Tuesday 16 December 2014

Cold Drip Coffee

I managed to live 19 years before I enjoyed coffee. To me it was always bitter and yuck and not interesting.  One day, for no apparent reason, I decided to buy a coffee and for no apparent reason it tasted good.  No bitterness, no yuck.  It was smooth, aromatic, flavoursome, creamy.  Since then I've been enjoying it in its many forms over the years.  At certain times of my life I got a bit hooked and had to reduce my intake because it increased to about 4-5 a day.  Even now with a reduced daily intake, without my morning coffee I am less than human. I may be awake but my brain is soup and I have a case of word salad when I try to say anything that requires thought.  At work I actually try to stick to instant in order to keep good coffee for home and out as something special.  Work coffee is just about being awake and nothing else.

At the beginning of the year we went to a coffee shop where we saw a cold drip coffee maker and were blown away by its design. It looked like a lab experiment.  And cold coffee? I mean iced coffee sure but just cold coffee?

So we talked to the barrister.  He explained that it is  just another way of brewing.  It allows the same beans to taste completely different, building and expanding on your usual experiences with your coffee beans.  The iced water drips slowly through the ground beans (encased top and bottom with filters) and due to the temperature not a speck of coffee bean burn occurs in the process.  This means that your brew will be less bitter and have less acidity.  Fruitier blends will really shine using this method, but we love it for most flavour profiles.  A pot of cold coffee takes between 3 - 8 hours to brew.  We tried it and it was delicious.   Now I see Cold Drip Coffee towers in boutique coffee shops all over our city.

For the Dragon's birthday present earlier this year, I decided to invest in a Cold Drip Coffee tower.  He prides himself on being a scientist so I knew he would love the design of the product.  Trouble was, I struggled to find what I wanted in Australia at the time, so I couldn't get a black tower which would be my preference.  After much searching I finally stumbled upon the Tiamo 8 cup Cold Drip Coffee tower.  Now you can access much more variety online.

One of the Dragon's friends described the 3 - 8 hour wait for brewed coffee as an exercise in "torture", but we tend to make it over night or first thing on Saturday morning.  That way it is either ready by morning, or if made in the day time the tower is fragrant art on our table throughout the day and ready to consume in the afternoon.  The best thing? Since it makes 8 cups, you can store it in the fridge and it is ready in a flash whenever you want it.  Below is a how-to-guide with a few hints thrown in along the way.

So how do you go about making Cold Drip Coffee?


  1. Place a filter at the bottom of the second glass container (we use the metal filter that came with the tower), half fill with coffee beans ground to the same consistency as used in a drip filter, or to an 8.6 grind.  At this stage you can drip a small amount of water into the coffee beans to just moisten it all over so that the iced water will drip evenly through the beans later on.  Make sure to stop the opening at the bottom with your finger as you carry it from the tap or you will leave a trail of coffee on your kitchen floor.  Top with a wet paper filter and replace the container into the second top layer of your tower.  In our tower, we find that it works best to start with this step, or else it all gets too messy.

  2. Fill the top receptacle to the brim with ice.  Then fill to the brim with water, place the lid on top and place in the top cavity of your tower.  I recommend using ice.  Some just use room temperature water, so you can experiment both ways to explore the impact on the flavour of the same beans both ways.  I love how subtle changes can create different experiences.
  3. Twist the knob on the top until water is dripping approximately one drip per second.  This knob opens and closes the opening, changing the drip rate.
  4.  You will find that it slows down after 2 hours or so due to pressure changes in the iced water, so you will need to adjust it at least once (usually not more than that).  If you put it on a couple of hours before bed, then you can check it just before you turn in for the night.
    I love watching the coffee drip through the spiral
    So cute and so science-labey
    By morning or 6-8 hours after you brew, the bottom flask should be 3/4 full of deliciousness.
    Lighting is different in this one because it is morning.
    Imagine waking up to this beautiful brew!
    We recently decided not to save our good glasses for special occasions since they had survived 10+ years so far, we don't have kids yet to break them, and they were going to waste in a cupboard unused.  So to feel a little swanky, we like to serve our cold coffee in crystal tumblers ;) We start with the coffee, then stir in 1 tsp of sugar syrup (made in advance by bringing equal measures of sugar and water to the boil, then simmering for 2 minutes before bottling and refrigerating, or bought from anywhere that sells cocktail ingredients) or flavoured coffee syrup as sugar will not dissolve in cold coffee.  Depending on your preference, you can add ice and/or milk and voila! Fancy coffee!
    Best enjoyed on a Summer's day - with or without ice.

Our Take Aways

From the Dragon (since it was his present):
This thing is great! I am in love with it's "science-labeyness" - as the Bunny puts it.  One of the best things about it is that it makes a large amount which keeps really well in the fridge. So, you will get a half week of breakfast coffees out of it.  Additionally, when you are waiting for the brewing process to complete it FILLS the home with a beautiful coffee aroma (which is very pleasant to wake up to in the morning if you brew overnight).  The method of brewing is completely different from more traditional methods with drip filters, espresso or greek style coffee as there is no heat or pressure applied.  This means that if you have any favourite or go-to beans you're used too you can re-visit them with the cold drip method and they will have a completely different flavour profile.  We love it and make use of it about every two weeks.

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