As the temperature in Phoenix begins to climb, iced coffee becomes a popular go-to beverage. Coffee is one of the few drinks that can play both sides of the temperature gauge— it’s great both hot and iced. But while most consumers are comfortable brewing a hot cup at home, very few are familiar with the cooler side of the spectrum.
A properly brewed iced cup of coffee should be refreshing, complex and revitalizing. Certain notes will become more pronounced on the palate, while others are diminished. All coffees can be consumed cold but some particularly shine in certain preparations. I am partial to naturally processed Ethiopian coffees. If you enjoy fruit bomb red wines, be sure to try one of these from your local specialty roaster.
There are countless ways to prepare an iced cup of coffee. Here we will limit the discussion to three methods: cold brew, AeroPress, and Japanese iced.
Cold brew, as the name implies, is brewed without heat. It can rest on your counter or chill in the fridge. Typical brew time is 20 – 24 hours and the best ratio is 10 ounces of water per one ounce of coffee. If you were to use a coarsely ground 12-ounce bag of coffee you would want 120 ounces of water, which is eight ounces short of a gallon. Let the coffee and water sit together in a covered, clean container. When the brew time is complete, pour through a filter and refrigerate. Cold brew will keep for at least 30 days if kept cold and in a clean container. And while most commercially available cold brew is over extracted and uses burnt coffee, properly made cold brew should have low acidity, high caffeine and a medium body.
The AeroPress is a device that incorporates pressure for a faster and cleaner brew. It was invented in 2005 and retails for around $30— which is a steal. This device can brew coffee in countless ways, including a super clean and sparkly hot coffee, Kyoto style cold drip, and even four minute cold brew. Instructions and demonstrations can be found all over the internet but my favorite AeroPress recipe yields an espresso-like shot that can be enjoyed tremendously over ice. To brew, add 20 finely ground grams of your favorite coffee to the AeroPress with the plunger set just above the number 3. Add 185 degree water up to an inch from the top and stir 10 times to ensure there are no clumps. Add slightly more water to reach just below the top and plunge for 20 seconds over ice. Stop when you hear the hissing sound, do not press the plunger completely to the bottom. Add more ice to fill the cup and enjoy what I consider to be the best cup of coffee in the world. It gets even better as the ice melts and begins to mimic the mouthfeel of condensed milk.
The final brewing method we should explore is Japanese iced. This essentially is coffee brewed hot and immediately chilled with ice. It is best exhibited in a full immersion method using a Clever dripper or French press— as long as you pour it through a filter after brewing. Regardless of your brewing method of choice the key is to replace water with ice in the overall ratio. If you would normally use 32 grams of coffee and 575 grams of water you would replace 200 grams of water with 200 grams of ice. This is the key to ensuring you do not end up with an overly strong or watered down finished cup.
Regardless of which method you choose, the best ways to hone your cold coffee skills is to practice and adjust your method until you can consistently make a bright and refreshing cup every time.
And one more tip: If you are having to add cream or sugar something is going wrong—and it’s usually the coffee you’re buying! Find a local specialty roaster and start exploring great coffee.
Written by:Andrew Robertson, Press Coffee
Andrew Robertson, district manager with Press Coffee is a coffee expert and teaches Press Coffee’s 101 coffee classes. Press has been Arizona’s own local coffee roaster since 2008. Quality driven and community focused, Press shares its passion for specialty coffee by providing the highest quality coffee products, service and knowledge with customers and community every day. Press Coffee has eight Valley locations in Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix and Chandler. Visit Press Coffee online at presscoffee.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @presscoffee.