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Cold-brewed coffee is a hot summer beverage

Published June 12, 2013 9:45 am

Iced coffee • SLC baristas tout cold brewing as the best way to make this refreshing beverage.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When warm weather rolls around, many coffee drinkers switch from hot to iced for their caffeine fix.

"I still drink hot coffee in the morning but then I'll switch to iced coffee later in the day," said Jacob Adkinson, a regular at Nobrow Coffee Werks. "I just crave it. It's refreshing."

The easiest way to make iced coffee is to simply pour fresh-brewed java over ice.

However Nobrow, and several other area coffee shops, are making iced coffee using a method called cold brewing, which involves soaking coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for up to 24 hours.

The method brings out the different flavors of the beans. Chocolate and nuts are more pronounced and the bitter taste is significantly reduced, said Joe Evans, co-owner of Nobrow.

The texture also changes.

"It's almost syrupy smooth. When you cold brew, the end product is so much better than all the other alternatives," he said. "There are a million shops that will take day old coffee, toss it in the fridge or double-strength brew."

While Nobrow will serve its pour-over brewed coffee on ice if that's the customer preference, about 90 percent of the iced coffee sold is cold-brewed, Evans said.

The shop uses a special commercial-sized Toddy brand coffee maker, which has a 16-layer cotton filter. The company claims the filter traps the bitter oils and up to 67 percent of coffee acids.

Evans likes the cold brewer so much that he plans to sell a consumer version at the shop this summer.

Consumer-grade Toddy brewers sell for about $35 at Williams-Sonoma and Amazon.com.

The Rose Establishment is another coffee shop that relies on the Toddy brewer to make its iced coffee, which has been selling well since April, said Cody Kirkland, manager.

"Before then, I was making cold-brew once a week and now I'm doing it two to three times and each batch yields about eight gallons," he said.

The Rose plans to bottle and sell its ice coffee in six-packs to go.

Making cold-brewed iced coffee at home is a simple process if you have a French press, Kirkland said. "My friend does it all the time and it's an easy way to make it." (see recipe.)

To make a cold-brewed coffee concentrate, take light to medium roast coffee beans that have been coarsely ground and combine with water in a French press.

Let the mixture sit overnight.

The next day, after plunging the French press, pour the coffee through a paper filter to catch leftover grounds. Dilute the coffee concentrate with equal parts water.

Cold-brewed iced coffee is a "do-it-yourself" process at Salt Lake City's Coffee Garden.

Alan Hebertson, owner of the popular 9th and 9th coffee shop, doesn't use a brewer or a French press. Instead, he has devised his own method using five-gallon buckets and cheesecloth.

While he sells a lot of iced coffee to customers, Hebertson says he doesn't drink it himself.

"If the nights stay over 50 degrees, I know the days are going to sell a lot of iced coffee. But I don't drink iced coffee," he said. "I drink my hot coffee in the morning and by the afternoon, I'll switch to something else."


Cold-brewed iced coffee

1 1/2 cups water

5 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee (light to medium roasts work best)

Special equipment

French press

paper coffee filter

Stir together coffee and water in a French press, do not plunge.

Allow the mixture to rest at room temperature overnight or at least 12 hours. Strain the coffee by using the plunger on the French press.

Pour the coffee through a paper coffee filter to strain a second time. This will yield about 1 1/2 cups of coffee concentrate. Pour the coffee concentrate into glasses and mix with equal parts water, or to taste.

Serving • 1 1/2 cups concentrate

Source: Cody Kirkland, The Rose Establishment

Cold-brewed coffee shops

Coffee Garden • 878 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City; 801-355-3425

Jack Mormon Coffee • 82 E. St., Salt Lake City; 801-359-2979

Nobrow Coffee Werks • 179 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City; 385-222-7046

Nostalgia Cafe • 248 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City; 801-532-5638

The Rose Establishment • 235 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City; 801-990-6270