I just went to the Blue Bottle Cafe on a break and bought a cup of their Kyoto style, iced coffee. It is the one that is made with that steam punk-ish contraption that slowly drips water through about a pound of coffee over 8 hours. http://www.chow.com/pick/5596
The stuff tastes pretty unique. I've had cold brewed iced coffee before (my first was at the 1369 Coffee House in Cambridge, MA http://www.1369coffeehouse.com/ ), but this one is a bit more complex -- many, many more rich, even sweet -- aftertastes. The Blue Bottle people say that it has a bourbon-like taste to it. (mmmm, kind of. But it certainly is still coffee)
First sip it tasted a bit like regular ol' iced coffee. But I kind of see what they mean. It does have some very round flavors to it. It has a taste a bit like a round, smooth whiskey sandwiched in between the bracingly bitter coffee flavor. Quite nice.
I'd even say that the effects of the caffeine are a little different. As I've now made it through half of the cup, it hits me a little more like strong tea than strong coffee. You know how too many shots of espresso or too much coffee can kind of take over, making you jittery, nervous and energetic from the outside in. This is more of an inner, mellow caffeine rush.
This could be all in my head, but aren't many if not all effects from good drinks highly subjective? I am easily sucked in by bight lights and pretty things, but there is something about knowing that this coffee I've got in my hand came out of this contraption that makes it taste better too. If you have time and aren't distracted by their other vacuum-brewing, halogen heated coffee contraption, take a look at this thing. It slowly, about once every 5 seconds, drips one drop of filtered water through the coffee grounds and down into a beaker. This coffee brew comes out so dark black and sweet smelling that it is definitely worth a try.
I am definitely glad I wandered through the allies behind the old mint building to get a cup of this stuff today, but not quite sure it's worth the $3.50 they charge. I am just as happy with one of Blue Bottle Cafe's individually dripped coffees and can't wait to try their single origin shots of espresso made on their older hand-pulled machine.