Serious Eats: Drinks
Grady's New Orleans-Style Chicory Cold Brew Coffee in 32-Ounce Bottles
As far as minimal-effort-required coffeemaking goes, the cold-brew technique is about as minimal as it gets. But think about how much minimal-er it'd be if someone else brewed it for you, bottled it up, and made enough concentrate for your next eight cups?
Grady's, which launched late summer of 2011 at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, fills up 32-ounce bottles of New Orleans-style chicory coffee. Though just half the size of a 64-ounce growler, it's very concentrated stuff; they recommend diluting four-ounce servings with milk and an ice cube.
If you've been to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans to get your beignet fix (and defacto powdered sugar mustache), you might be familiar with chicory coffee. Let's back up—what exactly is chicory? Are we all just picturing a dark brown root yanked from the ground? It is indeed a long, thick root (of the chicory flower) that gets roasted and ground, and actually turns out resembling coffee grounds very much. It doesn't contain a drop of caffeine but gives the coffee a deeper roasted flavor and slightly sweet aroma.
Grady's uses Ethiopian beans roasted by Porto Rico—they're looking into fair-trade bean options—and lets the grounds steep with chicory in water for 18 hours in the fridge, then it goes through a two-step filtration process. (Unfortunately, Grady's doesn't use a giant French press, but how good is that image?). Pour it out black and you'll pick up on dark fruity notes and some of that earthy chicory, but not intensely so. It gets even better with a splash of milk.
Each 32-ounce bottle is $15. If you do the math, that's about $1.88 per cup (four ounces of cold-brew mixed with four ounces of water or milk). So far you can find Grady's at The Brooklyn Kitchen, Stinky Bklyn and a few select other spots around BK, but they also ship anywhere in the U.S. (good for four weeks, if it lasts that long) and they deliver to offices around NYC. We have a couple bottles in the fridge that has made our morning caffeination routine at the office much easier (read: lazier).