Despite the ridiculous snowfall last week, it is officially iced coffee season here in Colorado. While I prefer hot coffee, I do occasionally thirst for a refreshing iced coffee on hot and sunny days.

photo courtesy of Simon Wright/Flickr

Because I usually drink iced coffee the way I drink regular coffee—with no milk or sugar—I find most conventional iced coffee to be bitter. Sometimes I add coconut water to my iced coffee to make it tastier—which I totally thought was a brilliant and unique idea until I discovered that it was not. But there are a few iced coffees I find light and nuanced in flavor, without adding anything to them. Blue Bottle’s cold brewed is particularly tasty, as is Stumptown’s, and the locally brewed and bottled Bottlerocket iced coffee from Boxcar is a fine on-the-go option that can be found in many specialty markets and cafes throughout Boulder and Denver.

While every specialty coffee shop or roastery has their own unique blend and method for making iced coffee, most are keen on the cold brewing method. Sometimes referred to as iced toddy, a cold brew is favored by many because it yields a less bitter, less acidic coffee. I can’t pretend to fully understand the science of it, but I do know that brewing ground beans with cold water and letting them steep overnight results in a lighter and tastier concentration than brewing hot coffee and just pouring it over ice.

Still, there are many cold brews I dislike. I find many of them to be too heavy, bitter, or even sour for my (apparently delicate and finicky) taste. This is why I usually end up ordering iced tea or chai when I’m out and feeling parched because I left my water bottle at home (water is the best thing ever). For me, iced coffee ultimately ends up not being as refreshing as it sounds.

But my coffee goal for this Spring and Summer is to find a local coffee shop that serves my ideal cold brew—one that I can drink black happily without any disappoints. At the moment, my favorite local cup of cold brew comes from Pablo’s Coffee, which has two locations in the Cap Hill neighborhood of Denver. Their cold brew is medium bodied and smooth; it lacks the stinging acidity and lingering heaviness that so many other iced coffees like to leave in my stomach. It’ll be fun exploring Denver and Boulder to find a cold brew that can beat Pablo’s. Yes, I do wish all my other goals were as frivolous and easy to endeavor as this coffee mission.

image courtesy of Pablo’s/Facebook

If you have a favorite local iced/cold brewed coffee, please share it with me! I’m eager to hear recommendations and try new coffees.