Wednesday, July 30, 2014
If it’s summertime, then you can bet I’m down with drinking cold brew iced coffee. Ok, most anytime of the year I’m down with drinking cold brew. That being the case, I know firsthand that it can be a pricey habit to indulge in if you let others brew for you. At your local coffee shop a cold brew might run you $3 to $5. A bottle of Grady’s Cold Brew aka my special treat and obsession last summer will run you $14 or $1.75 per serving. But what about homemade cold brew? Could I make it at home for cheaper? I had to give it a try . .
I first tried making my own cold brew at home last year to rather pathetic results. I tried making it in my French press overnight and failed. That’s a lot of coffee to waste for meh results. So I hit the internets looking for a cold brewing “system” as they’re called to eliminate the user error part of the equation. I looked at the Toddy and I looked at the Filtron, two of the most popular systems on the market. They each have their own loyal followings, but all of my intel from friends was pointing towards getting a Filtron. But, to be honest, the big turn off for me was that the Filtron does its long brews in plastic containers. Yuck. I try not to store any foods in plastic if I can help it. I thought about getting the Filtron then spending extra to get a glass carafe, but then Facebook’s habit of creeping on my internet searches came through in a surprising way by flashing an ad for Uncommon Goods’ “Coffee Cold Brew Gift Set.” Say what?! I love Uncommon Goods! Siobhan first turned me onto their website years back and now it’s my go-to spot for gift ideas for Lawman. Remember that time I got him the good & evil sponge holder for Christmas? Uncommon Goods!
Over the years I’ve bought a number of things, gifts mainly, from Uncommon Goods and here’s why. They work with artists and artisans to sell really cool, unique gifts that are perfect for hard to shop for people, like Lawman or my dad and my brother (they actually even have a curated gifts “for him that’s further divided into the type of “him” your him might be…new dad, geek, beer lover etc). They are an equal opportunity gift giving spot so there's also a gifts for her section as well. Their stuff is fun and funky. Quirky and clever. They have a great selection of personalized gifts that are awesome for weddings and showers when you want to get something a little more fun and meaningful than a couple of place settings. And really nice, thoughtful anniversary gifts, too, They’re based in Brooklyn, so I’m supporting a local business and with each purchase they donate $1 to a non-profit of your choice. There are a number of great causes that you can choose from but City Harvest gets my $1 every time. So many wins.
I reached out to Uncommon Goods and they sent me cold brew set as part of their blogger review program. Before we get on to the review, I only ever mention products or services that 1) I would buy myself and 2) I think that readers would be interested in.* Now that I’ve had the chance to test drive it for just about 2 months of regular use I’m ready to give my full review.
First of all, it’s pretty much everything I wanted in a cold brewer. I like that the jar is glass. I like that it fits a lot of coffee. I like that it comes with a pour spout for easy filling and refilling your glass. I like that the filtering part is a “coffee sock” made of organic cotton. It’s easy to clean and use again and again. No need to buy paper filters.
The instructions are simple. You put medium/coarse coffee in the “coffee sock,” add some water to “bloom” the coffee, tie the sock off and fill the jar with water then let it steep overnight. As simple as the instructions were, it took us awhile to get our cold brew groove. I wish the instructions had been more clear as to how much coffee you should use. After revisiting the site it appears that they recommend 6 ounces of ground coffee per 6 cups of water. I also found that I preferred the taste a 18 hours (or more) to the taste at 12 hours. The process says 12-16 hours, but the first few batches I was so eager for my coffee, I only waited the 12 hours and if you love strong coffee like I do that’s a mistake, go for the longer brew for flavor. While the label on the jar has suggestions like "add chicory," "grate a little nutmeg," I wish that it came with more specific recipe ideas and suggestions for which type of coffees to try.
The cold brew system from Uncommon Goods definitely gets style points in terms of the total package: looks good, functions well, makes people happy. Pricewise, the Filtron goes for about $43 and the Toddy goes for anywhere from $34 to $39 but neither of them come with a first batch of coffee. The Filtron filters last 3-4 months, while the Toddy filters last about 3 months. The coffee sock however should last up to 9 months before needing to be changed out. The glass brewing/storing set up gets a big thumbs up from me and I would definitely consider giving it as a gift to coffee loving friends. It’s simple to use, not too bulky and makes a good cup of coffee. Apparently you can also use it to make horchata and almond milk, so that’s pretty cool, too. In terms of its gift-ability, the way it comes packed with everything stuffed in the jar is pretty cute. There’s a very good chance my brother will get one from me for Christmas. Shhhhhhh…
Do you brew your own cold brew? What do you use?
*I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”