BREWING GUIDE: ICED COFFEE
Ahhhh, summertime in Nashville. It gets hot. Iced coffee is our daily respite.
This guide is for brewing iced coffee in what's known as the Japanese Method --brewing coffee hot over ice. We recommend the Japanese Method because using heat is the best way to extract coffee's vivid flavors and aromatics, which are locked in immediately by the ice. In the other camp are those that brew coffee using cold water over an extended time, known as cold brew.
Oliver Strand of the New York Times said it best when he summed up the debate between the two methods: "Cold brew might have the popular vote, but ice brew is bigger with the pundits." For further reading on the differences between the techniques and why brewing hot over ice is preferred by the pundits, we recommend reading Peter Giuliano's post here.
Let's brew some coffee!
Rinse Chemex filter with hot water and discard water. Weigh the proper amount of ice into the Chemex and replace filter (positioning the three folds toward the spout).
Weigh out appropriate amount of coffee. Fill kettle and heat water.
GRIND AND WEIGH
Grind coffee, about as course as kosher salt. Weigh out coffee into Chemex per recipe. Create deep divot in center of Chemex bed with finger. Tare scale. Just before boiling, remove kettle and let water settle.
Start timer and pour enough water to just saturate coffee bed. Let bloom, or expand, for 30-45 seconds. Allowing the coffee to bloom ensures even water dispersion and a delicious cup. Pro tip: try to use the least possible amount of water to cover all coffee grounds.
Pouring slowly in concentric circles, add enough water to raise slurry about halfway up the cone. Continue adding water slowly in stages, submerging the crust as you go. After crust has dissipated, pour into center of Chemex, raising the level of the slurry if needed toward the end in order to add all water in appropriate time. For the 3-4 cup recipe try to add all water by 3-3:30 minutes.
Pro tip: Since you are using more coffee when making iced coffee in the Chemex, you will have to pour faster and keep your coffee bed a little higher that when brewing hot coffee to achieve the same final brew time.
Once you’ve added all water, give it a shallow stir and let drain (aiming for flat or slightly domed coffee bed). Total brew time should be 4:30-4:50.
SERVE AND ENJOY!
Remove filter and serve. Enjoy!
As with any pour-over, the water level will greatly affect how your extraction progresses, the larger Chemex is more susceptible to heat loss because of the large surface area the cone creates. Also, flow rates can be a bit slower than other pour-over methods, which is why we use a coarser grind. However, if you find your extraction is taking too long, you can speed things up by raising your kettle and pouring into the center of the cone. Naturally, this produces more agitation, so use this technique with discretion.