A room temperature method for synthesizing zeolitic imidizolate framework 71 (ZIF-71) is described. The methanol-based synthesis results in >95% yields (based on Zn) and produces crystals with 70% greater surface area than reported earlier. Ethanol uptake into the ZIF compares favorably with a recent modeling-based study. Water uptake was significantly higher than model predictions. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2011.