Iced coffee is tricky business. Making a refreshing summer coffee drink might sound easy, but it actually requires some technique. For best results, you can't just brew your coffee, pour it over ice and kazaam! Iced coffee is made! So, what is the best way to make iced coffee?
We knew that regardless of the method, the principles for brewing great coffee would be the same: clean water, proper grind size, proper brew temperature and, of course, great coffee. Our team discovered that temperature shock was a primary challenge, but we found that leaving the coffee at room temperature before icing or refrigerating had the best tasting results.
Each iced coffee method recommended below is suited for light and dark roasts and will bring out the attributes in each coffee. After months of testing, we present a few of our favorites and conclude that personal preference prevails, so try a few of our 2008 recipes and let us know what you think!
Method: French Press - Bodum - 34 ounce Coffee Press
Preparation: Use a coarse grind for your coffee. Boil water and set aside for 2 minutes to achieve the proper brew temperature (195-205 degrees Fahrenheit). Infuse ground coffee with hot water and wait for the coffee to steep for 4-5 minutes.
Brew Time: After the 4-5 minute steep, transfer brewed coffee to a glass or ceramic decanter and leave the brew at room temperature for 6 hours. Then add ice and serve or refrigerate the decanter.
Tasting Notes: The weight and texture of this method is unsurpassed and provides an almost espresso-like consistency. The temperature of the hot water used to brew the coffee is crucial to making a great French press for this iced coffee method. In addition, we found that delaying the transfer of the brewed coffee into another vessel produced a dramatically more bitter cup.
Method: Automatic Home Brewer - Black & Decker 12 cup VersaBrew 975 watts
Preparation: Use 1 unbleached paper filter, 1 well rounded tablespoon of ground coffee per cup of water and begin brewing.
Brew Time: Brew and leave coffee at room temperature, off the warming plate for 6 hours. Add ice and serve or refrigerate.
Tasting Notes: We found that the flavor produced from a home brewer with a paper filter was superior to that of a gold metal filter. The paper filter produced crisp and bright attributes, while the metal filter muted these same flavors and created an almost stale effect on the coffee. In addition, we strongly recommend using a home brewer with at least 850 watts of power to achieve the proper water temperature for brewing which heavily impacts the way the coffee tastes.
Method: Americano - La Marzoca Espresso Machine
Preparation: Pour a 1-ounce, properly prepared shot of espresso into 3 ounces of cool water and then add ice. Be sure to add the ice last to reduce the temperature shock for the espresso.
Brew Time: 30 seconds
Tasting Notes: This method requires a professional grade espresso machine, but the flavor of the espresso is well preserved and the crema is still in tact.
Method: Toddy Method - Cold Filter Press
Preparation: Using a Toddy brewer, combine 1 pound of ground coffee with 72 ounces of cold water. Let the coffee and water combination stay at room temperature for 24 hours and filter the grounds when the brew cycle is complete.
Brew Time:12 hours
Tasting Notes: A favorite method of preparation among our staff, the Toddy method produces a very mellow cup of iced coffee that can be stored as a concentrate for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Tasty treats to add to your iced coffee:
A traditional combination of water and sugar that mixes well with any iced coffee and reduces the amount of residual sugar found at the bottom of your iced coffee glass.
Preparation: Stir 1 part sugar into 1 part hot water (just off the boil) until it is dissolved.
Enjoy the extra added kick of our spiced cocoa with your iced summer coffee.
Preparation: Combine 3 ounces of Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa with Â¼ cup of hot water to make a chocolate paste. Add 1 tablespoon of the paste to ice and milk, then stir. Now add your favorite iced coffee and the Icy Spicy is ready to drink!
Frothy French Press Milk
A great way to add creamy texture to your iced coffee.
Preparation: Put desired amount of cold milk or half and half into a clean French press and plunge the filter up and down for 1-2 minutes. Unfortunately it doesn't work as well with soy or rice milk.
Photos by Ashley Symons