It's official - summer is nearly here. With warmer weather comes a change in our dining habits as more Americans enjoy more fruit, vegetables and lighter fare.
A similar change occurs with our daily coffee intake. While Americans still enjoy their hot morning brew when the mercury rises, many prefer it on the rocks.
According to the National Coffee Association, more than 2 million people enjoy iced coffee daily, an additional 6 million drink it weekly, and some 41 million indulge in an iced-coffee pick-me-up occasionally.
Here are some simple brewing and storage tips:
• For a full-flavored pot of iced coffee, double the amount of ground coffee you would normally use to brew hot coffee. For an added flavor kick, use vanilla or hazelnut ground coffee.
• After brewing, add ice until the mixture doubles in volume, then add milk, cream or sugar to taste.
• Brew your coffee in the evening, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for quick and easy access in the morning.
• Like hot coffee, always start with the highest-quality fresh coffee beans. Look for a label that says "100 percent Arabica" beans.
• Keep coffee beans at room temperature. If they're stored in the fridge or freezer, they absorb food odors and condensation, and the flavor won't be up to par.
• Grind your coffee just before brewing; pre-grinding may cause coffee to go stale. The grind level should match your coffee brewer or individual taste; finer ground coffee yields a stronger flavor, while course grind will yield a weaker flavor.
• Store unused ground coffee in an air-tight container that is not see-through, in a cool dry place, away from heat or sunlight, and not in the refrigerator or freezer.
• Clean your coffee brewer and carafe of any residue or oils from previous brewing.
• Always use fresh, cold water for brewing coffee.