James Hoffman’s Iced Coffee method

A few people were asking on twitter about my iced coffee method (technique seems a little too much promise for something so simple).

I’m still trying to work out cold brewing (i.e. brewing using cold water), and since I read Peter Giuliano talking about the Japanese iced coffee method that has been a method of choice.

The idea with this is to brew double strength coffee straight onto ice.  As the ice melts it chills and dilutes the coffee back to more normal strengths.

Often this is done with pourover or filter brewers.  The problem I had with this is that as you double the amount of coffee to your amount of water then it is going to be harder to properly extract it as you have less brewing liquid.  You can certainly grind finer but I found the window of tasty a bit too narrow.

So recently I’ve been starting with a french press brew.  I like the french press for this because it isn’t as sensitive to dose because it is an infusion rather than a percolation.  You have a better chance of hitting a 19% extraction (in my very limited experience) with less brew water available, when working at very high ratios (120g/l).

However, I don’t really like sludge in my iced coffee.  So I’ve chosen to filter it before it hits the ice.  So for now here is the recipe I used today to make coffee for all of us in a very hot roastery:

– 80g of coffee ground coarsely. (But not too coarsely)

– Add 660g of hot water (around 92-93C is good)  I’d recommend preheating the brewer as normal.

– A quick stir then a 4 minute steep.  You could steep for longer if your grind is coarser but the heat loss starts to bother me.

– At 4 minutes stir the crust on top, then scoop off the remaining foam.  It may seem pointless to go through this if the brew is going to be filtered anyway – but you want the least possible fines to block the cloth and let that part be as quick as possible.

– Plunge and leave for a moment.  Again – fines settle and are less likely to clog up the cloth.

– Find a large vessel, and add 660g of ice.

– Find a clean cloth, like those used in woodneck drip pots.

– Pour the press pot through the cloth directly onto the ice.

– Clean the cloth.  Clean the press pot.  Enjoy the coffee.

You could use a paper filter to clean up the brew – a V60 or Chemex filter maybe.  I love cloth though – I love a cloth pourover already.  I love the enhanced mouthfeel and intensity – had a lovely, juicy sweet cup today that I really enjoyed.

I quite fancy playing with the aeropress next, which I haven’t really done with cold/iced coffee.


By: James Hoffman (July 27, 2010)

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