Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seattle Method Cold-Brew Iced Coffee

We don't have a lot of reason to drink iced coffee here in Seattle. Today in mid-July we're lucky to hit 70 degrees! But on those few odd days when it actually does get warm here (say 80 or so) we like to switch from hot coffee to a substantial glass of really good iced coffee. There's more to iced coffee than just pouring brewed coffee over ice. All you get is a glass of lukewarm diluted coffee. See our earlier blog post for various iced coffee methods we like. Most are easy, and some are even quick.

Over the years here in Seattle we have developed our own cold-brew iced coffee method, which we have given the innovative name Seattle Method Cold-Brew Iced Coffee! This method is simple, although not quick. Try it out, and we guarantee you'll experience the smoothest and creamiest coffee drink you'll ever make yourself!

Coffee, iced or hot, has two primary ingredients: Coffee and Water. Use low quality coffee or poor water and you will invariably end up with undrinkable coffee. We recommend you start with with 100% Arabica coffee beans, such as the Triple Certified Organic, Shade Grown, Fair Trade coffee we offer online under our own label at

Additionally, unless you live somewhere like Seattle or Anchorage with exceptionally fine tap water, use filtered water. Remember, coffee is ninety percent water!

We use a twelve (12) ounce Bodum press (also known as a French Press) for making our Seattle Method Cold-Brew Coffee. Perfect for one or two people. To serve more people, or for making a larger supply of iced coffee, just use a bigger pot. Be sure to adjust the amount of ground coffee accordingly. If you don't have a Bodum press, any kind of glass container will do. You will just need to use filters to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds.

We use whole bean coffee, which we prefer to grind ourselves. Whole beans store longer than ground. Much longer! Grind the coffee coarse for a Bodum pot. If you use a filter system, grind medium-coarse. We recommend four (4) ounces of coffee per each twelve ounces of water.

But the grounds in the Bodum press, or other glass container. Add water. Simple. Then just wait. At least eight (8) hours. We generally prepare the coffee just before bed, and let it sit overnight on the kitchen counter. No need to refrigerate. It's not going to spoil. Plus, the ice will cool it off! Be sure to energetically stir the coffee into the water, or you'll just have a clump of wet coffee grounds sitting on the top of the pot in the morning! If you're using a Bodum press, leave the plunger off the press for the night.

In the morning, you'll find a thick crust of coffee grounds on top of the pot which you can almost cut with a knife. Once again, energetically stir the pot. You will magically see an eye pleasing and mouth watering Crema develop on the top of the pot, just as if you were pulling a shot of espresso. Be sure to thank the heavens. This is where the flavor of the coffee resides!

Now place the cover on the Bodum pot and push the plunger down as far as it will go. Or if you're using some other glass container, filter the coffee to separate the grounds.

You will end up with the equivalent of four shots of espresso. Only with twice the caffeine. A little known fact regarding espresso coffee: the steam extraction method utilized by the espresso machine only captures about half the caffeine in a regular cup of joe! Four shots of coffee; enough for a couple of glasses of iced coffee (unless you like it really, really strong). And about the grounds. Don't just throw the coffee grounds in the trash. Coffee grounds are one of the best sources of nitrogen for plants that there is. Dig the grounds into your garden and flower beds, Best fertilizer that you don't have to pay for (since you already paid for it)! And that's another reason to use organic coffee.

You can serve the coffee either hot or iced. If hot, just add the desired amount of water. If iced, just add ice! No need to add extra water. Unless you like whimpy coffee.

Add the coffee!

Top it off with the flavoring of your choice! You can use syrups or milk. We're partial to organic soy milk.

Kick back. And enjoy!
Let us know if this isn't the finest iced coffee you've ever tried.


Jay Bailey said...

Tried it today. There's no question that it was some of the smoothest, most worthwhile coffee I've ever made. The only problem is that using 4 oz. means you can do it just three times from a 12 oz bag of beans (I usually only buy that size so it's open for less time and thus fresher). So at about $1/oz, it's still a fraction of Starbuck's, but pretty expensive. Right?

The Zen Parrot said...

Hi Jay! Thanks for your input. Yes, I agree that it's not cheap, relatively speaking, especially if you're using a high quality Arabica coffee. But one thing to consider. It's not 4 ounces of beans: It's 4 ounces of ground coffee. That's usually a much smaller volume of beans (Just a rough guess: 2 ounces of beans = 4 ounces of ground coffee). Guess I need to measure that out accurately just so I know for sure.