Japanese Iced Coffee Method: Better Than Cold Brewing?

Japanese Iced Coffee Method: Better Than Cold Brewing?

Anjali Prasertong
Jun 16, 2011

Once the heat of summer descends, cold-brewed iced coffee is what gets me through the day. Its rich, clean flavor makes it worth the overnight steeping time. But according to the New York Times Magazine, the Japanese method of brewing iced coffee has it beat — because of cold-brewed coffee's one major flaw.

Some coffee aficionados say cold-brewed coffee becomes oxidized when it sits in the fridge, unlike the Japanese method which freshly brews each cup. Basically, the method involves making a pour-over cup of coffee, replacing about half of the water with ice, which goes directly into the brewing vessel. The hot coffee drips over the ice as it brews, melting the ice and quickly cooling down the liquid.

I gave the method a try in my Chemex coffee maker and was happy with the results; the iced coffee tasted fresh and balanced, and was just the right strength. This method doesn't seem very revolutionary — isn't a lot of iced coffee just extra-strong coffee poured over ice? — but making more careful measurements when replacing water with the equivalent amount of ice seemed to pay off. And brewing directly onto the ice is just smart.

Did it taste better than cold-brewed iced coffee? I didn't think so. But it took much less time to make and is undoubtedly a great last-minute iced coffee alternative to cold brew.

Read the article & get the recipe: On the Rocks at the New York Times Magazine

What's your favorite method for making iced coffee?

Related: Iced Coffee: Recipes, Tips, and Tricks

(Images: Anjali Prasertong; Flickr member thebittenword.com licensed under Creative Commons)

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