How to Make the Best Iced Coffee, According to Real Baristas
Like a merry cannonball in the pool on a hot day, iced coffee provides a refreshing boost all summer long. But even though it’s great in the cafe, trying to replicate the same bevvie on your own can often lead to disappointing results. If you’re wondering why your iced coffee at home never tastes as good as the things you expect online, find out what these baristas told us about the most common mistakes people make when brewing. drinks at home.
If you want a delicious iced coffee — not just the night before’s leftovers you stored in the fridge — a surefire way is to drink it brewed hot, chilled, and served over ice. (It’s not the same as cold brew, which steeps the grounds in cold water for several hours.) The best iced coffee is made with the best beans, the correct grind, and a precise ratio that makes it will stay flavorful when poured over ice. .
Start with good beans
Tuan Huynh is the owner of Chicago’s Cafe Vietfive, which serves the authentic Vietnamese coffee he remembers from his youth. The Vietnamese have become world famous for their cà phê sữa đá, which is an iced coffee served with sweetened condensed milk.
For Huynh, the beans are a key factor that sets Vietnamese iced coffee apart. It uses only low-acid robusta beans, which contain more than twice as much caffeine as arabica beans. “Robusta beans are bold, not loud, and they’re known around the world for their nutty, earthy tones,” he said.
Although he is a fan of robusta, you may want to experiment with other blends. But the experts have made it clear that whichever type you prefer, it’s best to get beans from a specialty coffee roaster and use them when they’re at their peak. “Roasted coffee beans are best between one and three weeks after their roast date,” explained jimmy evansBrand and Sales Manager at Artisti Coffee Roasters.
Grind them well
Never use pre-ground coffee, the experts told us. Instead, grind the beans using a super fine grinder just before you’re ready to brew. Don’t have a good grinder at home? Now might be a good time to start buying one. “Investing in quality home gear is a must,” Evans said. “For the best grind, a high quality flat burr grinder will give you the best acidity and smoothness in the coffee.”
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Measure carefully and take time to “bloom”
Huynh believes inattention to the correct ratios is a key problem behind many home iced coffee failures. “You can’t just use the spoon you eat cereal with to measure your coffee,” he said. “Here at the store, we are very specific with everything we serve, and our ‘secret ratio’ [for cold brew] is one part coffee to 12 parts water. (Check out HuffPost’s guide to making a cold brew for more instructions.)
Although he said a French press or other drip coffee methods would also work, he recommended trying the authentic Vietnamese method with a stainless steel phin coffee filter placed over a cup. Add ground coffee, then pour some hot water and wait for 30 seconds to “bloom”.
“This flowering time is super important, but a lot of people at home skip this step,” Huynh said. “It makes a difference.” Once the coffee has bloomed, add the remaining hot water, cover, and steep for four to five minutes.
This is Huynh step by step recipe and video to help you get started.
Milk and ice come next, depending on your preference. Vietfive offers sweetened condensed milk (the Vietnamese brand Ong Tho), oat milk and coconut milk. And his baristas put a lot of ice. Here’s why: “Iced coffee is meant to be drunk, not blown,” Huynh said. “Our recipe was created taking into account the presence of ice which will melt as you drink. You might think the ice will dilute it too much, but it actually adds to the flavor. So if you ask for “light ice” for your iced coffee and think you’re getting more value, you could be negatively affecting the quality of your drink.
Finally, you need to do some maintenance of the drink while you sip. “In Vietnam, you’ll notice people shaking their cup to dispense the ice cream and then having a drink,” Huynh said. “This shake keeps everything blended as you go, so be sure to shake before sipping.”
Fresh every time? You decide.
While some baristas are fine with keeping leftover liquid coffee in the fridge, others are adamant that only fresh will do. Sandra Venturamember of the Barista Guild Board of Directors, prefers to make each cup fresh as it comes. “If you store coffee in the fridge, especially if the container isn’t airtight, there could be oxidation and the coffee could trap other smells like fish or raw food,” she said. . “I make it fresh because it’s always better that way.”
Evans said it’s okay to keep your drink in the fridge if you have any left over, but try to enjoy it as soon as possible. “Cold drip or cold brew can be stored in the fridge for up to five days and still taste great,” he said. “But the sooner you drink it, the better.”
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