What exactly is cold-brew coffee? First of all, cold brew isn’t the same thing as iced coffee — that’s just regular drip-coffee poured over ice. Cold brew takes ground beans and steeps them in room-temperature water for at least 12 hours. By removing the heat element from the coffee, the result is a much smoother, less acidic, more caffeinated, darker, sweeter blend of joe. The coffee is fairly strong, so some people/establishments add water. As the edict goes, once you go cold brew you’ll never go back to drinking regular iced coffee again. Here are some local coffee shops that sell the stuff, mostly year round. (Starbucks doesn’t have cold brew, so don’t even bother.)
Awakenings Coffee and Wine
On their menu, “iced coffee” is actually cold brew diluted with some water, but their “Toddy Cooler” is cold brew and milk blended together. They use their own house-blended beans in a Toddy brand cold-brew machine and steep the grounds for 12 hours. The iced coffee is sold in 16 oz. ($2.75) and 24 oz. ($3.15), and their Toddy Cooler comes in 16 oz. ($3) and 24 oz. ($3.35). 2734 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-2525, awakeningscoffeeandwine.com.
Currently, this Newport, Ky., coffee shop is the only place in town that sells cold brew on draft (like beer!) and by the 64-oz. growler. They steep 5 pounds of Nicaraguan Tres Fincas beans (roasted on-site) for 20 hours in a 5-gallon commercial Toddy maker. It’s $5 to purchase a growler from them (or you can supply your own), and then it’s $10 to fill it up. If a whole growler seems intimidating, you can also get a single cup of cold brew in 16 oz. ($3) or 20 oz. ($3.50). 107 E. Ninth St., Newport, Ky., 859-415-1587, carabellocoffee.com.
West Chester’s coffee shop uses local roaster La Terza’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Harfusa to make their cold brew.
They sell the coffee in three sizes: small ($2.50), medium ($3) and large ($3.50). Cold brew pairs well with ice cream — almost like a root-beer float — which is why Cavu’s cold brew is used in neighboring yogurt store Freeze Yogurt Bar’s coffee yogurt. 7755 Cox Lane, West Chester, 513-755-2288, facebook.com/cavucoffeeboutique.
A progenitor of the cold brew movement in Cincinnati, the OTR-based coffee shop and roaster has been brewing cold brew for a few years now. Across the street from their OTR headquarters resides their roasterie and bottling plant, where they steep their Guatemalan beans for 12 hours, then make 25 to 30 gallons a day (in the summer) of cold brew and sell the liquid in 32-oz. growlers as “ready to drink” (slightly diluted) or concentrated (a less diluted brew). They also sell the brew in single cups: 16 oz. ($3) and 20 oz. ($4). Once empty, the growlers can be brought back to the store for a refill (around $7). At the first City Flea of the season (on May 17), they’ll introduce their alcohol-free bourbon barrel-aged cold brew — a collaboration with Party Source’s neighboring distillery New Riff. It will be sold by the growler ($14) and single cup. 110 E. Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine and three other locations, coffee-emporium.com.
Corner Bloc Coffee
You’ll have to hike uphill to get to Price Hill’s Corner Bloc, but you’ll be rewarded with a cool glass of brew. Bloc soaks rotating selections of local roaster Deeper Roots Coffee beans (like the spring blend Bloom) for 12 to 18 hours in a Toddy machine, which they also sell in the store. Get their brew in four sizes: 8 oz. ($2), 12 oz. ($2.50), 16 oz. ($3.00) and 20 oz. ($3.50). 3101 Price Ave., Price Hill, 513-429-4548, bloccoffeecompany.com.
They steep their coarsely ground Guatmalean La Armonia Hermosa coffee beans from Deeper Roots for 14 hours in a commercial Toddy maker. They’re known to run out of cold brew, but they can whip up an iced pour-over, which is a step up from regular iced coffee — but not as good as the cold brew. 207 Woodward St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/collectiveespressoOTR.
All the way up in Dayton’s Oregon District, Press infuses their own Handyman Espresso roast (a blend of Brazil and Columbian beans) for 24 hours in a Filtron Pro (makes up to 5 gallons). The standard concentrate is sold in 18 oz. flip-top bottles ($15; refills $12) or a single cup that’s cut with water ($3). They also make a drink called the Concentrado: simple syrup, a shot of cold brew and a splash of half and half served over ice. Eventually, they’ll have cold brew on tap. 257 Wayne Ave., Dayton, 937-286-4585, pressdayton.com.