Photos and GIFs by Liz Barclay
Ice coffee seems like a pretty laid-back beverage, but it’s also one of the most divisive. For every enthusiast who drinks a Big Gulp’s worth of the stuff every day of the year, there’s a stickler who thinks iced coffee is a seasonal, and another who think that the whole category is an abomination that should be avoided at all costs.
Among folks who think of their daily cup(s) of joe as more than just a caffeine injection, the apprehension about a lot of iced coffee is that it is, by its nature, old coffee. Take cold brew, which many coffee shops are happy to sell you for four bucks a pop: It’s just coffee grounds and water that have been left to sit around for 12 hours or more. While it’s got a sweet, chocolatey flavor that some people enjoy, it tends to mask the unique qualities of different beans.
So the question is, how do you make a fresh iced coffee? To find out, we swung by Everyman Espresso (301 West Broadway; no phone, everymanespresso.com) to talk to get a tutorial from owner Sam Penix. It didn’t take him long to convince us to step our game up. No more overhyped cold brew, and no more muddy, stale sludge from the deli.
Penix recommends a Japanese-style iced coffee, which preserves the aromatics and nuances of the beans you’re using while still leaving you with a cooling cup. The general concept is simple: You are using the same ratio of water to coffee as you would for a regular hot coffeee, but some of that water is in the form of ice. Ultimately, you could use any brewing method you like—Aeropress, Chemex, French press, etc.—but you’ll get the best results if you brew directly onto the ice, cooling the coffee as you go.
So, if you want to CliffsNotes version of this lesson, here it is: Good iced coffee is all about ratios—whichever method you’re using to brew, scale back on the water you use to compensate for the ice, then pour your brew directly onto the ice. With that trick alone, you’ll be sipping tastier iced coffee, guaranteed.
But if you’re ready to get a little nerdy and take your iced-coffee game to the next level, you can follow Penix’s step-by-step pour-over tutorial, explained below and demonstrated in animated GIFs at the top of the page.
How to Make a Japanese-Style Iced Coffee, the Everyman Espresso Way
Tools you need:
* Any type of brewer, though you’ll get best results with a pour-over method. For this tutorial, Penix used a Kalida Wave.
* A standard paper coffee filter.
* A scale (for everyday home use, Penix recommends an Escalis scale, available at most kitchen stores for $20–$30)
* A coffee kettle if you have one, but you don’t need to be that fancy—Penix says that when he’s traveling, he’ll use a standard measuring glass with a thin spout that makes it easy to pour slowly and precisely.
* Timer (or clock/iPhone/whatever)
Ingredients you need:
30g finely ground coffee (should have the consistency of cracked pepper)
To make more, just scale the proportions accordingly.
Total brew time: 4 minutes
Place your brewing system on the scale and fill it with 200g of ice. Then, add the 30g of coffee to the filter and set your timer for 4 minutes. Begin pouring hot water over the grounds in a circular motion—this is called the “bloom,” where the goal is simply to saturate all the grounds evenly without much coffee dripping into the brewer yet. Once they’re well-soaked, leave them for 1 minute to absorb the water. After a minute is up, keep pouring the water slowly and in a circular motion—you can get as nerdy as you like when it comes to techniques for drawing out the brew time (here’s a Chemex brewing tutorial from Stumptown), but the real goal is to just pour slowly to keep the grounds wet (but not flood the filter) until you reach the four minute mark. See the GIFs above to get a sense of what this process should look like.
Once four minutes is up and you’ve added all 300g of hot water, you’ll be left with a fresh cup of coffee that’s ready to drink—pour it over some more ice if you like a colder-than-room-temperature beverage, add milk if you like, and enjoy.
RELATED: The Complete Guide to Iced Coffee