Houndstooth is also the place I learned to make good iced coffee. I had written off iced coffee a few decades ago, based on the bitter, weak stuff my dad used to drink out on the porch on summer afternoons. All through my coffee-loving years, all good coffee has been hot, even if all hot coffee has not been good.
About 12 of us filed into Houndstooth's swanky new digs in the Frost Bank Building right after they closed for the afternoon. Daniel Read, the manager of coffee education (really, they have a manager of coffee education), walked us through some solid basics. Before we start with the process, though, some basic things you need, and one of thing that you don't maybe need exactly, but will make your life much better if you have it.
Things you need:
- Coffee Maker. We used Clevers in the class, at home I use Chemex or Hario pour-overs. French Press also good. All inexpensive.
- Good Coffee. My all time and forever favorite is Cuvee, a roaster just outside of Austin.
- A kitchen scale. My favorite is from OXO, and it's less than $30.
- A grinder. My favorite is from Baratza - the Encore. Basic, as far as grinders though, and while it's not exactly cheap (about $130), you make it up pretty quick once you stop buying anything starting with the words "iced venti...". Fresh ground coffee is massively better than not-fresh-ground coffee. Massively.
.06 units of coffee for 1 unit of water. A cup of coffee is about 300 grams of water - multiply by .06, and it comes out to 18 grams of coffee. No more messing around with tablespoons, no more guessing. Just .06.
What does this have to do with iced coffee, you may ask?
Turns out, you make iced coffee just the same way you make hot coffee, only substituting 100 grams of ice cubes for 100 grams of the water. Easy.
Here's how we made it in class, and how I now make it at home:
- Heat the water. I use an electric kettle. You want water that's in the high 190s, temperature-wise. Easiest way to get there - boil the water, take it off the heat, wait 30 seconds.
- While the water is heating, grind the beans (medium grind for the pour-overs, coarse for the french press), and measure out 18 grams.
- If you're using anything with a paper filter, set it all up without the coffee and pour a little water through to rinse the filter, dumping out the water that runs through.
- Set your brewing set up on the scale, add the coffee, and zero out the scale again.
- Add 200 grams of water.
- Take the resulting hot steamy concentrated coffee, and pour over 100 grams of ice.
And that's it! At this point, the coffee may still be a little warm - I usually wait right up until the moment I'm going to drink it, pour it over a cup full of ice, and slurp it down before the ice has much of a chance to melt.
Still in the mood for iced coffee, but not up for the hassle? Two options for you:
- Head down to Houndstooth. Go up the counter. Order an iced coffee.
- Start with a cold-brewed option (locally brewed Chameleon Coffee is my favorite), pop it open, pour over copious amounts of ice, and go.
And there it is: Iced coffee that doesn't even remotely suck.