Iced Coffee: A Love Affair

I am having an affair with Iced Coffee. There is something about Iced coffee that I just don’t get from hot coffee. The way I perceive its flavors and aromas is almost as if they were hidden and I can’t seem to find them. This makes of every cup of iced coffee an intricate and exciting opportunity. A hot cup of coffee is very revealing: in one sip it is easy (or easier I should say) to pick up on flavor notes and aromas. Sweetness I find is also more easily detected in warm coffee. All these are present in iced coffee but it seems they are locked away, hidden under a temperature layer that if only elevated these would be obvious. I think this is the reason some people don’t like Iced Coffee. It masks a lot of what coffee is. Our palates are not very adept when dealing with extreme temperatures. Just like a very hot cup of coffee is hard to judge, ideal drinking temp being around 150F, so is an iced one. Extreme temperatures hinder our taste buds making it hard to appropriately understand an iced cup of joe. If you think about it, nobody really drinks “really hot” coffee, although many people seem to think they do. In fact the temperature coffee should be extracted at, and therefore served close to, is far to hot for our tongues to even bear, let alone enjoy. Yet it is possible, and in fact common, for people to drink coffee that is cold enough to inhibit our taste buds yet not cold enough to be undrinkable. Conundrum.

Back to my affair with Iced Coffee. I mostly brew my iced coffee in a single cup pour over using a half dose of water for the coffee and a metal Kone filter. Instead of using 60g/L, I use 60g/500mL. I then place 500g of ice into a pitcher and brew my coffee onto the ice. I have to say, although ok, I am not entirely convinced with this method. Even if the entirety of the ice were to melt creating an “appropriate” ratio, the coffee bed remains under extracted and the brew is therefore weak. Yet I brew it this way because of convenience.

I think the elusive characteristic I look for in iced coffee is superb body. That thick, syrupy mouthfeel a good iced coffee should have. I have found that this characteristic is not present in my current brew method and the only method I have found it in is the full immersion “Toddy” style. The Kyoto drippers seem to have more clarity but I think they still lack some depth in body. So, if anybody has any ideas, suggestions, comments on Iced Coffee, I would love to hear them.

P.S. I have been using brown sugar and heavy cream to doctor up my morning iced brews. Its quite amazing. I tried using honey, agave, Demerara, and cane and none compare to dark brown sugar. Milk is to watery for the consistency I want in iced coffee. Cream seems to be better, although I wish there were something thicker than cream.


One Response to “Iced Coffee: A Love Affair”
  1. fabian11 says:

    This just popped into my head: What if you make a more potent coffee drink simply by reducing (boiling for a long time) brewed coffee? Would this kill some of the oils, and beneficial substances?

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