When the temperature rises, you may find yourself considering a nice cold alternative to your favourite style of hot coffee. But you still want a coffee...
With that decision made (to have a coffee!), you have another choice to make: iced coffee or cold-brew coffee? Both are delicious but each has a very different flavour characteristic due to the process. How much time you have will also influence your choice: iced coffee is quick to make while cold-brew coffee takes a bit of planning ahead.
Any kind of coffee bean is good for iced or cold-brew. But, as always, experimentation is the only way to find your perfect flavour profile.
So what is iced coffee?
Iced coffee is just as it sounds. It's hot brewed coffee the way you'd usually make it, then you cool it down before adding ice cubes. It's a quick and easy way to a cold coffee beverage.
For iced coffee, the only change you make to your typical brew is to increase the strength by an extra shot or two of the good stuff! Why? Because the lovely cold ice you add will start to melt and dilute the coffee. Instead of the extra shots, a neat trick is to make the ice cubes from a previous batch of coffee!
OK, and the cold-brew coffee?
Cold-brew coffee is where the planning ahead comes in: it takes 12 to 24-hours or more to create this cooling beverage to perfection. Unlike iced coffee, cold-brew coffee is never heated, so it takes a long time for its flavour to seep fully into the water.
You start your cold-brew by adding your ground coffee to filtered water in a jug - we find that a courser grind produces the best flavour. The jug doesn't need to be a special cold-brew one; any suitable sized container will do. A good starting point is a 1:1 ratio of coffee to water.
Place your jug of cold-brew in the fridge and wait, preferably until the next day. Then, when it's ready to drink, just pass the liquid through a suitable filter to remove the coffee grounds. You could do this with a french press (cafetière), Aeropress or just a paper filter. We've even read about people using a sock for a filter!
Which is best?
That's subjective! Cold-brew tends to have a smoother, sweeter flavour than iced coffee and with less acidity. However, if you're short on time, iced coffee is the way to go. Experiment for yourself and see which you prefer!