How do you like your iced coffee?

It’s summertime (finally, if you live in Portland) and it is hot outside (unless you live in Portland, where it’s pleasantly warm), which means that you might be looking for a little change from the hot coffee routine. Iced coffee is a particularly hot (cold?) commodity this time of the year, and few things are more refreshing than drinking a tall, cool glass while sitting in the shade.

When you look for iced coffee, you have several options. You can buy (or make) an iced espresso drink (Americano, latte, etc.), an iced toddy* (coffee brewed at room temperature for long periods of time then poured over ice) and the traditional iced coffee (hot-brewed coffee that is quickly cooled or brewed directly over ice). Among iced coffee drinkers, there is some debate about which method makes the best cold coffee.

My favorite of the three is the iced toddy. The slow, low-temperature brewing process leaves out much of the acidity that you would find in hot-brewed coffee, making the toddy very smooth and easy to drink. The resulting beverage has a liqueur-like mouth feel, and tends to taste more chocolaty than fruity.

Not everyone thinks so highly of the toddy. I was talking with a friend today about coffee and he said that for him, the toddy is overrated. He believes that coffee needs to have the acidity, because a lot of the coffee’s flavor comes from “the acidity moving across your palate.”  Without these flavors, the coffee is flat. I countered that both are enjoyable, as long as you expect each one to be a different experience.

Since it is iced coffee season and I am curious about these kinds of things, I have two questions for you:

1. What kind of iced coffee beverages do you drink?

2. If you make it at home, how do you do it?


*The term toddy comes from the name of the person, Todd Simpson, who popularized the cold-brew method with a patented brewing system in the 1960s.