A whopping 400 million cups of coffee get consumed in the U.S. every day. Coffee is a go-to breakfast drink, a popular date activity, and an excuse to get together with friends. And on those hot days when everyone craves a cooler drink, cold brew hits the spot. But did you know that cold brew isn’t just for iced coffee? You can use your cold brew coffee maker and filters to make all kinds of other icy versions, including cold brew yerba mate, cold brew chicory coffee and Vietnamese-style cold brew. Here’s why these refreshing drinks are worth adding to your repertoire, along with easy recipes for making cold brew at home.
Cold Brew Yerba Mate Recipe
Yerba mate isn’t just a drink: It’s a social experience too. Around South America, where the plant originates, yerba mate is meant to be enjoyed with a group. One person takes charge of making the mate, and after infusing it in a gourd and taking a sip from a metal straw, that person passes it to one of the guests, who sips then passes it back to the brewer. You continue taking sips each time the brewer comes back to your spot in line. If you don’t want more, just say “thank you,” and the gourd goes to the next guest.
A caffeinated drink, yerba mate is an acquired taste: It often has a smoky flavor since the branches get dried over a fire after harvesting, and the leaves can turn bitter when steeped in hot water.
Making yerba mate using a cold brew method avoids the bitterness: Combine 3 tablespoons loose-leaf yerba mate and 4 cups water (check out these tips for using your cold brew coffee maker). Let the mix steep overnight. Strain it into cups in the morning—or use a yerba mate gourd if you have one—and add honey or sugar to sweeten the drink.
Cold Brew Chicory Coffee Recipe
Chicory coffee is a New Orleans tradition, a blend of coffee grounds and ground chicory root that yields a sweet, earthy taste. The method of mixing chicory into the grounds originated as a way of extending the supply of coffee in times of shortage, such as the naval blockades that cut off supplies to the New Orleans port in the 19th century. The chicory blend became popular in its own right, and it’s now a New Orleans signature. For a caffeine-free alternative, you can skip the coffee altogether and just include chicory.
To make cold-brew chicory coffee, you’ll start with chicory root or pre-ground chicory. If you’re able to find dried chicory root, grind it to a coarse powder in a coffee grinder. Otherwise, you can find pre-ground chicory (or a coffee-chicory blend) at most supermarkets. If you’re adding your own coffee grounds instead of using a premixed blend, make sure the coffee and chicory are ground to roughly the same coarseness. Scoop 3 1/2 cups of grounds—the ratio of chicory to coffee is up to you—into the brewing container of your cold-brew coffee maker, and pour on 5 cups of water. Let the mix soak overnight, and strain when you’re ready to drink it. Then combine 1/4 cup of the soaked grounds with a full cup of cold water and enjoy. You may want to add more water just in case; too much chicory can upset stomachs. Add honey if you’d like it sweeter.
Vietnamese Cold Brew Recipe
Coffee became popular in Vietnam among the country’s European colonialists in the late 1800s, when the French occupied Vietnam and brought coffee plants and condensed milk with them. Locals were forced to work in the coffee fields while the occupiers enjoyed the fruits of their labor in coffeeshops. France left Vietnam in 1954, but the mixture of the two ingredients remained popular, and the Vietnamese adapted the sweet drink to enjoy year-round.
To make Vietnamese-style cold brew, add 3 1/2 cups of dark-roast ground coffee to the brewing container of your cold-brew coffee maker, and add 5 cups of water. Let the mix soak overnight, and strain when you’re ready to drink it. Mix 3/4 cup of the coffee with 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk in an ice-filled glass. Top off with plain milk.
If you accidentally make more of these drinks than you need, check out our tips on how to use cold-brew ice cubes to boost the flavor in your next cup.