Weekend cooking – Cold-brewed iced coffee (video)

Jojo and I both love iced coffee in the summer. It’s just one of those things that we prepare when we’re on vacation that reminds us again that we’re on vacation. (Breathing fresh air is another easy sign that we’re out of town, but that’s another discussion.)


It also reminds us of traveling in southeast Asia, where we often enjoyed delicious iced coffee with condensed milk. One backpacker hangout also had iced coffee with condensed milk and a banana that was blended in, which was much better than I initially imagined. To the left is a “Toddy” cold-brew device on Amazon that seems to have high ratings – AMERICAblog will get a portion of the sale.

The difference with those iced coffees as well as my traditional method (pouring hot coffee over ice) is that this method uses no heat. It takes time – a lot of time – but in theory it should be a superior product for iced coffee. Since I try to avoid the heat as much as possible in the summer, this is high on my list for August.

PS AMERICAblog reader George P. directed us to this NYT article from 2007 that talks more about New Orleans iced coffee, and provides a recipe that doesn’t require a “real” Toddy device.  Though I still worry about the filtering, and whether the filter will immediately get clogged if you use a regular fine-mesh metal strainer.

New Orleans Cold Drip Coffee

Adapted from Blue Bottle Coffee company

Makes 8 cups coffee concentrate

1 pound dark roast coffee and chicory, medium ground

10 cups cold water



1. Put coffee in a nonreactive container, like a stainless-steel stockpot. Add 2 cups water, stirring gently to wet the grounds, then add remaining 8 cups water, agitating the grounds as little as possible. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 12 hours.

2. Strain coffee concentrate through a medium sieve, then again through a fine-mesh sieve.

3. To make iced coffee, fill a glass with ice, add ¼ cup coffee concentrate and 3/4 to 1 cup milk, then stir. To make café au lait, warm 3/4 to 1 cup milk in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into a mug and add ¼ cup coffee concentrate. (Concentrate will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.)

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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10 Responses to “Weekend cooking – Cold-brewed iced coffee (video)”

  1. JamieF says:

    I’ve been making this since it got hot. I add 1/2 cup ground coffee to my French Press, fill it the rest of the way up with cold, filtered water. Stir until all the grounds are wet, then leave it on the counter overnight. In the morning, I push the press down and pour the coffee through a coffee filter in a strainer (to get out the sediment). Pour over ice until the glass is half full, then fill the rest of the way with liquid creamer and more filtered water. It’s super easy and tastier than just cooling down hot-brewed coffee (it’s less bitter and acidic for some reason).

  2. Roman Berry says:

    You absolutely can. All you need is a clean glass jar (or any other glass or stainless or otherwise non-reactive container of suitable size) along with your water and ground coffee. When ready, you can line your strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth (or a coffee filter or other filter paper — even a plain white paper towel will work in a pinch) and just pour through into your storage container. That’s the way I’ve done it for years.

  3. SamuelHull says:

    I’m thinking with some simple math I can figure out the proportions to use a French press. I’ve also been telling myself this all summer since our local farmers market season started.

  4. karmanot says:


  5. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Has anyone tried adding a little Kahlua?

  6. I’ve never tried it. I’d be curious to see if you can brew it without the Toddy device, without making a mess using a fine-mesh metal strainer.

  7. Ooh that’s a neat idea.

  8. Roman Berry says:

    Next step to the perfect iced coffee? Use frozen coffee ice cubes instead of just plain ice. Plain ice dilutes the coffee as it melts.

    No need to use your cold brewed coffee to make the coffee ice. Just every time you make a pot of coffee (drip or press pot). take what is left (as long as it is still fresh and hasn’t been left to “cook” on a warming plate until yuck), cool, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. Store cubes in a bag and use as needed.

  9. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Now I want iced coffee. I’ll try that method, but right now I’m heading out to Starbucks or Caribou.

  10. Bookbinder says:

    Have been drinking cold brewed coffee all summer. It’s not just eco, it’s better, somehow not bitter when you don’t boil out the nastiest oils from the beans.

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