Tagged: Stumptown

Chilled Coffee Wars

We’re about a week away from solstice, but in New York City, it’s finally hot and muggy enough to stop craving hot coffee in favor of something chilled. I’ve written in the past that I much prefer making cold brew to brewing hot coffee over ice cubes. About a week ago, I noticed that two very prominent third-wave coffee roasters have chosen sides in this debate.

Counter Culture Coffee, out of Durham, North Carolina, favors pouring hot coffee over iced cubes to make their iced coffee. They insist that the immediate cooling process “locks in flavors and aromatics that other iced coffee processes allow to escape.” You can see their method in this video.

I’ve used this method several times, but as I’ve noted in the past, I generally only do this when I am pressed for time.

Portland, Oregon’s Stumptown, on the other hand, is a big proponent of cold brewing and discourages their customers from pouring coffee over ice cubes. In a recent blog post, they advise against brewing drip coffee over ice. They warn that “it will taste watery and bitter, and you’ll lose clarity and sweetness.” Instead, they recommend cold brewing: “making true cold brew takes time – about 16 hours, in fact – but it’s well worth the effort.” Their support of this method is likely due to their offering cold brew in bottles and nitrogen-propelled cans. If you can’t wait, they, of course, offer ready-to-drink bottles and cans.

However, they’re not entirely against the diluting hot coffee over ice. One method they recommend is using an Aeropress.

Brew Guide Aeropress Hero

That makes sense because it allows for longer brewing time, and the pressure used to brew with an Aeropress seems to extract more flavor than pour over alone.

At any rate, the fact that two first-rate, third-wave coffee roasters suggest competing methods for brewing iced coffee seems to confirm something I learned from touring bourbon distilleries over the past eight years.

There are countless ways to enjoy your coffee, and it’s your call on how to enjoy it. Even if you’re adding booze.

The above link to Amazon is an affiliate link. If you buy something that link, I will earn a commission fee.

My Kind of Freeganism

Free Coffee

First, let me say that I didn’t take this out of the trash. I didn’t jump into a dumpster and fish it out from a stack of stale muffins.

Nope, I have a source at one of the dozens of Stumptown brewing outlets here in New York, and evidently, they had some overage. It turns out that Stumptown won’t let any of their vendors sell brewed coffee from beans that were roasted more than two weeks ago. (For the uninitiated, “two-week” old coffee is hardly old so that’s a pretty good commitment to freshness, although that explains the high retail price.)

Anyway, said source came through with a bag of the coffee that was a wee bit past Stumptown’s own freshness standards. If the “1/26” on the bag is the discard date, that means it was roasted around January 12. (The date could also be the roasting date, in which case that’s even better.) Generally speaking, any coffee that’s less than two months past roasting is good to go as long its kept at room temperature and in an air tight container. By the looks of it, there’s about 2 1/2 pounds left of the 5 lb. bag. Usually, I brew about 12 oz of coffee beans each week, meaning that I’ll have to pick up the pace to finish it by March 12.

But the best news is that this bag will save me about $50 in Stumptown coffee beans, and untold sums of money over buying brewed coffee.