Cold Brew & Iced Coffee

Put It On Ice!

Take the edge off hot Summer days with a frosty glass of refreshing, invigorating cold brewed or iced coffee. No matter how you prepare and serve it, from simply black to all dressed up with your favorite creamer, sweeteners or flavorings, there are two home brewing techniques you should know about - cold brew and hot brewed Japanese-style iced coffee. Both styles work just fine with any bean you choose, but they each produce distinctly different tasting cups of coffee.

What's the difference? First, cold brewing takes a lot of time - 12 to 15 hours at room temperature and as much as 24 hours if you steep it in the refrigerator. On the other hand, hot brewing over ice is ready to drink right away.

Cold brewing produces a concentrate that is smooth, sweet, very high in caffeine, low in acid and not at all bitter. Because you don't use hot water to efficiently extract all of coffee's many flavor components, particularly those in more lightly roasted coffees, we find cold brewing emphasizes a coffee's more chocolatey side. That lends itself to brewing beans roasted to medium and darker levels.

In contrast, hot brewing over ice captures the fruit, floral and other flavor notes that can be found in hot coffee. As a result, it's our go-to technique for icing more lightly roasted beans. Of course you can use any coffee to make a tasty cup using either style so it's all a matter of finding out which you enjoy most.

Finally, freeze up some coffee cubes. Make a pot of brewed coffee a bit stronger than you usually make, allow it to cool, fill a tray or two and freeze. Add a couple cubes to your glass and you won't have to cope with watery iced coffee. 

Make Windward's Killer Cold Brew Concentrate

First, decide how much to make. This recipe calls for a French Press and a four-to-one ratio of water to coffee. It makes a bit more than 300ml (about 10 ounces) of coffee concentrate, enough to make as much as 40 drinkable ounces of coffee. Make cold brew coffee with a French press and Windward CoffeeThe good news is this recipe scales easily and works whether you're making a few cups or gallons at a time. Just be certain your containers are large enough to handle the amount you're making.

Stuff You'll Need: Windward Coffee, cold water (ideally filtered or spring water), a French Press or other container to brew in, a scale or measuring cups, a grinder or course pre-ground coffee, paper filters, a strainer and another container to store the finished concentrate.

  1. Start with a 4:1 ratio of filtered or spring water to ground coffee. This makes a strong concentrate with a high level of caffeine. When it's ready to drink you'll need to dilute it with dairy and/or cold water.
  2. For this recipe we suggest using 600g of water and 150g of fresh ground coffee. If you don't have a scale, use 1/4 cup of coffee for every full cup of water. To make a gallon of concentrate use a full pound of coffee
  3. Grind on the course side, similar to French press
  4. Place the grounds in the press, add water and stir to saturate the grinds. Place and press the plunger down just enough to submerge the grinds. Set aside to brew and go live your life.
  5. Come back 12 to 18 hours later (24 if you're brewing in the refrigerator). Slowly push the plunger down.
  6. For a cleaner, clearer beverage, capture any crunchy bits that escaped the press and run the concentrate through a rinsed paper coffee filter fitted to a spare brew basket or strainer. Transfer the wet grinds to the filter and allow the last of the concentrate to filter through. Be patient - cold brew takes a while.
  7. Pour a small amount of concentrate into a glass filled with ice, dilute with water and/or dairy to taste and add any other flavorings your heart desires. Try cutting it with three to five parts liquid to one part concentrate and adjust to your taste from there. The concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for as long as two weeks.

If you're making a lot of cold brew choose a tight sealing container that's large enough to handle the task, pours smoothly and is easy to clean. It doesn't have to be fancy - we repurposed a plastic tub that once held snacks and it works perfectly.

Make Hot Brewed Iced Coffee

This approach, also called Japanese style, is the way to go if your taste buds are pining for a chilly bracer with most all of your favorite coffee's flavors intact. It's more involved to make but as a reward it can be served right away.

Hot brewed Japanese style iced coffee recipe from Windward Coffee

This auto drip recipe makes a 40-ounce pot of iced coffee.

Stuff You'll Need: Windward coffee, ice, a scale, paper filter and an auto drip coffee maker. We like the Bonavita 1800 for it's ability to maintain proper brewing temperature and a showerhead that evenly wets the grinds in the brew basket. Of course you can use whatever machine you happen to have at hand.

  1. Fold the seams of a #4 paper filter so it fits snugly in the brew basket. Rinse the filter with clear, cool water and drain (It's iced coffee folks so no need to rinse with hot water).
  2. Add 950 grams of water to your brewer. Carefully place 350 grams of ice in the pot you're brewing into. Be very cautious when adding ice to a glass-lined carafe - they break easily!
  3. Grind 70 grams of coffee to medium-fine, just slightly finer than you would for a regular pot of hot coffee. Place it in the brew basket, shake to level it off and put it in the machine to brew.
  4. Hint If your brewer doesn't do it automatically, allow the machine to add just enough hot water to saturate the grinds and flip the switch to OFF. Wait 30- to 45-seconds to let the coffee "bloom" and then turn the brew switch back ON. Now just stand by for all the icy goodness to unfold before you.
  5. When the brew cycle finishes, fill glasses with fresh ice and pour away. Add any and all dairy, sweeteners and flavorings you want and let the ooohs and ahhs begin.

    Cool down with cold brew and iced coffee made with fresh roasted Windward coffee.