When it comes to cold coffee, three main methods prevail: iced coffee, Japanese iced coffee and cold brew.
Traditional iced coffee is usually made by adding ice, milk, syrup, sugar or even ice cream to hot brewed espresso or filter coffee. Traditional iced coffee is brewed hot, and therefore has the same flavour characteristics as your average cup of coffee, though being cold will let you perceive more sweetness, this is usually covered by the milk, whipped cream etc. often added to the drink.
Japanese iced coffee is made by brewing hot filter coffee directly over ice. A higher coffee to water ratio is used to compensate for dilution caused by the ice melting. Japanese iced coffee will share taste characteristics with hot brew, though in a cold and refreshing format. Sweet and acidic coffees work great as Japanese iced coffee, especially on a hot summer day when you want your caffeine fix but don’t feel like something hot. Pour over cones like the Hario V60 and the Aeropress work great for this type of beverage, just up your coffee by a few grams, or use slightly less water to brew.
Cold brew coffee is made either by dripping iced water through a bed of coffee and a filter, or by immersing coffee in iced water for a prolonged period, often 12 – 16 hours. Because cold brew is made using cold water, it has very low acidity, making it suitable for those with stomach conditions. Cold brew also has a very different taste profile compared to the same coffee brewed hot; for this reason, we think cold brew is the most interesting cold coffee.
Cold brew is great simply over ice, or with a touch of full fat milk poured over the top. However, cold brew is usually very concentrated, and so you may choose to water it down with milk or water. If you find yourself travelling often, cold brew can be a great way to take good coffee with you, seeing as you can dilute it 1:1 with cold or hot water – ideal for avoiding instant coffee on the go.
To make cold brew at home, Hario makes a great Cold Brewer that is easy to set up and clean - you can buy it from us here. Alternatively, use a Kilner jar with a coffee to water ratio of 200g coffee to 1L water (this is a lot of coffee, but don’t forget the coffee is double concentrated!)
Choose the right coffee and grind it to a medium finish. We can highly recommend our Colombia Finca La Greda which tastes awesome as a cold brew (if we do say so ourselves!)
Pour a mixture of ice and water over the coffee, stir, seal and let brew in the fridge for 12 – 16 hours.
Patience is a virtue and the finished drink will be very tasty indeed, either black or with a drop of milk.