Sunday, April 26, 2009

Iced Coffee at Home Made Easy

The weather in the Boston area has been absolutely perfect the last few days. After the winter we had in the northeast we definitely deserve some nice, warm, sunny days! Before my son was born I was a big fan of freezing cold weather and wanted to move north so that I could live in colder weather. However, after my son was born I stopped enjoying the cold and began to prefer the warm weather. Conversely, I also started to appreciate cold brewed coffee made at home instead of my traditional hot coffee made through a paper filter in a coffee maker. I had always had a full time job before I became a full time mom. I elected to stay at home with my son after he was born instead of returning to work right away. The transition from two incomes to one was difficult. We had always relied on both of our incomes to get by. Now we had just the one. Things were fine financially, but we didn’t have a lot of extra money around for luxuries-my daily or three times daily coffee runs. So, in an effort to cut back a bit I began researching ways to make coffee at home.

I felt confident in my abilities to brew a cup of hot coffee at home. I’d had coffee makers and a French press at home for years. What I was missing was my iced coffee! Any time I had tried to make iced coffee I found that my version was watery and not worth it. I usually ended up at the coffee shop anyway. To solve this problem, I began researching methods of brewing coffee. I stumbled across some information from Seattle’s Best Coffee. I had had their coffee quite often while browsing the stacks at Borders Bookstore. It turns out that Seattle’s Best (SBC) makes their iced coffee using a cold brewing method. Who says that coffee has to be brewed using hot water? In fact, through my research I learned that the coffee flavor can be extracted through a process of cold brewing. The method of using hot water became more common for speed. Using hot water speeds up the brewing process by extracting the coffee flavor from the grinds much quicker. The hot water is able to permeate the grounds more quickly than cold water can. A little preparation didn’t bother me if it meant that I could make my iced coffee without suffering through the watered down taste. It was perfect solution!

Well, by this point I’m sure that you are wondering, “Is she going to tell us how this works or do I have to go out and figure it out on my own?” Well, I am going to tell you how this works and how I do this at home for my daily coffee. I can’t even calculate how much this has saved me in time and money. I don’t have to stop for coffee on my way out in the morning and I don’t spend a ton of money on coffee.

Here’s my recipe:
Yields: One 12 oz glass of delicious iced coffee
1 French press or jar (I use a 16 oz Bodum French Press because that’s what’s here)
12 oz of good quality water (I use the filtered water in my refrigerator)
4 tbsp of good quality coarsely ground coffee (I prefer Peet’s Major Dickason’s blend)

-Put the ground coffee at the bottom of the jar.
-Pour the measured water on top of the coffee making sure to get all of the grinds wet. -Using a spoon, gently push the grinds so that they all get wet.
-Cover (I put the lid to my French press back on).
-Place jar in the refrigerator for 10-12 hours (I do this before I go to bed so that it’s ready for me in the morning).
-In the morning when you are ready to drink your coffee, add some ice and anything else that you add to your coffee (milk, cream, sugar, whatever) to your cup.
-Filter the coffee grounds from the water. This is why the French press is so useful at this point in the process. I simply press the mesh strainer down into the coffee slowly and at an even pace. Then pour. You can use a very thin, mesh strainer to separate your grounds from the brewed coffee.

Of course this can be done in much larger quantities, however, this is perfect for me in the morning. Just increase the quantities of coffee and water to suit your needs while keeping the proportion of coffee to water: one tablespoon of coffee per three ounces of water. Feel free, also, to play around with the amount of coffee you use for your particular tastes. Add more coffee if you prefer a stronger cup of coffee.

If this method appeals to you and you are interested in making an investment to using this system on a regular basis, you can purchase a Toddy Brewing System ( This is the system that Seattle’s Best Coffee uses in their stores. I have only tried the Toddy system when drinking iced coffee brewed for me at my local Seattle’s Best. I plan to acquire a Toddy System of my own to test out and compare to the French Press method that I currently use. The Toddy System is appealing to me for the versatility of advertised deliciously brewed, low-acid coffee either hot or cold. As well, the Toddy System can be used for tea leaves. If you can’t tell, I’m very excited about this new purchase. Rest assured, I’ll let you know what I think of the Toddy as soon as I have a chance to test it out.

Thanks for reading and happy brewing!

To save 10% off the purchase of a new Toddy Brewing System, please click the link below!

toddy cold brew system

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