Recipe for iced coffee

I recently returned from a trip to New York City. While I was up there, I really missed my homemade iced coffee. There was this place called Europa Cafe near my hotel, but their idea of iced coffee is to pour hot coffee into a glass of ice. No, no, no. There was an Au Bon Pain near the meeting I was travelling for, and they had iced coffee, but it tasted like the stuff at Europa. Starbucks had something a little closer to a real glass of iced coffee, but for a New Orleans coffee lover, Starbucks is passable at best, pissable at worst.

The best iced coffee I’ve found in New Orleans, outside my own kitchen, is at Rue de la Course. But even theirs isn’t as good as mine. Here’s my recipe.

First, you need a toddy coffee maker. All the decent local coffeehouses sell them. Essentially, it’s a plastic bucket that you use to steep a pound of coffee in 9 cups of cold water for 12-24 hours.

I use dark-roast coffee. Almost any decent dark roast will do. I’ve used French roast, Colombian, Turkish, something that CC’s sells called Evangeline Blend, and many others. I never use flavored coffee, such as French vanilla. I don’t use Viennese because it’s not strong enough for my taste.

Anyway, you dump a pound of dark roast (coarse ground) into your toddy coffee maker. Add 4 cups of water. Wait 5 minutes for the water to soak into the coffee grounds. Then add another 5 cups of water. Cover with a plate to slow evaporation. Let stand for 12-24 hours. Remove the cork from the bottom of the toddy coffee maker, and let the resulting brew drip into the carafe that comes with the toddy coffee maker. You now have about 8 cups (2 quarts?) of concentrate caffeine — think of it as cold espresso. Probably a one- to two-week supply. You can drink some now, and keep the rest in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to enjoy, just get a glass, fill it 1/3 with this coffee concentrate, top off with 2/3 milk. Ice is optional, and probably not necessary if the coffee concentrate has chilled in the fridge. You now have what I like to think of as adult chocolate milk.

If this mix is too strong for you (wimp!), try 1/3 glass coffee concentrate, 1/3 water, and 1/3 milk. Experiment with the proportions if you like — after all it’s your coffee.

3 Comments so far

  1. Chris Martel (unregistered) on September 5th, 2004 @ 2:09 pm

    For those who want to try this without buying a toddy, you can steep the coffee in a mason jar and use regular coffee filters to filter it into another jar. cold brewing is definitely the best way to make iced coffee, and it tastes so much better than anything sold at coffee shops. I use plain old community coffee & chicory and I drink it with plenty of cream and a splash of simple syrup.. perfect summertime concoction.


  2. Jay (unregistered) on September 8th, 2004 @ 2:25 pm

    Yummm… We used to brew ice coffee like that when I worked at M.E. Swing’s in D.C.

    Think you could get the same result by using a giant french press?


  3. Ray (unregistered) on September 8th, 2004 @ 8:00 pm

    Jay: First: Next time I’m in DC, I think I know where I’ll go to get my coffee. Second: Yes, I’m sure a French press would work. Actually any size should work, although if you have to wait 12-24 hours, you’d better end up with more than 1 serving.



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