Cold Brew and Hopped Toddy with Mondo Rodriguez

Last Week, Melealoha Redoble interviewed Mondo Rodriguez about the process he uses to make the Cold Brewed Coffee that they serve at The Swell Cafe. She also took some cool pics. Here is the interview she wrote about the process of making the beverage!

It was fun getting to sit down with Armando Rodriguez (he likes to go by Mondo!) and chat about how he brews  the cold brew for our cafe. He not only shared the process with me, but encourages everyone to try this at home! Your grinder won’t be as nice, or your tank as shiney, but it will likely taste great!

Mele: What makes Swell Cold Brew the Best?

Mondo: There is a lot of good high quality cold brew in San Diego, but I like our level of concentration and we’re not serving it on nitro. I prefer to just taste the coffee taste itself, rather than mess with the Nitro, but that is just me. There is plenty of great brew out there, produced both with and without gasses, or other ingredients.

Q: How long have you been serving cold brew?

A: Since the beginning of Swell Coffees, but we are really excited about our new system and our new experiments. We are looking forward to releasing our hopped toddy shortly, and the flavors are simply amazing! I’m not a professional brewer, so learning about hops is a new adventure


adding cascade, citra and comet hops….. our latest favorite hop profile!

Mele: Thats really cool! What hops are you using! How do you even find them!

Mondo: We buy our hops from the home-brew mart right now. We use Hopunion whole leaf hops, and we are still playing with different hop profiles. I’d like to pattern one toddy after West Coast IPA, and maybe others after Belgian or Stout sales. there are so many different flavors and aromas in different hops!

Q: What is your brew ratio?

A: 1 pound of course ground coffee to 1 gallon of filtered water. This is the same on a small system. We use a customized mashtun from Stout Tanks in Portland, Oregon, and still use the same ratio.

Q: Do you make a decaf version? If no, would you consider it for future development?

A: No decaf at the moment but if there was enough demand then we will consider it. Another option we would think about is having small filtrons available for home use. The smaller systems are easy, and fun to use.


Filtron System for test batches

Q: What is your favorite or most enjoyable part of the cold brew process?

A: Experimenting. I enjoy learning. No matter how much I learn there is always more questions to ask!

Q: What type of grinder do you use?

A: Be jealous! We have a Malkoenig EK34 with a current setting at 17. I love this grinder. It is so fast and consistent!


Q: What coffees are you using in the hopped toddy cold brew?

A: Currently, we are using a chocolatey foundation of Mexican coffee from Ixhuatlan Del Cafe (IPcoffees) and Brazilian coffees from Chapadao de Ferro (Interamerican coffees), for a big body and sweetness.  We add a natural processed Yirgacheffe (Interamerican coffees) for added fruity acidity with berry and citrus notes. I think it is a balanced blend, that translates well in this extraction format.

Q: What are the benefits of cold brew?

A: It’s refreshing! It’s definitely a nice touch on hot, sunny days. It also tastes amazing with syrups, milk, or just plain black. Get yo fix on!