orleans! Well relax, turns out that most quality grocery stores carry cans of New Orleans coffee with chicory… either Community, French Market or Café du Monde… it’s all good.

And then all you need is water, coffee and a little bit of time.

Serves about 8 cups

  • 1 pound New Orleans coffee with chicory (medium ground)
  • 10 cups water
  1. That’s it. I told you it was easy. Put coffee in a large bowl or stainless steel stockpot. Add 2 cups water, stirring gently to moisten the grounds, then add the other 8 cups water, mixing as lightly as possible. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 12 hours.
  2. Strain coffee concentrate through a medium or fine sieve, then strain it again. And you know what, maybe even again. (Invariably, you’ll end up with some sediment)
  3. To make iced coffee, just fill a glass with ice, add coffee concentrate and milk, then stir and enjoy. Remember, this is concentrate: strong stuff… you don’t need all that much. Try a 25% coffee ratio.
  4. Also, every home should have agave syrup or simple syrup… it saves that awkward non-dissolving sugar issue. Note: You can make this recipe with any pound of coffee you’d like. It certainly doesn’t need to be New Orleans coffee with chicory. But having made it with other brands, I can say simply… it’s better this way. Richer, smoother, and more delicious. Trust me.

More Great Recipes: Breakfast & Brunch|Booze-Free Drinks

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