Crafting cold-brew

Todd Christy of Chilmark Coffee Co. offers tips and tricks for cold-brew.

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So you want to make cold-brew coffee. You saw someone drinking it out of a Mason jar, and now you want in. Well, look no further.

Crazy coffee cranks have been jumping at the bit for cold-brew coffee in the past few years. Smooth, crisp, chilled coffee so fresh you’d think it came from some magically caffeinated brook deep in Yosemite.

Todd Christy, coffee wizard and owner of Chilmark Coffee Co., knows a thing or two about cold-brew coffee — he begins each day by making cold-brew coffee, and wants fellow coffee lovers to know they can too.

Christy recommends two ways to get cold-brew coffee at home — regular ol’ cold-brew, and Japanese iced coffee.

The regular cold-brew process involves mixing water and coffee grounds and letting it steep in the fridge overnight.

Regardless of which avenue you choose, Christy recommends starting with Central American beans, specifically those grown in Costa Rica and Guatemala, which provide a fruity, bright, and clean flavor.

From there, coarsely grind the beans — don’t grind them too much. Christy uses a hand grinder each morning to grind beans for his cold-brew.

Christy says it’s best to experiment with ratios and adjust them to your fancy, but when starting out, he suggests using one cup of coffee grounds to four cups water (a typical 12-ounce bag of coffee would need about seven cups of water). This combo will create a concentrate to pack that flavorful caffeine punch. Christy swears by Toddy, a cold-brew set that makes brewing fun and easy.

Once your beans are ground and they’ve been added to your water, pop that sucker in the fridge and let it steep for eight to 10 hours. Don’t try and get fancy and leave it steeping for 24 hours.

“At eight hours, you’ve hit your maximum return on that steep,” Christy says. “Once you go beyond 10 hours, you diminish returns.”

Once it’s been steeped, strain the mixture, and you’ll have a strong coffee concentrate. Serve it in a glass with ice and enjoy.

If you’re pressed for time and you want to make a smaller batch, Japanese iced coffee is a quick way to get a cold-brew. The process involves pouring hot water directly over coffee grounds, which drip straight onto ice. Chemex offers a great glassware set that can get you started.

You know you can trust Christy, who has run a successful coffee business since 2010. During the busy and hot days at the West Tisbury Farmers Market, Christy tends to sell 15 to 20 gallons per hour of his signature nitro cold-brew — cold-brew charged with nitrogen and served on tap.

 

Brian Dowd is a reporter at The Martha’s Vineyard Times, covering the Oak Bluffs, MVC, and coffee beats.