Unitasker Wednesday: Pour some iced coffee on me

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

As a lover of all things coffee, I embraced the tip I got from a friend to freeze coffee in ice cube trays to use in iced coffee drinks. Using frozen coffee cubes instead of frozen water cubes keeps the iced coffee drink from getting too watered down as the cubes melt. Ever since I got this tip, I pour coffee into an ice cube tray, let it come to room temperature, stick the tray in the freezer, and make frozen coffee cubes. When all of the cubes are frozen, I pop them out of the tray and into a zip top bag for storage, freeing up the ice cube tray for regular ice. Then, obviously, I put the frozen coffee cubes into my cup of coffee if I decide I want to drink it iced. If I’m feeling peppy, I’ll make the frozen coffee cubes with flavored creams mixed in with the coffee, so the iced coffee drink changes flavor as I drink it. (I know, I live on the edge!)

No extra coffee making contraptions are necessary. No special or expensive gizmos or doodads required. A basic ice cube tray and standard coffeemaker are all you need to make iced coffee that doesn’t get watered down. (Note: The ice cube trick also works with chai. Kapow! Bet I just rocked your world.)

So, you can imagine my bewilderment when I discovered not only are there special trays that exist for making frozen coffee cubes into the shape of coffee beans, such as the Cool Beans Ice Cube Tray:

BUT there are also special $40 coffeemakers to make iced coffee, such as the Bodum Bean Ice Coffeemaker:

Fascinating. And, after last week’s coffee filter tongs unitasker, I’m starting to think we can fill the entire month of April with only coffee-related unitaskers. I already have an idea for next week’s item, which I actually own!

Thanks to reader Jess for leading us to a whole new world of coffee unitaskers.

28 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Pour some iced coffee on me”

  1. posted by Artemisia on

    I have often wondered – do your regular ice cubes taste a bit like coffee after using the tray for coffee cubes?

  2. posted by PDA on

    To be fair, the Bodum is a cold-brewing press. Coffee that’s steeped cold overnight rather than being heated is MUCH less acidic, which is crucial difference for some of us with sensitive stomachs.

  3. posted by Erin Doland on

    @PDA — Who knew?!! But, in your case, the iced coffee maker would be your only coffee maker, so the regular one would be useless. A little unitasker switcheroo!

    @Artemisia — I’ve never had that problem, but maybe some types of trays could?? I’ve used silicone and metal trays over the years and not had a problem with them.

  4. posted by Charlotte on

    I also use the Bodum cold brew coffee press to make iced coffee. It makes a large amount of iced coffee concentrate which you mix with water and is easier to do than brewing and straining in a different container. I can make enough for the week by brewing it once. Cold brewed coffee tastes very different than hot coffee which has been cooled down.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t own a regular coffee maker, but I could also used the press to make hot coffee if I wanted to. I would never in a million years purchase an iced tea maker, now those are unitaskers.

  5. posted by Helen on

    I think the only difference from a regular french press is that this has a lid for storing the coffee after you press/brew it. So not really a true unitasker. It would be used for both hot and iced and I could definitely see myself purchasing this, but not unless my current french press broke.

  6. posted by PDA on

    “in your case, the iced coffee maker would be your only coffee maker”

    Um… yeah. I did have to get rid of my stovetop espresso maker, which I loved with an ardor that surpasseth all understanding.

    I thought the Unitasker thing was for “tools that are only good for one thing which is either unnecessary or easily done with another, more useful tool.”

  7. posted by Erin Doland on

    @PDA — The only REAL unitasker selection rule is “Does it make Erin laugh?” But, I try to keep it within the bounds of “the average reader won’t have reason to buy this because it duplicates something they already own or because it has barely any utility.”

  8. posted by bradw on

    Our experience when freezing extra drip coffee in trays was that the coffee oils would stain the plastic trays to the point of contaminating them and making them not “clear water friendly”.

  9. posted by Melissa A. on

    I have a few different ice cube trays, not on purpose, just ended up with some. So the smaller ones I have used just for making coffee cubes, or for other frozen leftovers. Also, to make iced coffee I just put some coffee and water in a mason jar and refrigerate over night.

  10. posted by Karyn on

    It would probably be cheaper to have an extra ice cube tray dedicated to making coffee cubes than to buy the special “cute” coffee-bean cube tray. Regular trays make more cubes, too. 😉

    (Not a coffee drinker, but I keep a couple of ice cube trays for freezing lemon juice and lime juice so I always have tablespoon-sized portions on hand.)

  11. posted by gene on

    …I think you need a freezer too!

    “A basic ice cube tray and standard coffeemaker are all you need to make iced coffee that doesn’t get watered down.”

  12. posted by Jaimie on

    I briefly considered getting a cold press coffee maker such as the Bodum… but first I tried just mixing grounds with water, let sit in the fridge overnight, and strained to make iced coffee, and it worked fine. And it didn’t cost me $40. You really do not need a special coffee maker for cold brewed coffee.

  13. posted by coffee lover on

    okay….I think it is finally time to make cold-brewed coffee. It sounds yummy- anything with less acid is fine by me

  14. posted by writing all the time on

    @PDA and Charlotte – does the cold brewed coffee taste less bitter? I love the smell of coffee, can’t stand the actual taste. I won’t drink tea if the water tastes even vaguely of coffee. I’m intrigued by the idea of ‘nicer’ coffee.

    Might have to give it a try. Do you use a special grind, or type?

  15. posted by clothespin on

    I have a very sensitive bladder and the only form of coffee I can drink is low acid cold brew… I have the Toddy system, bigger but makes more at one go. Not sure which is better. Hubs uses a normal French press. The cold brew is much less bitter, but it is still coffee. i love it though!

    And, I also love my iced tea maker. Sure, it’s a unitasker, but one that gets used several times a week. Living in south Texas may have something to do with that though. Tea and cold coffee are a bit like air down here – just a required part of life.

    And honestly, I kind of like the coffee ice cube tray… no confusion of what to put in there. Could be fun for your next coffee club at the house…

  16. posted by Cerrissa on

    Oh man. I never realized how bad I am with coffee unitaskers. I own a drip machine, French press, afore mentioned ice tea maker (which you can make iced tea and coffee in & it’s instantly cold-which is kind of awesome), & probably the most ridiculous of all– a frappuccino machine. It’s essentially a drip coffee machine on top with a small blender as the bottom. I do actually use these, except the regular drip machine strangely. And I realize a frappuccino maker is slightly ridiculous, but so are $5 frappuccinos at Starbucks. *Sigh*

    For the love of coffee,

  17. posted by DivaJean on

    Coffee seems to be one of those foodstuffs that just inspires unitaskers- like bananas like bananas and eggs do. People become passionate about their daily bean juice and want to master it at some weird level.

  18. posted by ninakk on

    I’m wondering about the ice cube tray; would it be sturdier than normal ones without the flap thingies at the opening? I’ve tried silicone trays that are either shallow or deep and I still manage to overfill or the tray itself is wobbly. Only for the sake of the height do I find this tray intreaguing!

  19. posted by JustGail on

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of cold-brewing coffee. So, you just put the grounds into water at the normal ratio and let sit overnight in the refrigerator, then strain?

    Can it then be heated up? Just asking, as I don’t usually care for cold coffee, for some reason.

  20. posted by AmandaLP on

    I currently make cold brewed coffee with a 4:1 volume ratio of water to coffee. I make it in a half gallon mason jar, and stain with paper towels and a strainer. It makes about enough coffee for four days.

    I might actually ge the Boudum, as I like the lid for the iced coffee, and my previous French press made iced coffee much easier (it broke, which is why I don’t have it.)

  21. posted by DN on

    Ha–looks like today’s most will most certainly cause another spike in sales for the featured items! : ). I won’t be buying these items, but found the post and comments informative–had never heard of cold brewing coffee before, but with the warm weather approaching, I’m looking forward to trying this method for my iced coffees (usually I brew a pot and then let cool and keep in a glass container on the fridge to use over a few days).

  22. posted by JenF on

    You will need to pry my Bodum Bean Press from my cold, dead hands… I used to use a Toddy for cold-brew coffee (the only way I can drink it), but this one is less messy and more compact. It can be used for hot and cold brewing for both coffee and tea. The cube tray is cute, but I find if you make the coffee concentrate strong enough, there’s no need for coffee cubes, regular ice cubes are just fine.

  23. posted by Evan on

    Yeah, I’m a somewhat-new lurker, this is my first time posting here…but I’ll join the chorus who says that cold-brew coffee is a revolutionary idea. You don’t need a special press for it, though; just make sure you’re using the most coarse possible coffee grinds in a pitcher of water, let it sit overnight in the fridge, and then run it through a fine strainer (like a powdered sugar sieve) to strain out the coffee. Works pretty great, although I’m sure not quite as good as a $40 cold presser.

  24. posted by MizLoo on

    @ writing all the time
    I have a cold coffee brewer I got by mail from Community Coffee in New Orleans. I’ve used this method for about 40 years & many coffee drinkers have praised the result.

    It’s called a Toddy Coffee Maker & you steep the grounds in cold or filtered water overnight & strain through a felt filter. IT makes un-oily, clean tasting coffee. Can’t vouch for an antacid effect. But I love it.

  25. posted by LauraRN on

    I just keep learning more every day. So I’m going to put a bunch of coffee grounds with water in a jar, let sit overnight and strain to make iced coffee. Sounds like a plan, and will save time and many ice cubes in summer mornings.

    Erin– thanks for starting the discussion. Even “unitaskers” can serve to teach!!!!

  26. posted by Katey on

    This confirms that I’m a coffee ‘heathen’ as I only drink decaf instant coffee and I wouldn’t both with any of those things. To me iced coffee is a glass of cold skim milk with a teaspoon of instant coffee stirred into it. tee hee

    Tea on the other hand needs a proper pot, strainer and special spoons

  27. posted by Andy Chow on

    I have a regular French press that I’ve been using for years, and it works fine for cold-pressed coffee.

    If you buy a quality French press, it will easily last for several years. A cheap one might last a few times and then not filter correctly. Mine happens to be a Bodum, not that I care about the brand, but it does seem to be the reference.

    $40-60 for something you use every day for 4-5 years without problems? It’s not that expensive. The real unitasker are those expensive machines that only allow their capsules of overpriced coffee. You buy a product to be locked in to buying a product? (nespresso, tassimo, etc.)

    And cold pressed is much better than hot coffee cooled down. There’s no comparison.

  28. posted by lady brett on

    the iced coffee maker totally amuses me. i make my cold coffee in a jar. it’s a very pretty jar with a spout which i got at a thrift store for $3 and sometimes use for tea or juice.

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