Friday, March 31, 2017

Cold Brew Your Tea!

It’s starting to get hotter here in Texas and that means we’re looking for cold alternatives to get our caffeine fix!  Cold brew coffee has become very popular and we have a wonderful blog post on that here.
If you’re curious about cold brewing coffees, we also know a wonderful little company called Stitch + Brew that has their own cold brewing kit for purchase on Etsy as well as reusable filters for coffee and tea.

Did you know that you could also cold brew tea?

The process is very simple.  First, take your tea leaves and put it in your designated amount of water.  Remember that it only takes 1 ounce of our tea leaves to make an entire gallon of ice tea.  Let the tea sit with the water at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Then move the container to the refrigerator and let it sit overnight or for at least eight hours.  Strain the tea leaves from tea and enjoy!  The flavor won’t be as strong as usual but it will still be delicious.
For a stronger flavor, leave the tea brewing for up to 16 hours.  You can also brew the leaves again for another batch of tea.  The end result will be a weaker tea but try adding fruits or fruit flavored syrup to the tea in order to make a refreshing summer mixed drink!
The cold brew method will work with any tea but we recommend you use an old favorite Apricot Peach or any of your personal favorites!
Don’t be afraid to take a look on our site at all the different teas that we have to offer.  Our online store is open day and night and you can call to ask us what flavors are our personal favorites Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 pm EST.

Let us know in the comments what tea you brewed using this method and if you like this over traditional brewed tea!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

An Interview with Ray

Check out this interview that was done in coordination with Love My Cup!  They also ran their own social media campaign and articles about our company and our wonderful fresh roasted coffee.  Is there anything in the interview that you didn't know about?  Let us know in the comments!

Interview with Ray Johnson

Ray Johnson owner of Coffee City USA in Tyler Texas has worked over 29 years in the Specialty coffee industry.  He has learned all aspects of buying green coffee, cupping coffee with industry leaders, roasting coffee finding the sweet spot of every bean.  He also works daily with a 29 year veteran Roast master Victor Hernandez at Coffee City USA roasting all your coffee every day.  It doesn't get any better than that!  Our customers are assured that every bean is roasted to peak flavor.  Every coffee growing region has its own characteristic or taste.  Our responsibility to you is to understand each country.  Acidity, body and balance and bring out the flavors while understanding New Crop, Old Crop, bean size, density to name a few things that create that great cup from each origin.

#1 How long have you trained before becoming a coffee roaster?

 I trained for about 1 year under Victor Hernandez and another year when I fine tuned my skills.  All coffee beans roast differently and you have to understand why to learn what to do for each.

#2  What drew you to this profession in the first place? 

 My best friend owned a coffee company and wanted me to come in and help him.  I learned all aspects of this industry and helped him grow the company.  I had some great mentors that took the time with me to help me get where I am today.  Also I have a good palette and that really helped me differentiate the taste of each country.

#3 What is the most difficult part of your job?   

 I think the hardest part of my job is picking what coffee to brew each morning.  Next would be finding the employees but we are so lucky to have great key employees that have been with us for 18, 17, 10 years and several that have even retired at 12-15 years.  We are truly blessed. Thank you all.

#4  Where do the best beans in the world come from and why?

There are the tried and true great coffees consumed worldwide like Kenya, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Sumatra Mandheling, Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Colombian, Costa Rica, Guatemalan but with some of these countries Micro Farms have been showing up over the past 10 years.  The consensus worldwide was to give back and help the poor farmers with (FT) Fair Trade coffee prices that are fixed higher than c market prices.  With extra income and coffee experts showing information to take care of the soil, stop using pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.  The farmers have learned how to grow organic coffees and take care of the water used in milling coffee.  Within these small farms producing small lots have come some incredible tastes that are in high demand.  With small lots come small amounts of coffee from each farm maybe only 50 to 150 bags (132 lbs. each) for the entire year.  So you might like a farm but the coffee it grows sells out fast.  This is what happens to roasters.  We run out of some of these coffees.  Fair Trade and Organic coffee has been on the move over the past 10 years or more.  Although the growth in popularity, they still make up only a small percentage of all coffees.  This is a small oversight of the Fair Trade and Organic sustainability movement.  There are so many great coffees to be tasted so try them all.  It is a great trip around the world. 

#5  What is the secret to roasting beans perfectly every time?

There are so many factors in roasting coffee perfectly.  The Roaster must know: new crop, old crop, hard bean, higher elevation, soft bean, all beans signs roast at different temperatures.  At what temperature to drop green beans in roaster and as they develop when to turn gas down and when to turn gas off and let beans develop with just heat from roaster.  What to do at first crack and second crack, what the center of the bean tells him and when he knows it is at its peak and to get it out of the roaster and into the cooler and cool the beans down so they stop roasting.  This is a general outline of the roaster's view of things.  In the 17-21 minutes the coffee is in the roaster he checks it 30 to 40 times and mostly in the last 2 minutes.  From his 29 years experience Victor Hernandez finds the sweet spot on every roast.  We are so happy to have him in our family.  Thank you Victor for all the fabulous tasting coffees you have roasted.

#6 How do you know you (as a consumer) bought good quality roasted beans?

I would want to buy coffee from someone that has been involved in the specialty coffee industry for a long time.  They have built relationships with the best green bean buyers in the country and have been mentored by some of the best coffee minds in the world and have a 29 year veteran Roast master in house.  Experience and the love of coffee are quite a marriage.  Remember when buying coffee, don't be afraid to try different coffees, roasts, and blends because your match in that is out there waiting for you to discover. 

#7 What is the secret to making perfect coffee every time?

You will never know how good your coffee really is unless you know how to prepare it properly.  Here's a guide to how to properly make coffee! 

            #1 Buy quality whole bean coffee.

# 2 A good coffee brewer is a must!  Coffee should be brewed about 195 degrees.  Cheap brewers fall short in temperature.  $ 70 plus will solve that problem in most cases. 

#3 If using a home machine - A cone filter is best to have because it extracts the coffee better because the water stays on the coffee longer.

#4 To grind coffee correctly you need a Burr grinder not a blade or spice grinder.  Blade grinders will never grind to coffee the same each time so your coffee will be different every time you brew it.  A Burr Grinder will grind your coffee the same every time because it has a dial to select your grind from fine to course.  The correct grind for drip coffee will feel like sand that is a little coarse.  The grind is very important because too coarse is weak and too fine is harsh for drip coffee.  You can adjust your grinder to your taste.   

#5 The amount of coffee is all over the place for a 12 cup brewer 64 oz.  I would start with 2 oz. at a drip grind and then adjust amount if to weak.  You can also adjust your grinder a little finer to make your coffee stronger.  But too fine will make the coffee harsh or bitter.  Coffee is to your taste so find your sweet spot on grind and amount coffee you use.

# 6 Water, coffee is 97% water, bad water, bad coffee.  Use spring or filtered fresh cold water.  Always grind your coffee just before brewing and you will really make a great cup of coffee every time.

#8 What is your favorite coffee? 

My favorite coffee is from Central America, the country of Guatemala.  There are 2 regions; Antigua and Huehuetenango.  These coffees are well balanced in body and brightens or acidity.  I drink them both on a light roast so I can taste the real flavor of each coffee.  Darker roasts hide or dominate the taste and you only taste the dark roast.

#9  How do you take your coffee?

 I drink my coffee hot and black and mostly light roasts. On a light roast you can taste the differences in each country, on a darker roast it starts to mute the subtle taste of the countries' and not the true characteristics of each region.  But more than 50% drink dark roasts for the heavy taste.  That is why there are so many ways to drink and roast coffee.  It is all to your taste.  You have to experiment and find the coffee and or region and you will know when you do because you will have a big smile on your face. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Explore a New Way to Brew!

Satisfy the coffee nerd inside you with Chemex!

We're introducing a new product that just arrived in our store today!  Say hello to the Chemex coffee maker!

The history behind the Chemex brewer is interesting, to say the least.  It was originally made in the 40's by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm PhD.  That means it's been around for over 70 years without a single design change!  It's made out of glass, which makes coffee that is free from any past brews or build up that can happen in regular coffee brewers over time.  The brewer is so aesthetically pleasing, it's in display at MOMA NY  and at the Corning Museum of Glass.  You can read more about the history of the Chemex on their about page!

This brewer might have a few people scratching their heads on how to use it.  Thankfully, there are plenty of tutorial videos around the web you can use.  Here's our suggestion!  Once you get the process down, you'll be showing off in front of your friends and family like an expert.

If you want to satisfy the coffee nerd inside of you or have a great looking brewer on display at your kitchen that will make sure you get the most out of our coffee at Coffee City USA, come down to the store or call us to get it sent to you ASAP!

We have the 6 cup and the 8 cup classic style brewers in stock, as well as all the filters, cleaning accessories and a few other cool Chemex products for you to look at.  Check out our full selection on our website!

Friday, October 30, 2015

What You Should Know About the Keurig (or Any Single-Serve Machine!)

What kind of coffee maker is sitting in your kitchen right now?

Are single-serve pod-style coffee machines worth the price?
The chances are good that you own a pod-style coffee machine, or at least know somebody who swears by one; these brewers surged into popularity when Keurig Green Mountain first created a home version of its office coffee machine in the early aughts. Other brands followed and the single-server has settled well into the ranks of the many different contraptions available to get your joe on.

The single-server is ubiquitous, it’s trendy and it’s been around far too long to be a mere fad; if you don’t already have a coffee maker (or are tired of your old one) you may very well be considering a pod machine, and here’s what you need to know.

The Good

One of the great things about buying a single-server in 2015 is the selection; do a search for these machines on Amazon and you’ll see a plethora of familiar brands all touting their own version of this appliance: Hamilton Beach, Capresso, Kitchen Selectives, Black & Decker, Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, KitchenAid and, of course, Keurig. Most of these brands offer multiple styles of machines with a variety of colors, pricing and doo-dads.

Your purchase will depend on your priorities: is budget your primary concern, or the amount of space you have left in your cabinet? Or are you truly in it for a good cup of coffee?

If taste is your main concern I recommend you revisit our blog on coffee makers and maybe go in another direction; but if you really want a single-serve machine and still want it to taste good treat these babies the way you would any other drip coffee brewer: find out how hot the water gets (between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal) then find a consumer review confirming that yes, it actually does get as hot as the manufacturer claims, and you’re off to a good start.

The other positive quality that most consumers assign to a single-server is convenience; we’re all busy (especially first thing in the morning!) so wanting something quick-and-easy is understandable. But unless every member of your family is determined to have a completely different flavor of coffee from everybody else, a single-server is no more convenient than a standard auto drip coffee maker—something has to be loaded, a button has to be pushed, and something has to be taken out when it’s done.

The Bad

As we are a coffee roaster and our focus is always on coffee tasting really, really good, single-servers make us frown a little—or more specifically, the things that go inside single-servers: the pods.

Nothing saddens your beans like grinding them long before they’re intended to be used—and then processing them, and shipping them, and setting them on a shelf, and then sending them home with somebody in a big set of many little pods to sit even longer until someone finally notices that last Hazelnut Cream in the dark corner of the pantry.

Freshness is essential to really good coffee, but it’s hard to get without grinding your own. If you’re still holding out for good-tasting coffee from a single-server then, yes, you can have it all—with a reusable filter. These tiny cup-like pods come with everything but the coffee itself, allowing you to use whatever kind of beans you want, as much as you want, ground whenever you want at the size you want.

We’re partial to the Melitta JavaJig (which uses its own itsy bitsy paper filters so you’re not tasting yesterday’s coffee in today’s cup). They’re not difficult to use, but if you’re feeling uncertain check out all the reviews on YouTube.

But if flat coffee isn’t a “bad” for you, how about a flatter wallet? A recent article in The Atlantic estimates that a pound of coffee in K-Cups (Keurig-brand pods) costs $40 per pound. That’s quite the price for something as intertwined with our everyday lives as coffee. (Amusingly, the same article quotes the inventor of the K-Cup as saying he doesn’t own a Keurig because they’re “kind of expensive to use.”)

The Ugly

The National Coffee Association took a poll in January of this year to find how how everyone is brewin’, and while the classic auto drip is still winning with over 50% of Americans single-servers are a strong second with 27% of poll respondents—and pod machine sales are still on the rise. Keurig, the grandfather of the single-serve movement, sold over 9 billion pods in 2014, none of which were recyclable unless their purchaser was willing to pull them apart into their paper, plastic and metal components—you’re not busy, right?

Coffee pod packaging waste is a major and very ugly environmental concern, and it’s certainly no secret (if you haven’t seen the awareness-raising “Kill the K Cup” video yet you’re in for a weird treat.) While companies like Keurig are scrambling to address the problem your most currently conscientious option is to go the reusable filter route, and dump your spent grounds in the garden.

Single-serve coffee brewers would like to be your one-stop kitchen coffee machine; but the variety and convenience they offer come at the sacrifice of taste, your pocketbook and the environment. Thankfully—with a little adjustment—you can drink great coffee without killing your wallet (or your world!) and still reap the benefits of these modern coffee makers.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Time for Tea!

There’s a special kind of person that comes into our store, sometimes—the kind of person who marches past all those jars of coffee beans with hardly a second glance, and goes right for the tea.

Enjoy a brief history of tea and learn the temperature and steep times for each variety!
We really can’t blame them. Tea is a very ancient, very special beverage, often ascribed with near-mystical health benefits and wrapped up in its own mythologies and traditions. It’s equally at home in a small, warm cup or a tall, cold glass; it can be flavored or sweetened or left alone to let its true taste shine through. And not all teas are created equal!

So, just for today, we’ll set aside our obsession with the coffee bean and show a little love to the other side of Coffee City USA—the tea side.

A Brief History of Tea

The first cup of tea was brewed in China, most likely as a medicinal beverage (there’s a fun legend about dried tea leaves accidentally landing in a cup of boiling water served to a Chinese emperor around 2700 B.C.) and in the 1500s traveled west in the hands of Portuguese merchants and priests.

In the following century tea became fashionable among the British, who started growing it in earnest in India (and haven’t shut up about it since), and tea is now—besides plain ol’ water, of course— the most-consumed drink in the entire world.

What Exactly is Tea?

In simple terms tea is a beverage made by pouring hot water over the cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant; the way these leaves are processed after harvesting yields the various teas we all know and love.

  • Black tea is the most processed; the tea leaves start out green but are left in the sun to wilt, then go through a fermentation process that turns them the familiar black. They are then dried and packaged and ready for flavoring, if desired. (Most of our 60+ flavored teas are black teas that we’ve flavored to order.)
  • Darjeeling tea comes from a specific province of India (the Darjeeling Province, believe it or not!) and is well-known to be a delicately flavorful and high-quality tea. The climate and soil of this province is responsible for this flavor and Darjeeling’s lovely bouquet—you can’t grow it anywhere else and get the same tea (sort of like true Champagne coming only from that one place in France.)
  • Ceylon tea is grown in multiple districts in Sri Lanka—its flavor varies from light and flavorful from being grown at higher altitudes to fuller-bodied the closer you get to sea level. (Try our English Breakfast for a nice blend of Ceylon and Indian teas!)
  • Oolong tea is processed similarly to Black tea in that it goes through a withering stage, although the fermentation process is cut short (and when this is done determines if your Oolong leaves look dark green or black.) Oolong is full-bodied and the tea you’ll probably be served in a Chinese restaurant.
  • Green tea is unfermented during processing; it is either steamed or pan-fired and, while not completely decaffeinated, does have less caffeine than a Black. Green teas are rolled into different shapes (such as the fine strands of a Japanese Sencha or the roundish pellets of a Gunpowder) and contain antioxidants and polyphenols; the health benefits of Green teas are often touted—they might improve your cholesterol levels and low blood pressure or even aid in preventing certain cancers, although the research is currently inconclusive.
  • Scented teas have been around since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); these teas may use a Black, Green or Oolong as a base and have a strong, blended bouquet of rose, lychee, osmanthus or jasmine (the most popular.) They are traditionally drunk with bold-tasting foods to balance out their powerful aroma.
  • Herbal teas are not really teas at all—remember, all true tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant—but are steeped and enjoyed in much the same way. Herbal teas are made from herbs, roots, fruits, seeds and other naturally-decaffeinated botanicals; we carry a few popular varieties such as Raspberry Hibiscus and Chamomile.

What About Tea Bags?

You may have noticed that we don’t carry a whole lot of tea bags—the jars in our store are full of loose leaves that we measure out by the pound and send home in a brown paper bag. Loose-leaf teas are a mark of higher quality; tea bags usually have some tea “dust” and other small pieces, and may lack the full and subtle flavor that you get from a good loose-leaf (although they make up for this is convenience!)

Using loose-leaf teas isn’t much different from using bags; you can put the leaves directly into your teapot and fish them out when done, or hold them together with an infuser (a plain spring-handled one works great, but we also carry something a little more fun!)

Let’s Make Some Tea!

The last step before you can enjoy a good tea is, of course, the steep. Measure out 1 teaspoon of leaves for every 5-7 ounces of water (you might want to use more for the larger-leaf varieties such as Greens and Oolongs).

Heat your (preferably filtered) water in a kettle and transfer to a teapot for steeping. Add your tea and look over the chart below—the two main variables to control here are water temperature and the steeping time itself, although you’ll notice that the guidelines below aren’t terribly precise. Personal taste trumps all, and if your tea comes out a little weak for your tastes use more leaves next time, rather than increasing the steep time.

TeaWater temperatureSteeping time
Black Boiling (or just under) 3-5 minutes
Darjeeling Around 175° 3-4 minutes
Oolong Around 195° 2-4 minutes
Green Around 175° 2-3 minutes
Herbal Boiling (or just under) 6-7 minutes

Prefer convenience over control? You can also brew tea in your drip-style coffee brewer (use two paper filters and run the water through twice—you may also want to use a separate filter basket so as to not risk making coffee-flavored tea!) For iced tea use 1 ounce of leaves per gallon—steep in the usual way, then add to a pitcher of water and put it in the fridge.

Tea is a fascinating and delicious part of the history of the world. The next time you want something warm or comforting to sip on—or cold and refreshing to gulp—keep this ancient tradition going and brew up a little tea.

Friday, July 31, 2015

What in the World Does Your Coffee Taste Like?

I’ve written about a few different ways to affect your coffee’s taste—the grind, the brewing temperature, proper storage and your preferred method of extraction—but before your coffee ever makes it to your kitchen it has to be grown somewhere in a particular soil in a particular climate, and processed in whatever way happens to suit the grower of those particular beans.

Coffee beans from around the globe have their own unique flavors and characteristics.
Because of this coffees from different parts of the world have identifiable characteristics, and if you know what these are you’ll have an easier time knowing what you like, and—when you feel like trying something new—what you’ll probably like.

Learning a few key terms will help guide you through the world of coffee (and make it easier to communicate what you’d like to try):

  • Aftertaste. The flavors you still taste after swallowing your coffee; also referred to as the finish.
  • Acidity (or brightness). A frequently misunderstood term, acidity in coffee does not refer to acid or pH (coffee is only slightly acidic with a pH of around 5 or 6), but to a bright and tangy flavor characteristic—think wine! Not to be confused with bitter or sour, which are terms for the really nasty flavors that show up when you over or under extract while brewing.
  • Body. The mouthfeel of a coffee; its texture. A full-bodied coffee will feel creamy and substantial; medium-bodied will feel thinner and light-bodied coffee will feel closer to water.
  • Clean. Flavorful but without any sharp, stand-out notes.
  • Earthy. The flavor equivalent of the fresh smell of wet soil.
  • Smooth. A smooth coffee is a balanced coffee and a good choice for beginners as it has no overly-pungent tastes or aftertastes.

There’s another thing to keep in mind before you embark on your international adventure: the darker the roast, the less of these unique coffee characteristics you’re going to be able to taste—the strong roasty, toasty flavor will cover most of them right up, so for the full experience stick with a light American roast (or, for coffees from the Asia/Pacific region, a darker Viennese roast.)

The same goes for using cream and sugar or anything similar; it may taste great, but it will disguise the flavors unique to each growing region.

The Americas

Mexico. Grown in the southernmost state of Mexico, Mexican Chiapas coffee beans are smooth, nutty, slightly sweet and have a hint of chocolate (think “unsweetened cocoa powder” rather than “Hershey bar”). They are light to medium in body with a brisk acidity reminiscent of white wine, and comparable in flavor to gourmet beans grown in neighboring Guatemala.

Central America. These coffees are smooth, fragrant, nutty and in general have a medium acidity. There are some variations between countries, though.

  • Costa Rican. A full-bodied, nearly-perfect balance of brightness, flavor and aroma.
  • Guatemalan Antigua. One of the finest of the Guatemalan coffees; less full in body but more complex in flavor with notes of cocoa and spice; very well-balanced. This coffee is a personal darling of the owners of Coffee City USA as they can “meet in the middle” between Ray’s favorite (Kenyan) and Sandy’s favorite (Sumatran).
  • El Salvadorian Buena Vista. A rainforest coffee competent in flavor, with medium body and a gentle acidity.
  • Panamanian. Bright, clean and flavorful without being pungent; subtle enough for blends but also makes a good cup by itself.
  • Nicaraguan High Grown. Light-bodied with mild acidity and mellow notes of fruit and chocolate.

South America. Expect your South American beans to be well-balanced and mild.

  • Brazilian Santos. Medium-bodied with low acidity; nutty and chocolatey with sweet-to-bittersweet flavor. Brazil produces ⅓ of all the world’s coffee—a lot of that is lower grade coffee, but the premium beans are very good.
  • Colombian Supremo. Supremo is medium-bodied and famously smooth, with mellow acidity and sweet notes of caramel and some nuttiness; an old friend to many North American coffee drinkers (and one of our best sellers!)

Hawaii. Hawaiian Kona coffee (named for the Kona region of the Big Island where it is exclusively grown) has a large bean size and a hefty price tag. Kona beans are mellow, full-bodied, well-balanced and clean, with a hint of chocolate and a sweet aroma. For the true, regional taste be sure to purchase 100% Kona beans; for a similar flavor that’s easier on the pocketbook try our Kona 50/50 Blend.


The African Continent

Africa. Most African coffees can be described as sharp and assertive, their flavors strong and clean with a real brightness and a tantalizingly fruity aroma.

  • Ethiopian (Harrar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe). Ethiopian javas are complex with a wine-like quality; Harrar is intensely bright with a heady aroma; Sidamo is milder in acidity and full-bodied; Yirgacheffe has a sweet flavor and a complex floral aroma and is bright and lively in the cup.
  • Kenyan AA. One of the world’s finest premium coffees and a favorite of connoisseurs, Kenyan AA beans are complex, full-bodied and boldly rich with a pleasant, wine-like acidity and a fruity aftertaste.
  • Tanzanian Peaberry. These unusual beans are smaller than average (hence the “peaberry” name) with rich flavor, medium body and a bright and snappy acidity; a nice representative of African coffees in general.
  • Zimbabwean. This coffee is well-balanced and medium-bodied with an intense aroma and a fruity (or citrusy) acidity; rich with flavor (and similar to Kenya AA beans) with a fine aftertaste. 


    Indonesia. Due to the climate and processing methods used in this part of the world Indonesian coffees can taste almost savory or like very dark cocoa; they have a noticeably substantial earthiness to them and do well on a darker roast. While this sets them apart from most other coffee-growing regions their unusual taste can be polarizing—you might hate Indonesian coffee, but you might also really, really like it.

    Indian Malabar. Similar to Indonesian coffees—low in acidity, very smooth and clean and full-bodied with a pleasantly earthy taste.

    An Overview

    Feeling overwhelmed? You can generalize very broad regions of the world and get an okay idea of what to expect: coffees from the Americas and Africa are usually fruity, bright and floral with light to medium body, and the former is more likely to grow coffees with notes of chocolate, nuts and spice. That just leaves the Asia/Pacific region coffees—these tend to be full-bodied and much less bright, and those rich, earthy flavors reign supreme.

    Coffee is as varied as any other local cuisine, but with a little practice and exploration you can pinpoint exactly where your perfect cup of coffee is grown.

    Thursday, July 2, 2015

    Iced Coffee is Easy!

    Iced coffee is one of my all-time favorite drinks: it’s refreshing, it’s caffeinated, it’s both coffee and cold as hell. You can sweeten it with caramel or chocolate or a dozen other tasty flavors, you can drink it straight black or saturate it with milk and a dollop of whipped cream.

    There’s a good chance you already know all this—iced coffee has been surging in popularity over the
    last few years and you can find it at all your favorite coffee shops and a lot of your favorite
    restaurants, too. But what you might not know is just how easy it is to make at home.

    Iced coffee is easier to make than you think!
    The best-tasting iced coffee is made with the cold brew method. Of the many, many ways to brew coffee it’s probably the most unusual (there’s no heat or special timing involved) but it’s also one of the easiest. And if you’ve ever thought that all coffee in general was a little too acidic then you’re gonna love cold brewing (more on that later.)

    Here’s the process in 4 easy steps:

    • Grind up a pound or so of your favorite coffee (a very coarse grind, please.) Just about any coffee will work; I personally prefer one of our chocolate-based flavored coffees such as Caramel Mudslide or S’mores (they’re flavorful enough that I don’t add any other sweeteners.)
    • Put the grinds and about 7 cups of water in a Toddy cold brewer. These fantastic devices come with detailed instructions on the best way to do this, but it basically comes down to layering the grinds and the water gently (no sloshing or stirring) so as to not clog the drainage hole.
    • Put the Toddy cold brewer in the fridge overnight. Or leave it out on the counter, covered or not—the manufacturer says this is just fine (although I personally won’t be trying that after the Iced Tea Incident of ’06.)
    • Drain all that delicious coffee concentrate into the included carafe and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Whenever you’re overcome by an iced coffee urge pour the extract over ice and dilute it with water, milk or cream, and add anything else that sounds good (like caramel or peanut butter syrup, mmm!)

    So it’s easy, but why else should you use the cold brewing method?

    • Less acidity, less caffeine, more taste! Cold brewing extracts all those good flavors from the grounds but leaves a lot of the acids—including some of the caffeine—behind. If regular coffee gives you you heartburn or the jitters (or if you simply don’t care for the acidic taste) the Toddy could be your new best friend. Cold-brew coffee is smooth, and really highlights subtle flavors in the bean.
    • More strength, less waste. Six cups of Toddy concentrate can typically make 32 (6-oz) cups of coffee. If comparing this to your normal coffee consumption keep the waste factor in mind. Most people don’t drink a full, brewed pot of coffee; they drink what they need at that moment and throw the rest out. Since cold-brewed coffee keeps so well you can drink what you like today and save the rest for later.
    • Speed! After the initial brewing Toddy coffee is ready to go at a moment’s notice; you can have your morning coffee just as fast as you can pour it out. Depending on the thirst level of your household you may only have to make coffee twice a month.

    With cold brewing you’re not limited to iced coffee: try blending the concentrate with ice cream for a frappe or mixing in frothed milk for a home-style cappuccino or even adding it to brownies and cheesecakes. The Toddy manufacturer has a whole book of recipes that cover everything from cream sodas to desserts—you can even cold brew tea!

    Pick up a Toddy today to impress your friends and your buds (your taste buds, that is) with your slick iced-coffee-making skills. It’s cheaper than getting a pool, and so easy and delicious you’ll wonder how you ever survived a summer without it.