Chill Out: How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

For many of us, homemade iced coffee just means taking adding lots of ice to hot coffee. Problems abound with that method, most glaringly, the fact that you’re almost guaranteed to have a super watered-down drink in mere seconds. That all changes when you learn the true secret of how to make iced coffee at home – doing it with cold-brewed coffee.

It takes a little forethought, but it’s worth it in the end.

Here’s the drill: Before you go to bed, combine 2 ½ quarts water with 5 ounces ground coffee in a large pitcher (or French press if you’ve got one), cover it, and let it get to work on the counter. In the morning, pour the coffee through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and funnel into another pitcher, and voila, fresh, not-hot. Pour in a glass with some ice and you’re good to go.

Want to get fancy? Invest in a cold brewed coffee maker like the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System or the Bodum Bean Ice French Press.

Smooth Operator: Opting for Cold Brewed Coffee Makers Yields Low-Acid Flavor

You love the bold flavor of coffeehouse coffee, but wish it was just a little easier on your stomach. Or maybe you’re just up for change from the regular joe that comes out of your old coffee pot. In either case, chances are a cold brew coffee machine is the answer.

What is a cold brewed coffee maker?

People have been roasting coffee beans and brewing them with hot water for centuries—since the 15th century in fact. So what’s this newfangled business about a cold brewed coffee maker?

Toddy T2N Cold Brew System

Toddy T2N Cold Brew System

It all started in 1964, when chemical engineering Cornell grad Todd Simpson developed and patented a new system that used regular coffee beans but didn’t rely on heat to extract the coffee’s flavor. The result: a simple, ingenious device that brews up fresh, full, low-acid coffee that doesn’t sacrifice flavor.

Wait, rewind. Why does using cold water have anything to do with anything? Well, it’s just like what you learned in high school chemistry: acidity properties change when you play around with the temperature. So while the coffee that comes out of your typical coffee maker is pretty acidic, cold-brewed coffee is substantially less so.

In fact, the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System is designed to brew coffee that’s 67 percent less acidic than traditional hot coffee makers. Meanwhile, the Bodum Bean Ice French Press 1-1/2 Litre Iced Coffeemaker, 51-Ounce, is another good pick in this category. Like the Toddy coffee maker, it can brew coffee that’s less acidic than conventionally brewed coffee with no electricity.

Bodum Bean Ice French Press Coffeemaker

Bodum Bean Ice French Press Coffeemaker

Of course, the thing about the good old-fashioned hot water brewing process is it speeds the process of extraction up significantly, for near instant gratification. With a cold brewed coffee machine, you’ll need to invest a little more time on the front end.

Luckily, it’s extremely easy to use. You simply add the fresh-roasted coffee grounds and the water to the container, then let it steep for 12-18 hours. This creates a highly concentrated coffee that’s then ready to be mixed with more water or milk. The recommended ratio is 1 part concentrate to 2-3 parts water, milk, or soy.

What to look for in a cold brew French press or coffee maker

When you’re ready to invest in a new cold brewed coffee machine, use this handy checklist of questions to make up your mind.

Is the decanter BPA-Free? No reason to add toxic chemicals to your morning brew. Both the Toddy coffee maker and Bodum’s cold brew French press are BPA-free.

Does the lid fit right and tight? Refrigerating cold-brewed coffee concentrate locks in its flavor—as long as the lid fits correctly to lock in the aroma.

Does it have a control-pour spout? There’s no use crying over spilled milk…but cold-brewed coffee is a different matter.

Is it dishwasher safe? Enough said.

Will I have everything I need to make the perfect cold-brewed coffee? Make sure the package includes a decanter with handle and secure lid, filter, and rubber stopper.

Benefits of going with a cold brew coffee machine

All said, there there’s plenty of good reason to go with a cold brew coffee maker like the Toddy coffee maker and Bodum’s cold brew French press. Consider:

  • Cold-brew coffee stays fresh longer: the coffee concentrate lasts up to three weeks in the fridge.
  • Made to order: You can make hot or cold drinks, depending on your mood.
  • Camping trip coming up…or just prefer to save on those pesky electric bills? No electricity required for cold brew coffee!
  • Low acidity makes cold brew coffee a lot easier on your stomach, which is good for your digestive system, especially for those with acid sensitivity.
  • In the mood for tea? You can swap tea leaves out for coffee grounds any old time you want.
  • Easy ice coffee – no more meltdowns with watered down hot coffee!