Daily Archives: April 27, 2009

Love is best brewed cold

Coffee with all the parts you like (rich, full body, tantalizing aromatics) and none that you don’t (too much acidity, bitterness).   Is it possible?  Yes, with cold brewing,  it is.

I’m proud to introduce my official spring/summer (morning) drink.  And you can have it too, if you follow the easy and inexpensive steps below.

Yesterday, we went here:porto-rico

And purchased 1 lb. of this:


Porto Rico is in my neighborhood and I like their coffees (I have a problem with them sitting out exposed to the air, but that’s for another day).  I chose the Auggies blend because it was a bit of a darker roast, which is a good way to go for cold brewing, since you still get all of the lovely roasted chocolate toffee notes without the bitterness produced by hot water.  Grind (or ask to have it ground) for a french press.  For a listing of other coffees I like, go here.

Other things you’ll need to make this at home:  large liquid measuring cup (or any large non-reactive container, including a stainless steel pot), another large container (could be another liquid measuring cup), storage container for the final product (glass milk bottle works really well), strainer, any manual drip coffee filter set up like Melitta or Chemex ,coffee filters, patience.


1. In a large liquid measuring cup (or other container), combine 1 lb. of french press ground coffee with 10 cups of cool water (I used water from my Brita filter)


2. Stir to ensure all parts of the grounds are wet
3. Here’s the hard part: wait at least 12 hours (there’s no need to stir during this time – you can just leave it out, covered, on the counter)
4. Pour the slurry through the strainer (simple, hand-held pasta strainer will do the trick) into your other large container.  This step will remove large particles which could clog your coffee filters and slow the process
5. You can press the wet grounds that are trapped in the strainer to extract more coffee
6. Pour the strained coffee through your coffee filter.  This may take awhile depending on your set-up.  We used a Chemex because it has a larger capacity and you can fill it to the top and come back 20 min. later.  Chemex also uses a thicker filter, so you’ll get rid of nearly all of the suspended solids.  You may have to use 2 or more filters because they can become clogged with this much coffee flowing through them


7. Now pour the resulting coffee into a storage container.  We used this (Ronnybrook glass milk jar):


8. The coffee will keep over a week in the fridge with little change in its flavor

Congratulations – you now have over 1 liter of coffee extract.  I call it coffee extract because a) that’s what it is and b) it is too strong for most people to drink straight.  So, what to do with it then?  Well, for hot drinks, try 2 parts hot water with 1 part coffee extract (basically like making an Americano).  If you have an espresso machine, use the steam arm.  For cold drinks, try using cold water and/or cold milk with the extract.  I’ve been filling a glass with ice, pouring coffee extract about 1/3 up the glass and then topping it off with milk.  Notice I haven’t mentioned anything about sugar – the coffee is so darn good, you don’t need it!

If you like to get fancy, try making a coffee cocktail by subbing the cold brewed coffee in place of espresso for a martini (not a true martini, but usually vanilla vodka, simple syrup, chocolate powder, etc).    If you like to get extra fancy (of if you like your coffee really strong), make some ice cubes out of the coffee extract.

So, why should you bother with cold brewing?  It’s environmentally friendly, you’ll save money (at least $2 for each iced coffee you know you’ll consume in the warmer months), the coffee extract travels well (we even threw some in a water bottle to take camping), the acidity content is lower (key if you have a sensitive stomach), perhaps not everyone in your household wakes up or wants coffee at the same time and the most important reason of all: it just tastes good.

If this is a little too DIY, the  Toddy Cold Brew System can help you out.

Look how happy these two are together:



Filed under Coffee

Get schooled










Fundamentals of Wine starts this Wednesday 4/29 and runs 8 weeks from 6:30-8:30 pm.  Our goal is to demystify wine and have fun while doing it.  We’ll taste 6-8 wines per class, from over 12 different countries.  You’ll be swirling and sniffing like a pro (but not a snobby one) in no time.  This class is great for industry folks (brush up on those regions, varietals and wine laws) as well as for more serious connoisseurs (feel more comfortable with a wine list, organize your cellar).  For more information and to sign up, go here.



Filed under How to

More on IBU


This is not really something you need to know (unless you’re a beer nerd), but I wanted to clarify and expand my initial definition.  A beer’s IBU is measured by the amount of hops used and their acid content.  So yes, the higher the IBU, the more bitter the beer.  This can be misleading, though and I’ll give you an example.  If you look through the tasting notes on my previous posting, you’ll notice that the Cherry Imperial Stout has the highest IBU number and I didn’t mention anything about it being bitter.   The malt sweetness in this beer is playing against the bitter hops. 

Also, hops aren’t the only culprit – roasted malts (think espresso), lower serving temperature, higher carbonation and a low residual sugar content can all make a beer seem more bitter.  Bitterness makes a beer refreshing and is necessary to balance out the sweetness of the malt.  It is also the backbone of the beer’s structure – think tannin or acidity in wine.   So, please don’t think of bitter as a dirty word.

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Filed under Beer