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Tips for brewing delicious iced coffee at home

Our Head Barista Tsubasa recently shared Kurasu's most recent iced coffee brew guide on our YouTube channel and blog. On today's video Kurasu's Marketing Team Shoko have some questions about the tips and tricks to brewing iced coffee that she would like to discuss with Tsubasa. We hope that their discussion can give you insight on how to up your iced coffee game. Let's go!  

Checkout YouTube video

Amount and grind size of coffee:

Q: "When brewing iced coffee, why do we use more coffee bean with finer ground size, compared to hot coffee recipes? Won't we get stronger coffee just by using less water during the brewing process?"

A: Firstly, with hot coffee recipe, we are able to extract all of the coffee's flavors with 200 grams of water. If we were to extract the same coffee bean with only 150 grams of water, all of the flavors inside the coffee bean will not be extracted (as shown on the image below). 

If we adjust the grind size, so we will be able to extract all of the goodness with only 150 grams of water. 

Secondly, why we need to increase the amount of coffee even after adjusting the grind size is because we want to adjust the balance of coffee after the ice has melted. 

In short, grinding finer will bring out the full flavor of the coffee and increasing the amount is to balance the concentration level. 

How to adjust the taste of coffee:

Q: "When brewing iced coffee, it often turns out weak and bland. How can we fix this?"

A: If your coffee is weak, but the flavor is overall balanced, simply use more coffee beans in your brew. However, if you find that your coffee is weak and lacking in flavor, try adjusting the try grinding finer

Q: ”What if it's too strong and dark?"

A: Please try adjusting the grind size and make it coarser. Grinding coarser will help if your coffee is too strong or is taking too long to drip down. 

Ice x Concentration level:

Q: "Is there a reason why you put ice in the coffee server first, before you begin brewing the iced coffee?"

A: There are various reasons but one of it is the 'cream down effect'. The liquid will be visually cloudy, in the taste you will find astringency, and an unpleasant mouthfeel. The combination of caffein and tannin creates this unpleasantness. One of the reason that this happen is due to the gradual cooling down process of coffee. To chill down the coffee quickly with ice cubes in the coffee server will help avoid this 'cream down effect' taking place. 

Q: "Why does all the ice cubes inside the coffee server have to melt before serving the coffee?"

A: The ice acts as the final pour in the regular pour-over recipe for hot coffee. The final pour is meant to adjust the taste and balance of the coffee. Sticking to the recipe's ratio will produce delicious coffee.

Additionally, although serving the coffee inside a thermos tumbler will help preserve the flavors consistency, serving the iced coffee inside a glass full of ice will of course help preserve the cold temperature, but you can also enjoy the different stages of coffee as the ice melts inside the glass. 

Pointers for blooming:

Q: "Any tips or pointers regarding blooming techniques?"

A: Yes! According to Kurasu's pour-over recipe, we use 14 grams of coffee for hot brew and 16 grams of coffee for iced coffee, but we use the same amount of water during the blooming phase (40 grams of water). It is really important to pour hot water on the coffee bed evenly and to make sure all the coffee grounds comes in contact with water. Agitate with the help of a spoon if you need to! 

How to brew 2 cups of iced coffee:

Q: "What if you want to brew 2 cups of coffee at once?"

A: Simply double everything! With Kurasu's current recipe, the ratio will be 
Coffee: 32g (it's okay to keep grind size the same)
Ice cubes: 140g
Hot water: 300g 

1st pour: 80g of hot water (instead of 40g) 
2nd pour: 120g of hot water (instead of 60g) 
3rd pour: 100g of hot water (instead of 50g) 
*complete each pour in in 12-13 seconds.

Q: "If you have a single serve recipe you like, but it does not taste as good when doubled?"

A: In this case, the grind size is not the problem, as it normally taste good in a single serve. Try changing the way you pour the hot water, you might need to pour more aggressively. Also, if the drip time is taking too long, try implementing a center pour instead of a circular motion pour as it helps increase flow rate.  

Our favorite pairing:

Today our featured iced coffee is made with our well loved Brazil Caio Pereira! We love pairing this iced coffee with our pastry team Kashi's lemon cake. The citrus notes go really well with iced coffee, creating the taste of lemon tea in the mouth. If you have a chance to visit our cafe in Kyoto, be sure to give our lemon cakes a bite! 

Thank you so much for joining Tsubasa and Shoko today, we hope that their discussion can help improve your iced coffee brewing experience. 

Happy brewing!