Cool Off with an Icy Cold Brew this July 4
It's hard work celebrating our nation's birthday--parades, cookouts, and time with friends and family--often under a blazing summer sun. One of our favorite ways to cool off this time of year is with an icy cold brew. We keg our own at at one of our favorite Napa wineries using Coombsville AVA spring water, but you don't need to get nearly as fussy at home. Toddy makes a great home cold brew system (our early batches were in the commercial version of this system), but if you don't want to shell out $30-40 for that setup you can follow our basic recipe below with any vessel and a bit of post-brew filtration.
Why Cold Brew?
Iced coffee, the "O.G." of cold coffee drinks, is normally-brewed (hot) coffee that is poured over ice, before or after cooling. Cold brew, on the other hand, is brewed at much lower temperatures (between room and refrigeration temps), for a much longer time period (18-24 hours). What's the difference? There are a number, but the quick answer is that iced coffee tends to accentuate flavors developed in the roaster, while cold brew tends to accentuate flavors inherent to the coffee bean itself. We prefer cold brew because it tends to be smoother/less acidic, with a higher perceived natural fruitiness and sweetness. It also has a pretty good caffeine kick due to the long, slow extraction process. Cold brew is also typically brewed as a concentrate, which allows it to keep for a few weeks without oxidizing, and allows you to dilute to your preferred drinking strength, whereas iced coffee can be brewed stronger to counteract melting ice, but doesn't do as well as a true concentrate.
The single most important step to great cold brew--and the one we most often see, ahem, certain larger roasters cutting corners on--is to start with fresh, high quality beans. Yes you can save aging beans from demise by making cold brew out of them, but the quality of your cold brew will reflect it. Besides that it's a pretty simple recipe--coarse-ground coffee (think French Press coarse), filtered or bottled water, and time. You can experiment with ground size, time, and temperature to see what results you like the best. Or if you live in the Napa area you can stop by our truck for a taste of our kegged cold elixir.
- 1 x 12oz bag of coffee (Ohm Tweed Blend preferred), coarse ground
- 1/2 gallon filtered water
- Combine ingredients in a 1/2 gallon Ball jar or similar, seal and rotate to thoroughly wet grounds.
- Let stand in a cool or refrigerated location 18-24 hours, agitating every 6-8 hours.
- Pour through a paper coffee filter to remove grounds.
- To serve, fill a glass with ice and fill 1/2 to 3/4 with cold brew concentrate, finish with filtered water and organic whole milk or half and half to taste.
- Store concentrate in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Shop our favorite blends for Cold Brew:
Cherry | Vanilla | Pipe Tobacco
HALF STACK DECAF
Blackberry | Clove | Leather