Let’s Try This Again

Although I’m thoroughly convinced that all that’s required to motivate me to start blogging is several redesigns in a row, this time, I’m just going to use the default WordPress Twenty Seventeen theme and call it a day.

What Dr. Frankenstien Would Have Built If He Was a Hipster Coffee Blogger

I recently funded a new [cold brew gadget called the Dripo and it looks pretty neat! The compact, travel-ready size will fit well in my bag alongside the Cafflano (review forthcoming). But more excitingly, it got me thinking about a coffee brewing method I’d never even heard of before – the Dutch Ice Drip. Some cursory Googling revealed that I’m not the only coffee nerd to have completely overlooked this niche, very little information is out there, quite a lot of it was forum threads with people asking, “What’s a Dutch Ice Coffee??”

The concept is simple enough though, just slow drip ice water onto coffee grounds. A traditional brewer is outrageous, it’s over two feet tall, some even larger. Amazon turned up some more compact brewing units, the Iwaki in particular looks like something I would have bought had I not already spent money on a Dripo.

All drawings to scale.

And that’s the thing, I really have too much coffee gear as it is, considering that most non-espresso brewing methods share concepts and use similar parts, I figured I probably could Frankenstein together an ice dripper without buying anything new at all. I wasn’t wrong.

Only three parts were really necessary: I’d need is something to release the ice water at drip speed, something to hold the grounds, and something for the finished brew to collect in. And I have a lot of gear to work with.

Not pictured: even more stuff

The grounds holder was easy, at least three parts in my collection could have handled the task…

This $7 Vietnamese Coffee Filter could have done the job
Or the filter out of my Cafflano
Or the filter from a Moka pot

And besides those three options, another good one might be half an Aeropress, with a rinsed paper filter.

I settled on the Cafflano’s metal filter basket for entirely arbitrary reasons. And I have more carafes than you can shake a stick at, most of them aren’t pictured, but I just went with my Hario V60 Range Server in this case. The tough part was figuring out how I could control the water flow from the ice water. I tried all sorts of ideas, like tightening the Vietnamese filter to maximum to see if it would slow the water flow (it did not), but eventually I realized I could let physics do the work; instead of using water, I simply used ice! Sitting on my table at a room temperature of ~70°F, the ice melts fairly slowly, about 40 drips per minute at its greatest speed. So I piled all the ice inside a V60, and just let it sit.

With ice, this thing was about a half a meter tall.

Grind consistency and a grounds to water ratio were my next questions. Never doing this before, I didn’t really have a baseline to start with, so I went back to Google. Dutch-coffee.nl recommends 9 grams of fine ground coffee (their photo looks like espresso grind) to 100 grams of water. Mine turned out a bit coarser, and I went with a 1:10 ratio instead (because it’s easier to remember!)

Coffee grounds are not very photogenic

The last step was basically just to wait patiently. Nothing happened for practically the first half hour, but then I started to get a few drips, and it dripped fairly consistently for about 5 hours. In the end there was still about a cube of ice left, but I wanted to go to bed, so I disassembled and packed everything away in the fridge.

The results

Was it any good? The aroma had a very strong vanilla scent, and the taste was quite unique. Not a single bit of acidity or bitterness, quite a lot of fruit flavor with strong orange notes and a pleasant amount of sweetness. Unlike immersion brews, no watering down was necessary. This was particularly impressive because the beans I used were basically leftovers, a blend of three single origins from Mountain Air Roasting that were all over two months old. Considering how well it turned out, this seems like a great use for bean leftovers.

The trick in reproducing this experiment will be volume. My end result yielded only 200 grams of coffee, or a little under 9 ounces. My [#2 size V60](http://amzn.to/1m7SLG2) had more ice in it than it could fit, so I’ll have to find another container to hold the ice if I want to make more than that.

This is a brewing method that lends itself well to improvision and experimentation, if you want to try it yourself, I’d recommend you use my log as not a recipe but a rough guide. What weird gadgets do you have laying around your kitchen that could turn into an ice dripper? Maybe something in your children’s toy box?

I’m not kidding, this would probably work great!

TL;DR

Try this. Then change it:

* 25g of med-fine ground beans, 40% Karinga AB, 40% Chele’lektu, 20% El Paraiso
* 250g ice
* A V60 #2 (ceramic)
* The metal mesh filter out of a Cafflano
* Hario V60 Range Server carafe

Grind 25g of coffee at drip-pot fineness, place in filter. Place filter over carafe, place V60 over filter. Add 250g of ice to v60, let sit at room temperature until melted (about 5 hours.)