Toddy for Today

Have you heard of the Toddy, an iced coffee that’s not your Grandma’s iced coffee drink? No indeed, this is the iced coffee that will cause you to “never order iced coffee again”. At least, that’s what Sydney Leonard wrote in an Oregon-based web newsletter earlier this month. It’s now specialty coffee culture history, but forty or fifty years ago, one Todd Simpson figured out how to brew a cold coffee concentrate, a syrupy affair, which was used like instant coffee. It was a personal victory for him, because his mom couldn’t stomach regular coffee but for some reason, the slow cold-brewed syrup made Mrs. Simpson’s stomach find its happy place. Since then, coffee made with this concentrate has been called aToddy. Leonard explains that summer is Toddy season for some specialty coffee shops. Apparently they cold brew the syrup and use that in their iced coffee drinks. In his discussion, Leonard brings up some other issues that could be called third wave issues. One quote is a real keeper, captured from a coffee shop owner: “For most of the general public, coffee is this big mystery, and [they think] you have to go meditate on top of a mountain for seven years to be able to understand it, but if you can wrap your head around some basic things, it starts to make sense.” He went on to say that Seattle (read Starbucks) ruined specialty coffee by teaching everyone that real coffee should be dark to the point of burned. He prefers lighter roasts, which he says brings out more of the coffee’s essence. If you live in the part of Oregon served by the TSWeekly, you might be able to try the Toddy at the cafes mentioned in the article linked to the photo above. But if not, you can easily cold-brew your own specialty coffee with a cold brewer or even a French press. The key is to brew the coffee overnight, as long as eighteen hours. You might want to experiment with the lighter roasts as well, but remember to put in extra grounds in any case to make a thicker brew that will not be overly diluted when the ice cubes melt. Of course, that can be prevented by using coffee ice cubes rather than the water variety. Experiment – have fun with it – but do taste the difference brewing cool creates.

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