To coffee lovers, warmer days mean a return to the chilled delights of iced coffee. Yes, we know there are some coffee drinkers who would never chill their coffee and others who enjoy iced coffee year round, but for the majority of us, nothing quite says warm weather indulgence like a tall glass of iced coffee on the deck. Of course, making iced coffee has its pitfalls - watered down flavor chief among them - but these tips can help you avoid the hazards that give iced coffee a bad name so you can really enjoy a chilly coffee treat.
Brew It Cold
One of the best ways to avoid watery chilled coffee is to brew your coffee cold
in the first place. Cold brewing coffee takes time, so you'll need to plan ahead, but once you get into a routine, you'll always have cold coffee on hand to enjoy on a hot afternoon. The elaborate Japanese coffee drippers are more than pretty coffee makers - they're precision instruments designed to drip water over coffee grounds at just the right rate for optimal extraction. Instead of cold water, fill the top container with ice and let it drip over the coffee as it melts. If you've never tried your own cold-brew, check out our cold-brewed coffee guide
Make Coffee Ice Cubes
You've probably seen a variation of this one. Make your ice cubes with coffee to avoid watering down your coffee as it cools. We'd add a couple of points to that advice. First, for the purest flavor, make the cubes with the same coffee you'll be drinking. Second, keep in mind that coffee is notorious for absorbing flavors and aromas around it. Freeze your coffee in covered ice cube trays. We really like these inexpensive covered ice cube trays
from Chef Buddy. Not only do they have nice, tight-fitting covers, they also have a fill port so you don't spill coffee everywhere while you're trying to fill them.
Get Some Stones
Whisky stones, that is. Made to chill the finest liquors without diluting them, whisky stones are made of food-grade stainless steel filled with non-toxic gel. Keep them in your freezer to chill them and pour your coffee over them when you want it cold. They even come in fancy shapes like hearts if you want to get cutesy about it. And since you're not watering down your coffee, you can brew it regular strength instead of trying to compensate by making it extra strong.
Choose a Coffee that Tastes Good Cold
Fact is, coffee flavor changes at different temperatures, and some coffees will taste far better cold than others. If you want to start your iced coffee with brewed coffee, do some taste testing to find one that tastes good as it cools. Our preferences for iced coffee run to brews that have a fruity, sweet snap of acidity rather than those that are mellow and full-bodied. If you're doing a cold-brew, this doesn't matter as much because cold water doesn't change the original flavor profile of the coffee beans the way hot water does. If you're going to brew a coffee to ice, though, pick something like Passion House' Feedback Espresso Blend, one of our Free Shipping specials this week. The name may say
espresso, but it's a drip coffee lover's dream, bursting with snappy citrus and heady floral flavors that translate well over ice.
If You Must Brew Hot, Filter
We love a full-bodied French press or immersion-brewed coffee, but when it comes to icing it down, filter coffee - drip or otherwise - is the way to go. Presses, moka pots and other immersion methods leave a lot of sediment in the cup and that can result in muddy-tasting iced coffee.
Keep It Covered
One of the best ways to enjoy iced coffee all day long is to brew up a fresh pot in the evening and chill it overnight. Brewed coffee gets stale and nasty fast, but you can preserve a lot of fresh-brewed flavor if you store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Covering the container -- choose glass or stainless steel rather than plastic -- will also prevent your coffee from picking up icky flavors from last night's leftovers.
Try a Bottled Cold Brew
A number of nationally known (and local) specialty roasters are experimenting with bottling their own cold-brewed coffees. We don't currently have any among our selection, but we wouldn't rule it out. We've seen some interesting collaborations and ideas out there. If we come across something amazing, you know we'll pass it along.
Finally, once you've got your coffee cold, keep it cold in an insulated jug or carafe. Don't have a good vacuum jug to keep your coffee cold (or hot, if you like it better that way)? We've got you covered. This week, you can pick up the fabulously stylish Eva Solo Pump Vacuum Jug for 50% off
and have it just in time for iced coffee season.