Ice Brew – Some Thoughts

I’ve just finished reading Oliver Strand’s and James Hoffman’s (separate) writings on “Ice Brew”. The cold brewed coffee made by brewing manual filter over ice. Both are very interesting, and well and truly got me excited to try this method. Especially Oliver Strand’s description of Handsome’s Rwandan Dukunde Kawa that tasted like lemonade!!

But in my mind the methodology brought a couple of things to mind. First, a post by Sang Ho Park titled “Just Add Water. Not” and a training night run by Matt Perger. Matt spent a bit of time dissecting an espresso, speaking of things like rate of extraction and balance. At one point he pulled a ristretto and we tasted it side-by-side with an espresso. But first he added water to the ristretto to create a drink with about the same strength as the espresso. After tasting, the point was clear, the ristretto+water lacked balance and fell away in the finish. The espresso was balanced, good flavour and good aftertaste. What I learnt was that although the last part of an espresso extraction is (and looks) weak it is still essential to a good, complex, balanced espresso.

“Just Add Water. Not.” describes his experience of brewed coffee in Korea. Essentially: high dosing, strong brew, watered down (I hope that doesn’t do too great an injustice to the write-up). The point of both Matt’s illustration and Sang Ho Park’s blog was that although TDS% ends up the same, the extraction percentage is not.

My thoughts, and they are only theoretical, is that this is exactly what’s happening with Ice Brew. Take the 50/50 method as an example (and a 70g/L recipe), brewing 70g of coffee with 500g of water over 500g of ice. Isn’t this just like Sang Ho Park’s description of his Korean brewed coffee experience? High dose (140g/L) and watering down.

I may have missed something in the whole process, this is purely theory, and I am yet to try this method.


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