As summer begins to roll in, we're often approached by customers who enjoy iced coffee, but still haven't quite cracked a method for home brewing that is both easily accomplished and delicious. While the principle of brewing iced coffee seems very simple, it can be frustrating to find a way to adequately cool the coffee, but have it maintain the flavor you're expecting from the individual coffee.
There are a few popular methods for iced coffee preparation.
The first, and currently trendiest, is cold brewing. There are some benefits to the cold brew method, most of which have to do with consistency and ease of use. You add coffee, add cold water, steep for a day or so, and filter. The end product of a cold brew is often syrupy, very sweet, and extracts deeper sugars from the roasted coffee.
The downside to cold brewing is that with the use of cooler water, you end up losing solubility in the coffee, which in turn leads to you losing nuance and the brighter, more floral origin-specific character. Most cold brew coffee tastes the same, and is not a great reflection of the origin of a coffee. This is why we do not cold brew in our shops.
The method we've come to favor for iced coffee both in our cafes and at home is what's commonly referred to as the Japanese Method.
With this method, rather than brewing with cold water, you brew normally with hot water, in a concentrate, directly over ice. Because you are using hot water, you maintain solubility of the coffee, which means you can extract the full potential of nuance and flavor from the coffee. The ice in the carafe will flash chill the coffee, locking in those flavors, and presenting you with an iced coffee that is just as expressive and dynamic as a hot brew.
Below is our basic method for brewing iced coffee on a home filter coffee maker. The same guidelines can be applied to nearly any filtered brewing method.
Before we begin, here are the measurements of each component that we’ll be using:
Coffee Dose: 83g
Brew Water: 600g
Start by measuring out 83g of fresh, whole bean coffee.
You’ll want to fill your coffee maker’s water reservoir to the 4 cup mark (or 600g of water.)
You’ll then want to fill your carafe with an equivalent amount of ice to the water in the reservoir. On a scale, this would be 600g of ice (or as close as you can get!)
Grind your coffee slightly finer than you would for a normal 5 cup batch of hot coffee. Generally, about 2 clicks finer than your average hot drip grind. You may need to adjust grind to taste based on your individual grinder.
And then… you brew!
Once complete, swirl the coffee vigorously, or transfer to a pouring carafe (we like serving from a Chemex or other glass pitcher), and serve the coffee over ice.
If brewed correctly, the coffee should be sweet, clean, and full of character. If you are experiencing a lack of definition, try adjusting the grind size.
As always, feel free to get in touch with any brewing difficulties or questions. We're happy to help.