Is cold brewed iced coffee superior to traditional iced? I sure think so.

I love a hot cup (or two, or three) of good coffee each morning. Frankly, some afternoons too. But each year, as the Phoenix temperatures ascend, it happens; sometimes in the late spring, I make the seasonal turn to varieties iced and chilled.

From, say, May to October, traditional iced coffee has been my totality. Whether sized large, extra large, Trenta, or small in multiple cups (sometimes those servings really are never ample enough), I’ve happily surrendered to the frosty benefits of coffee more cold.

Then, one year it happened: cold brewed iced coffee came into my life.

In contrast to simply dumping hot-brewed coffee over hard ice, customary with iced coffee plucked from your corner Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, coffee brewed patiently (often overnight) with room temperature water–without the strike of heat–makes for a cup less acerbic, more rounded in flavor and texture. On a good day? Think rogue quirks of cocoa and caramel.

Naturally acidic, roasted, ground coffee brewed skillfully with the flush of hot water can rinse perfectly smooth–as a hot beverage. Jerked over ice, however, hot brewed coffee’s natural acidity spikes. Sugar or cream? With cold brewed, I’d argue: hardly needed.

Once an anomaly locally, many forward-thinking coffee spots throughout the city now serve cold brewed iced coffee. One of my immortal loves, above most, has to be Giant Coffee, the crafty and carefully hip side-project of Downtown restauranteurs Matt and Ernie Pool (Matt’s Big Breakfast, Roosevelt Tavern). Sandwiched along 1st St., between the Phoenix Public Library’s main branch and the Phoenix Art Museum, Giant serves some of the best coffee and pastries (and atmosphere) in which to indulge in town. And, don’t even get me started on their menu’s biggest bully, the honey vanilla latte, a beverage so good it now transcends rational objectivity, rearing un-godly sentiments.

Giant’s beans and distinguished pastries are all imported, sourced from respected outside purveyors. However, molded into the final package that is Giant Coffee, executed with the personality it so clearly wants you to feel, it’s a rival to all others.

Tomorrow morning, I will be drinking my cold-brew. Hopefully from Giant Coffee.

Giant Coffee is located at 1437 N. 1st St. in Evans Churchill (light rail station at Central/McDowell).


  • Even though I have always loved hot coffee, I never really liked the taste of cold brewed coffee.

    For me, if my drink is going to be cold, I’ll take an ice cold Monster for my caffeine fix. The blue Lo calorie Monster of course…. =]

  • Jason

    JoBot’s iced toddy (that’s what cold brewed coffee is called) is the best!

  • Benjamin Shaw

    I agree with you Justin, cold brew (iced toddy) coffee is AMAZING! Depending on where the coffee was grown, the cold brew method can bring out some really intense notes. Sometimes I get molasses and cocoa, other times I get almost a berry (Kenyan coffee.) I love it so much, I have a toddy maker at home and keep a large carafe chilling in my fridge! Much cheaper than (but not as much fun as) going somewhere like Giant. I do love their coffee too btw!