Gear for making cold-brew coffee
Supplies for keeping your cool (and buzz) all summer long.
Iced coffee is super easy to make, and yet it’s twice as expensive at your local deli. Don’t spend the summer choosing between sweating bullets and forking over your hard-earned cash. With a bit of gear and a bit of prep, you could be sitting back with a glass of cold brew that’s way more sophisticated and satisfying than your grab-n-go variety.
The first step: grind your beans. For cold brew, you want a coarse grind. The grind should be no finer than the texture of coarse sea salt. It will make the filtration process easier and your coffee taste less bitter. Sure, you could go to a store and have beans ground, but it seriously does taste fresher if you do it immediately prior to brewing. Plus, it’s great for experimenting with your own blends of multiple roasts. A burr grinder uses two revolving surfaces to crush your beans into equal size grinds and it will let you grind for any kind of brewing. The Baratza Encore has 40mm burrs, 40 different coarseness settings, and a form that contains the grinds so there’s very little mess.
After you grind your beans, you need a place to let the coffee brew. You can use a pitcher and a cheesecloth, but if you want to really optimize, you can spring for a Toddy cold brew maker. The Toddy requires 12 ounces of grinds and seven cups of water. Coarse-grind your beans and let them sit in the toddy overnight. That’s it. On the bottom of the Toddy there is a filter and a stopper that keeps the coffee in the container. After you leave the pitcher sitting on the counter for 12-24 hours, pull the plug and let the coffee concentrate flow into the glass decanter. Since this is a coffee concentrate, mix in a ratio of one parts coffee and two or three parts water or milk—I prefer water.
Brewing coffee is brewing coffee. Doesn’t matter if it’s a piping hot cup or a batch of cold brew. Precise ratios can be the difference between a smooth beverage and a bitter, undrinkable cup. The Hario scale is my go to ever since working in a coffee shop during college. It is a no-frills, seamless way to track the weight of your coffee and water.
Jangling ice cubes in a cold coffee is a gift sent straight from the caffeine heavens. Yes, you can use regular old H2O, but have you considered using frozen coffee for your iced coffee?
If you think your cold coffee gets too watery with regular ice cubes, try freezing some coffee concentrate to add an extra punch of caffeine. While you’re at it, why not freeze them in the shape of giant coffee beans?
Spiked iced coffee is a great party cocktail. It keeps you energized, masks the taste of cheap whiskey, and is easy to make in large batches. If that’s something you and your friends would be into, grab a glass one-gallon cold brewing system, grind your beans, and get brewing. This one comes with a stainless steel tap to dispense the liquid. It holds about 16 cups of coffee, and comes with a mesh filter to brew inside the container.
Bodum 15-ounce, double-walled glasses are awesome for iced coffee. The double wall prevents condensation and holds cold longer. These are dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
Grab a reusable straw and be less wasteful. These stainless steel straws are between seven and eight inches long.
If you aren’t a fan of stainless steel straws, there’s another reusable, eco-friendly option: bamboo. This set of eight straws also comes with a cleaning brush and carrying case.
The Zoku iced coffee maker chills your coffee within minutes of pouring it into the travel mug. Leave the stainless steel mug in the freezer overnight, brew your coffee like you normally would, and then pour the hot coffee into the pre-chilled container. It holds 11 ounces, comes with a protective sleeve, and has a spill-resistant lid. There are four colors to choose from.
Prefer your iced coffee on the go? This 24-ounce tumbler is 10.5 inches tall and will keep your iced coffee—or hot coffee, honestly—at the desired temperature for longer. It comes with a lid and straw.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you don’t have places to be. If your cycling around the city all day, you’ll need your cold brew with you. This coffee cup holder fits on 26mm bars and is made of aluminum.