How to Make Ice Brewed Coffee


We’ve already talked about the intricacies of the right procedure for crafting the perfect cup of pour over coffee. We spoke of freshly roasted beans, the perfect grind and water temperature. Perhaps I even scared some of you away with all the scales, talk of grams and timers. For those of you who are still with me, I’m back with more coffee talk. This time we’re brewing the perfect cup of iced coffee.



From what I found, New Orleans was the initiator of iced coffee. Although I imagine some Italian might want to argue against that. In their version they’d let coffee grounds along with ground chicory steep in water for at least 12 hours at room temperature before they strained it, and served a tall glass over ice with a healthy amount of milk or cream. Many people continue to drink it in this way and lucky for us, iced Toddy (as this method is referred to) or cold-brew coffee has made its way all over country. Some say this method eliminates some of the unwanted acidic or bright taste in coffee and gives a smooth, rich and full flavor.

Others scoff at this method urging that the iced method (I’ll explain in a second) is the only way to go. I’d take either but today we’re talking about brewing over ice.


The Iced Method

This method was originally created in Japan, and is favored by many as it allows the natural brightness and subtleties of the coffee to come through. Since we’ve already discussed the intricacies of the pour-over method, making iced coffee will be very easy. The basic idea is that you prepare the grounds in the same way as you would a pour over but you use half the amount of water as you would preparing a cup of hot coffee. The other half of the water is in the cup below in the form of ice. So when you are finished you have a perfectly chilled and balanced cup of iced coffee with all the same nuances and flavors that you would have gotten out of a hot cup of coffee.


The Recipe

The basic iced coffee recipe is as follows:

  • 1 ounce of freshly ground medium-fine coffee
  • 7 ounces ice
  • 8 ounces of nearly boiling water

Place the ice in the bottom of your Chemex or cup – depending on which method you are using. Then proceed as you would the pour over method. The resulting cup of coffee is perfectly chilled, bright, clean and completely refreshing. I like a splash of cream in mine and perhaps some agave or simple syrup but if you’re a purist forget I said that.


If you’re like me and you like the idea of crafting a simple syrup to sweeten your coffee, check out this post for a recipe and variations on that recipe.

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