Making Iced Coffee

As the wind picks up and the evening gets colder, I decided to go against the grain and make some cold brew. Some have the patience to put water in grounds and let that mess soak for a few hours (or longer). I have no such patience. I pulled out my trusty Chemex, added ice, and got to work.

Iced Chemex

The purist would say “You are NOT cold brewing.” They would be right. I’m making iced coffee. I’ve seen this called the “Japanese Method” for iced coffee. I don’t really care what it’s called as the end result is delicious no matter what.

There’s some science to it, but basically it comes down to brewing the coffee hot, then cooling it as fast as possible. In other words: blanching coffee. There are a few step-by-steps out there that recommend putting your Chemex in a bowl of ice and hope it doesn’t fall over. I’m not one to risk my precious like that. If you want to brew using ice, as long as you take the melted ice into account for brewing ratios you’ll be fine.

The only difference between this and making coffee normally is you’re using less hot water and you have ice in the bottom. I typically fill a growler with the stuff, throw it in the refrigerator, and take it with me to work the next day:


I made this in two batches, but the ratios were the same:

  • 50 grams of coffee
  • 830 grams of water:
    • 290 grams of ice in the bottom
    • 540 grams of hot water poured over

You want your iced coffee a bit strong because you’re going to put ice in it again when you drink it. As for the coffee used: “Divino Niño” from Costa Rica by way of Blue Bottle. They describe it as such:

With four generations of farming experience behind him, Mauricio Vindas is off to great start at Divino Niño. Since purchasing the 12-hectare farm in 2009 (he worked as a cook to save up the money), he's planted more than 5,000 Caturra and Catuai trees. This year, thanks to some meticulous picking and processing, Divino Niño nabbed its first Cup of Excellence award. The name "Divino Niño" is a tribute to Mauricio's son, whom he believes emerged from a childhood sickness with a bit of divine help. Now in his early teens, Mauricio Jr. is a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica -- and, we're willing to bet, a ball of energy.

Brew method: Iced (Chemex)