Get Your Chill On

The refreshing chill of iced coffee is well-documented. Some have even suggested we’re approaching an iced coffee tipping point. To that I say, “Balderdash!” Iced coffee is here to stay. Especially at TransAtlantic Towers where it absolutely central to my morning routine.


The iced coffee I drink most often is from the pitcher I keep chilling in the fridge at home. This is the coffee brewed by our usual grind and brew machine that has been left to cool and then is poured into a fridge friendly container and chilled. What could be easier? After all, we’re making coffee anyway; ModParlPhotos needs his coffee in the AM as well, though his preference is for a steaming cup of joe.  No coffee goes to waste because I can just add it to the existing supply.

But sometimes, usually in the hottest part of the summer, the mood comes upon me and I will make some cold-brew. Cold brew is an infusion method – where coarsely ground coffee is left to brew slowly in cold water overnight. Because no hot water is involved the resulting coffee is smooth, low-acid, and generally less bitter than more conventionally made coffee.

Coffee shops, cafes and restaurants who have hopped on the iced coffee train generally use cold brew but if they don’t have a lot of call for it, they might make it by pouring hot coffee over ice cubes. This is less than optimal since that, more often than not, results in lukewarm watery coffee.

Determining the right ratio of coffee to water is a matter of experimentation – much depends on the coffee you use and how strong you like your brew. But a good starting place is the proportions from the 2007 New York Times recipe that seems to have started the iced coffee craze we are now immersed in.

  1. In a jar, stir together 1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind) and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.
  2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth.
  3. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.


Keep It Strong: Keep your iced coffee from getting watered down – using coffee ice cubes. Also, go with a darker roast, even if dark roast is not what you use when you make hot coffee. If you avoid dark roast because you associate it with more bitterness and acidity, worry not and cold brew. The very nature of cold brew means less of both from the get go. Also, cold dulls flavours and – let’s face it – ice melts and dilutes (hence the coffee ice cube suggestion, as well.)

Boost the Flavours: You can make flavoured coffee cubes by making fresh coffee and mixing in flavours while it’s hot. Chocolate mix, sweetened condensed milk, caramel … it’s a great way to turn conventionally brewed coffee into a flavourful, icy treat. You can also add flavour up front while cold brewing by sprinkling in some cinnamon, nutmeg or similar (a teaspoon or so for each cup of beans) to the ground coffee before adding the water.

Stay Sweet: if you want to sweeten your coffee, I would suggest using a sugar syrup when prepping your drink rather than sweetening the whole pitcher. And by sugar syrup, I don’t mean anything fancy. I simply mean dissolving sugar into an equal amount of simmering water (takes only just a few minutes) and then bottling it & sticking it in the fridge. Should keep in a glass container in the fridge for a month.

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