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This Japanese Way of Making Iced Coffee Is a Game Changer

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This summer officially cemented cold brew into the zeitgeist. The drink, prepared by steeping coffee beans in water for hours as opposed to brewing beans with hot liquid, is said to be less acidic, have a rounder flavor, and take to ice cubes better.

How to Make Cold-Brewed Coffee
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How to Make Cold-Brewed Coffee

We buy cold brew in coffee shops, we make it in portable mugs, we add to it alcohol. So it may come as an unwelcome surprise to hear, amidst the haze of a cold brew infatuation, that coffee connoisseurs actually hate the stuff.

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Peter Giuliano, director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Symposium, is leading a movement to dethrone cold brew from its caffeine pulpit. In its place, he posits, should be a method of preparing cold coffee he learned in Japan. He dubs it, simply and literally, Japanese Iced Coffee.

Contrary to everything we’ve been taught, the method advocates for brewing the coffee directly onto ice. Watch this video to understand how and why this technique works.

To begin, Giuliano heats his water and prepares a drip brewer. A reduced amount of water poured over the top of the grounds results in a heartier coffee. This increased flavor is counteracted by the dilution that occurs when the hot liquid hits the ice, rendering a coffee that is “exactly the right strength.”

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Why choose this method over the esteemed cold brew? Brewing coffee with hot water brings out flavor subtleties and nuances that soaking beans in room temperature water over night just cannot replicate. And while crowd favorite cold brew doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, maybe it’s time to fiddle with a new technique.

Would you attempt Giuliano’s method at home? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: cold brew, iced coffee, coffee, japanese, chemex, pourover