Bad Coffee

It's been a hot summer, and I've been drinking iced coffee exclusively for the past few months. I've also been buying very little from coffee shops lately, because most of them don't do iced coffee the right way.

What is the right way? Cold brewed.

It's the method that produces delicious iced coffee with very little acidity and bitterness and strong coffee flavors. It's a shame that very few coffee shops in DC adhere to this method.

(from life serial on Flickr)

I can't speak for every coffee shop, but a friend of the blog who used to work as a local barista told me that baristas had direct orders from the shop owner not to cold brew iced coffee. Even though it's the superior method, it's the most time intensive (it can take 24 hours to brew a large batch of the stuff and usually requires advanced planning). Plus, enough customers have probably never had cold-brewed iced coffee, and they don't know what they're missing anyway.

You could chalk this up to mere snobbery, but I think it's too bad. I first learned about the cold brew method from a barista friend who made it at my favorite coffee shop back in Cleveland. I do think there's some irony in any coffee shop that claims to serve gourmet drinks and then cuts corners like this.

Fortunately, there are a few coffee shops around that do iced coffee right. Also fortunately, it's so easy to do at home.


    The NYT coffe guy is a new fan of Japanese style ice coffee made in a Chemex with ice. It's pretty yummy. It's on the Strand coffee blog in the T Magazine. He weighs the ice and includes it the total of water used in the brew.


    Chicargo, thanks for the tip. Strand writes that Counter Culture uses the Japanese style exclusively. Since a ton of independent coffee shops in DC are Counter Culture shops, this puts an end to the mystery about why so few serve good iced brew in the summer.