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Wednesday October 22nd 2014

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Buzzed and on the Rocks—The Art of Iced Coffee


By Sarah McCartan

In the smoldering heat of the summer months, there are few better feelings than “buzzed and on the rocks.” For those of us who eagerly seek to breathe in the rich, aromatic, flavors that waft from every cup of coffee we encounter, there is nothing quite as refreshing as taking an ice cold spin on things.

But what makes the perfect iced brew? Short of throwing ice in your warm cup of coffee as a chillingly, bitter afterthought, here are a few options to weigh—options that you can modify to enjoy within the comfort of your home, or grab while out and on the go.

DIY Home Brewing

Although the words “cold brew” can refer to several methods of low temperature brewing, it’s not the only way to arrive at a cold, quenching cup. While it can offer convenience and allow for mass brewing of concentrated coffee to keep on hand for several days, for some, it’s not the preferred method.

Long-time baristas and coffee enthusiasts Drew Baker and Tasha Bronson opt for the Japanese method—the “pour over.” This method is commonly used in specialty coffee shops and cafés for both hot and iced brews, and can readily be emulated in the comfort of your home.

Why pour it over for just a single cup, rather than using a “cold brew” method?

“Because you are brewing at a higher temperature, you get the sweetness and floral notes,” said Baker. “You get the full range of flavors. Cold brew doesn’t offer the same flavor potential.”

The “pour over,” high heat extraction method requires you to pour “off boiled” water over coffee grinds that are situated within a single cup cone—glass, plastic or other coffee dripper—directly onto ice.

“Pour it directly over ice so it instantly cools and traps the aroma and flavors,” explained Baker. “All you need is a vessel.”

Still, even more important than the methodology, are the beans, more specifically—quality beans that aren’t roasted too dark. Beans ground as freshly as possible.

“Just like with cooking, the most important thing is your product,” said Baker.

“If you’re trying to make it with Maxwell House, it won’t be the same,” agreed Bronson.

They personally favor Handsome coffee beans. Hailing from L.A., this brand is both brewed and available by the bag for purchase locally at Bodacious Brew.

So long as you are using adequate beans, Baker encourages that you can even make “pour over” iced coffee using a drip coffee machine you have on hand. All it takes is less water, more coffee, and filling the glass pitcher with ice so that the coffee directly cools.

“You shouldn’t be afraid,” said Baker. “Making your own coffee is not a scary thing. And if you screw up, you can do it again.”

Perfecting the Pour Over
Recipe courtesy of Drew Baker and Tasha Bronson
Yield: 16 oz. iced cup of coffee

What You’ll Need
Water: 300 grams
Ice: 200 grams
Coffee: 32 grams (Ground approximately the size of sugar)

1. Rinse filter with hot water and place filter in brewing device.
2. Fill select vessel (i.e. cup or jar) with 200 g of ice.
3. Add measured coffee grounds to filter.
4. Pour 60 grams of water (between 195-205 F) onto the grounds. Bloom for 45 seconds.
5. Pour remaining water into the center of the coffee in a circular, controlled motion. (Draw a quarter-sized circle into the middle of the coffee.)
6. Once you use 300 grams, stop pouring. Total brew time is between 2:45 and 3:00 minutes.
7. ENJOY.

But let’s be honest, sometimes coffee just tastes better when someone else makes it. And thanks to the rise of local coffee shops, you don’t have to make it at home—if you don’t want to.

Buy it Bodacious

Step inside the doors of Bodacious Brew and you are greeted with assistive baristas eagerly willing to educate you on both the art—and heart—of coffee, and according to them, “give you the cup of coffee you didn’t realize that you wanted.”

“People are worth a good cup of coffee. And they don’t even realize it until they get one,” said Barista Alan Bates.

Bodacious is living—and local—proof that a good, quality cup of coffee doesn’t have to come at a high price point. For iced coffee options, their prices range from $3-$4.
This includes the cold brew signature Angelino drink—a spin—or shake rather—taken on a drink that originated in L.A., adapted using cold brew coffee, rather than espresso. This iced concoction is shaken with vanilla, and your milk of choice.

Although they offer the pour over method for both hot and iced coffee, Bodacious routinely uses the Toddy cold brew system for iced coffee, resulting in what Bates considers to be iced coffee that is “sweet and refreshing.”

“Usually when people want iced coffee, they want a refresher,” said Bates.

They recently welcomed a new cold brew system into the mix—the Kyoto—a multi-tiered scientific attraction that’s drawing great visual attention amongst customers.

While the Bodacious Baristas are eagerly switching up variables in methodology, noticing subtle changes of flavor with each adjustment, they too admit—it all goes back to the beans.

“Every brew method alters the flavor—but it doesn’t change the quality,” explains Bates.

Along with coffee by the cup, Bodacious sells beans—including Handsome—for patrons to take and brew at home. Beans aside, if you are looking to purchase a Toddy system or pour over brewing equipment locally, Bodacious stocks products for customers to practice the art of DIY brewing—and will soon be expanding this product selection.

When they aren’t in the Bodacious Brew café, look for the Bodacious baristas shaking and serving up Angelinos this summer at the Wahoos games.

Bodacious Brew
407 C S. Palafox
434-6300

More Cold Brews You Don’t Want to Miss
Here are a few more handpicked chilled brews around town that we deem sip-worthy.

Yummy Deli
Wash down your Banh Mi sandwich with authentic Vietnamese iced coffee laden with sweet condensed milk for $3. 2416 W. Cervantes, 733-3354.

End of the Line Café
Try a vegan spin on Vietnamese iced coffee, flavored with chicory and condensed soy milk for $3.50. 610 E. Wright St., 429-0336.

The Leisure Club (TLC)
The citrus hints of Intelligentsia’s Kenya roast make for a vibrant poured over, iced brew. Iced coffee selections at TLC range between $3-4.126 Palafox, 912-4229.

Keens Beans
Keens Beans grows organic coffee beans on their farm in Costa Rica then brings them home to Florida to roast. Grab an iced cup at Palafox Market on Saturdays and be sure to load up their tip jar. 712-8069, keensbeans.com

Ever’man Natural Foods

Straight from Brooklyn, a 32 oz. bottle of Grady’s New Orleans Style Cold Brew is available at Ever’man for $8. This concentrated, chicory flavored cold brew is ready to mix with milk or water and serve. Ever’man deli also serves frozen coffee for $3.99, chilled with specialty cubes. 315 W. Garden St., 438-0402, gradyscoldbrew.com, everman.org