Chapter Three: The Brewing Process

A few personal facts: 

  • I don’t own a coffee maker. Only a Toddy and a French Press.   
  • I didn’t grow up in a household with a coffee maker. We had a Toddy and an espresso machine. 

Now, the art of cold brewing…. 

 
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1. The right ingredients:  

A common misconception is that great coffee is great coffee, no matter how you brew it. That’s not true. Some coffee is meant to be brewed slow and hot, others fast and hard through an espresso machine, and others low and slow through a cold brew system. Our coffee is sourced specifically for cold brewing. We appreciate the complexities of different coffee beans and roasts, but we shy away from many of them when cold brewing. Many beans and roasts create a sour taste when cold brewed, or too many conflicting flavor notes that end up ruining your experience, not making it.  

As much as the coffee matters, so does the water. This came into major consideration when we started building out our new facility as you need a reliable water source coupled with good processing systems. If you’re trying this at home, check out the SCAA Water Guidelines. Captivating stuff. 


2. Timing

Timing is everythingOver extracted coffee taste dirty. Under extracted is weak in flavor and color in the cup. Once we identify the coffee, we run a series of small 5lb test to determine the brew time. An hour can truly make a difference. The subtle nuances that yield a great cup are contingent on the time and filtration.  


3. Settling and Filtration

If you haven’t caught on, everything we do is focused on the final flavor. Filtration plays a critical role in this. We implement three levels of filtration made out of different materials, in addition to a settling process that adds more time to the brew cycle but allows the coffee to breath and continue evolving. We filter straight from the brewer into the settling tank, then again 12 hours later from the settling tank into the bottling line.  

As we grow, we have to balance the urge to create a more efficient system that will yield faster results and decrease our cost against the craftsmanship and rich flavor that has made Icebox a product you enjoy and depend on to get you through the day.  

The next time you get a bottle of Icebox, turn it upside down and you’ll see the beauty of a balanced brew. The sediment at the bottom of each bottle is referred to as Total Dissolved Solids. These are essentially flavor capsules. Many beverage makers work hard to eliminate these through over-filtration. The result is a flat product that lacks depth and color.  


 
An original drawing from the first brewing set up

An original drawing from the first brewing set up

 

 

In summary, the process of cold brewing is truly an art that cannot be rushed. You must be patient and deliberate.  

For me, it’s part of the culture I grew up in. Italians make the best pasta, the German’s great beer. Look to New Orleans for the best cold brew. Facts are facts.

-Bebe Goodrich
Icebox Founder and President

 

John P

Icebox Coffee, 1500 1st Avenue North, Birmingham, AL, 35203, United States