Some of you may have recently seen an update of our Quick + Easy Iced Coffee video. If you’ve watched it, you’ll notice that, other than a canine guest star, the video isn’t dramatically different from the last one. The steps are almost the same, but there’s just one crucial difference: when we add ice. Does such a slight change really make an impact on taste? We think so!
To explain why, first’s let’s review how this process works.
Unlike brewing methods that use room temperature or cold water in combination with longer brew times, this method is done quickly with hot water. Hot water not only speeds up the brew time, but also allows us to perceive more of the flavors that are unique to individual coffees. If you’re drinking a delicious washed Ethiopian coffee, you want to be able to taste some of the nice citrus and floral characteristics it has even if you’re drinking it cold.
If we just add ice to normally brewed hot coffee, that would make it taste thin and weak. We need to make a concentrate, so that when we add ice to make it cold it will also dilute the brew to a pleasant strength. In our previous video, we brewed directly onto ice in our carafe. When hot coffee hits the ice it “locks in” good aromatics and flavors. The thing is, though, when we brew hot coffee, we’re not drinking it less than a second after it’s brewed—or, essentially, while it’s brewing. So we generally don’t experience in hot coffee some of the things “locked in” when brewing directly onto ice.
After several rounds of blind taste tests and evaluations, we’ve come to significantly prefer adding ice after we brew our concentrate. An important distinction to make here is that this preference is mainly focused on when the beverage is consumed right after it’s made. If the coffee is going to be stored in the fridge for a period of time, we’ve noticed that the taste differences are less significant. Even here, though, we have a slight preference for adding ice afterwards.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that we don’t believe the old way is broken. Brewing directly onto ice will still make a tasty, cold, and refreshing beverage. That said, at Counter Culture we’re always looking for ways push the potential of quality. We believe the newer method tastes better, and we think you will as well. Try it out and let us know!