Iced coffee is one of my all-time favorite drinks: it’s refreshing, it’s caffeinated, it’s both coffee and cold as hell. You can sweeten it with caramel or chocolate or a dozen other tasty flavors, you can drink it straight black or saturate it with milk and a dollop of whipped cream.
There’s a good chance you already know all this—iced coffee has been surging in popularity over the last few years and you can find it at all your favorite coffee shops and a lot of your favorite restaurants, too. But what you might not know is just how easy it is to make at home.
The best-tasting iced coffee is made with the cold brew method. Of the many, many ways to brew coffee it’s probably the most unusual (there’s no heat or special timing involved) but it’s also one of the easiest. And if you’ve ever thought that all coffee in general was a little too acidic then you’re gonna love cold brewing (more on that later.)
Here’s the process in 4 easy steps:
- Grind up a pound or so of your favorite coffee (a very coarse grind, please.) Just about any coffee will work; I personally prefer one of our chocolate-based flavored coffees such as Caramel Mudslide or S’mores (they’re flavorful enough that I don’t add any other sweeteners.)
- Put the grinds and about 7 cups of water in a Toddy cold brewer.These fantastic devices come with detailed instructions on the best way to do this, but it basically comes down to layering the grinds and the water gently (no sloshing or stirring) so as to not clog the drainage hole.
- Put the Toddy cold brewer in the fridge overnight. Or leave it out on the counter, covered or not—the manufacturer says this is just fine (although I personally won’t be trying that after the Iced Tea Incident of ’06.)
- Drain all that delicious coffee concentrate into the included carafe and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Whenever you’re overcome by an iced coffee urge pour the extract over ice and dilute it with water, milk or cream, and add anything else that sounds good (like caramel or peanut butter syrup, mmm!)
So it’s easy, but why else should you use the cold brewing method?
- Less acidity, less caffeine, more taste! Cold brewing extracts all those good flavors from the grounds but leaves a lot of the acids—including some of the caffeine—behind. If regular coffee gives you you heartburn or the jitters (or if you simply don’t care for the acidic taste) the Toddy could be your new best friend. Cold-brew coffee is smooth, and really highlights subtle flavors in the bean.
- More strength, less waste. Six cups of Toddy concentrate can typically make 32 (6-oz) cups of coffee. If comparing this to your normal coffee consumption keep the waste factor in mind. Most people don’t drink a full, brewed pot of coffee; they drink what they need at that moment and throw the rest out. Since cold-brewed coffee keeps so well you can drink what you like today and save the rest for later.
- Speed! After the initial brewing Toddy coffee is ready to go at a moment’s notice; you can have your morning coffee just as fast as you can pour it out. Depending on the thirst level of your household you may only have to make coffee twice a month.
With cold brewing you’re not limited to iced coffee: try blending the concentrate with ice cream for a frappe or mixing in frothed milk for a home-style cappuccino or even adding it to brownies and cheesecakes. The Toddy manufacturer has a whole book of recipes that cover everything from cream sodas to desserts—you can even cold brew tea!
Pick up a Toddy today to impress your friends and your buds (your taste buds, that is) with your slick iced-coffee-making skills. It’s cheaper than getting a pool, and so easy and delicious you’ll wonder how you ever survived a summer without it.