- On April 25, 2017
- Iced Coffee, Japanese Pour Over, Nitro Cold Brew
By: Austin Redington
Spring and summer are on the way, and for coffee shops around the world that means iced coffee season is upon us.
But are all iced coffees created equally?
Not even close. Three of the most common styles of iced coffee are served at our cafe: Cold brew -Japanese iced pour overs, and- Nitro cold brew coffee
Let’s talk about each of these methods, what makes them different, and how to know which one is right for you.
By far the most popular iced coffee, this brewing method has actually been around for quite a while. Cold brew iced coffee is made simply by grinding coffee very coarsely, and steeping it for between 18-24 hours using only cold water.
Because of the use of cold water and the long, slow steep time, this method produces a very concentrated, highly-caffeinated (more than 2 times more caffeine than your average coffee) beverage that is smooth, rich, and lower in acidity than other iced coffees.
This rich and smooth coffee beverage is easy to drink on its own or mixed with cream and sugar (if that’s your thing). Another huge advantage of cold brew, is that it can be stored easily and has a relatively long shelf life (up to a week). Take advantage of this by grabbing a growler on your next roadtrip! It even makes for a perfect, quick coffee fix at the office – just be sure to keep your growler of cold brew cool and in the fridge.
Iced Pour Over
For those interested in a more delicate and nuanced cup of iced coffee, this is the method for you. Iced pour overs are made just like they sound: using a pour over dripper (ex. Kalita Wave, Chemex, V60, etc.) to brew a small batch of coffee, directly over ice.
One of the most important differences here, is that we are brewing the coffee using hot water, which releases the more acidic, floral, and brighter notes of the coffee.
These flavors aren’t as pronounced in cold brew iced coffee, due to the cold water used during the brew process. Another characteristic of iced pour over coffee is its lighter body, color, and texture. When held up to the light, an iced pour over has a beautiful amber color to it, in contrast to the darker, cloudier, almost black looking cold brew. Because of the brighter flavors, we don’t typically suggest these for the cream & sugar focused – these brews are best enjoyed as they are.
Nitro Cold Brew
What happens when you take cold brew iced coffee and then carbonate it with nitrogen? Something that tastes like coffee, but pours and feels like a stout beer or even a Guiness.
The nitro carbonation gives regular cold brew a thick, creamy texture. It also makes the coffee look really cool, as the bubbles cascade downward in the glass after it’s poured.
Because this coffee has such an awesome texture and appearance, and is already refrigerated in its keg, it is typically served without ice. In addition, its thick texture and rich flavor make adding cream unnecessary and redundant.
At the end of the day (especially a warm sunny one), iced coffee from any of these methods can be delicious. Understanding the differences and characteristics of each is important though, in order to pick out the best one for you.
This iced coffee season at our Hyattsville Roastery, we’ll be having new classes, limited release iced coffee offerings, tastings, and much more!
Stay tuned and get ready to taste your way through a season’s worth of delicious, locally roasted, freshly brewed iced coffee!