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Black Medicine Frequently Asked Questions

What is Black Medicine?

Black Medicine Iced Coffee is a ready-to-drink beverage, made from brewed coffee and a small amount of Vitamin C.
The custom brewing process that we have developed results in an iced coffee that is very smooth and free of bitterness compared to others brewed by traditional methods.

How does it taste best?

Pour it over ice and enjoy!
Nothing more is needed. Some people may prefer to add cream or sugar (to our straight iced coffee) which you may do if you prefer that taste. But there is no bitterness and it is so smooth that many find themselves able to drink their iced coffee "black" for the first time.

Is it the same as cold-brewed coffee?

No, we do not brew Black Medicine cold.
It would actually be easier for us to brew it cold, but numerous blind tastings have shown us that while cold brewing can be delicious, the process inevitably leaves some of the good parts of the coffee bean un-extracted. You need the hot water to get all of the goodness out.

Why is it so strong?

The custom brewing process that we have developed results in a product that is very smooth and free of bitterness compared to coffee brewed by traditional methods.
We have found that we can increase the concentration of Black Medicine while retaining the smooth taste. That not only enhances the intensity of the coffee taste, it also increases the amount of caffeine that you get in a serving. Black Medicine is about 50% stronger than other coffee -- that means 50% more flavor and also 50% more caffeine.

Where do your coffee beans come from?

Black Medicine is based on a blend of different coffee beans.
Since coffee is a seasonal product, as a season ends somewhere in the world we may need to substitute a new bean from one that is no longer available. At the present time, the Black Medicine blend is based on beans from Africa, South America, and Central America. But we are willing to use beans from all over the world as long as they fit into the taste profile we have defined for Black Medicine.

Do you use Organic or Fair Trade beans?

We choose our beans based on taste.
Currently, one of the three beans in the blend is certified Organic. As a general practice, all of our coffee suppliers use organic growing methods and fair trading practices, but very often cannot afford to become certified. Our goal is to produce the best product we can, regardless of certifications.

Do you use dark-roasted beans?

Our roast profile is optimized for beans that will taste best when brewed cold.
Compared to most other coffee, and especially to cold-brew, Black Medicine Iced Coffee is usually regarded as fruit-forward. We select that profile because we think it tastes better when served over ice. To bring out the fruit in our coffee beans, we roast them lighter than most others...anywhere from a light to a medium roast level.

How do you make Black Medicine Iced Coffee?

It is important to realize that a roast profile that is good for hot coffee is probably not the best if you plan to drink it iced.
It is also true that the best beans for hot coffee are not necessarily the best for iced coffee. All of our coffees are cupped cold, not hot as is normally done in the coffee business. Other traditional principles for brewing good coffee do apply, though; keep the brewing time short because high temperatures ultimately transform the flavor, and keep oxygen away from the end product as much as possible. We have therefore developed a selection of beans combined with a roast profile that is optimized for serving iced coffee, not hot coffee.
FIrst we make a concentrate that tastes almost as good as coffee that is fresh-brewed. Although we experimented with cold brewing, it was immediately obvious that cold brews have a distinctive taste which lacks complexity. Brewing hot is necessary if you want to extract all of the flavor components in the bean. This is true even if you wish to serve the coffee cold -- making iced coffee does not require cold brewing. In fact, we found that this brewing process is especially suited to iced coffee.
When we are ready to bottle, we dilute the concentrate to make a very intensely-flavored product. The strength of our product is determined by taste tests -- as strong as we can make it while keeping it smooth and free of bitterness. We bottle everything at our own factory in order to give the consumer the freshest product possible.