Little Black Drink

Here at LBD, we are all about the coffee. We will follow the smell of freshly roasted beans down any dark alley, into any fancy restaurant, gas station, or hole-in-the-wall, and sip with pleasure on a stool, standing at a bar, or enveloped by a plush armchair. 

If you, too, are all about the coffee, follow us. We are urban foragers in Chiang Mai, Singapore and Phnom Penh, sniffing out the best cafes and roasters with the acuity of a pointer on the hunt. Then pull on your boots with us in coffee country in rural Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. If you are bold enough, we might let you come with us on tour

Now come read the latest on our blog. 

Cold Coffee: Disambiguation

With daytime temperatures around 40C, we turn to cold coffee to combat the heat and give us an energy boost when the heat and humidity threaten to turn us into a useless puddle. 

Some cafes serve "cold brew", others "cold drip" and still others "iced coffee" and even "ice coffee". What does it all mean? And which should you order?

To start, let's set out some definitions (alphabetically, so you can refer back any time). These are not industry-standard, so if your cafe uses different language, start a conversation with the barista and ask them about it! And check back next week for our post comparing the flavors of different cold brew methods....

 Our morning brew-- a cold brew concentrate with tonic water and a wedge of lemon! 

Our morning brew-- a cold brew concentrate with tonic water and a wedge of lemon! 

Affogato: Not technically an iced coffee, but a delicious cold coffee concoction that we wanted to include. Made of a scoop of ice cream with a single shot of espresso poured on top. 

Cold Brew: a generic term referring to coffee brewed in cold or room temperature water. This can mean any of the variations of a Cold Immersion Brew or Cold Drip coffee.

Cold Drip: a brewing method where cold water (usually from melting ice cubes) is dripped slowly, at a controlled rate, onto a bed of coffee grounds. The traditional apparatus for making a Cold Drip coffee is called a Drip Tower. The most internationally-known drip tower brands are Hario and Yama (see also, Japanese Cold Brew, Taiwanese Cold Brew, and Dutch Coffee, below), but new equipment is being introduced all the time to make this process more accessible. You can also rig an aeropress and a soda bottle to make cold drip inexpensively at home. 

Cold Immersion Brew: coffee grounds are soaked (immersed) in cool or cold water for an extended period of time (usually 12 to 24 hours). There are many ways to do this, at room temperature or in a refrigerator, using a bucket or a french press or a Toddy, Filtron or SoftBrew.

Dutch Coffeesame as Cold Drip

Ice Drip Coffee: same as Cold Drip.  

Iced Americano: A hot (double) shot of espresso served over ice and topped up with water.  Stay tuned for our next article about how the flavors are different when you put hot coffee on ice, versus cold brewing! 

Iced Coffee: Any coffee served over ice. This can be an iced Americano, a cold brew, a cold drip, Japanese-style Iced Coffee etc. 

Japanese (or Japanese-style) Iced Coffee:  Further disambiguation needed here. Japanese Iced Coffee can refer to (1) a cold filter brew made by pouring HOT water over coffee grounds (less water than you would normally use to make a hot filter coffee), and then pouring the resulting concentrated hot coffee over ice like this or this, or (2) a Cold Drip method using a Japanese-made drip tower like Hario.

Khmer Iced Coffee: coffee concentrate brewed hot, usually using a metal drip filter or a Japanese cloth drip method, made from coffee beans roasted dark and usually coated in palm oil, pork fat or margarine, served over ice with sweetened condensed milk or sugar syrup. 

Kyoto (or Kyoto-style) (Drip) Coffee: same as Cold Drip. This article explains it well. 

Nitro Cold Brew (aka Nitrogenated Cold Brew): Coffee that is infused with nitrogen, resulting in a drink that looks like a Guinness, but is made only of coffee and nitrogen gas (not alcoholic). See how US coffee house Cuvee describes their Nitro Cold Brew, called Black and Blue, in this video

Slow Drip Coffee: same as Cold Drip.

Taiwanese Cold Brew or Taiwanese Iced Coffee: This is a Cold Drip method. It is called "Taiwanese" because the Yama glass company who makes these drip towers is located in Taiwan. 

Vietnamese Iced Coffee: like Khmer Iced Coffee, a coffee concentrate made from hot water and local beans dripped through a metal filter, and served over ice with either sweetened condensed milk or sugar syrup.

Water Drip Coffee: same as Cold Drip.

Any questions? Leave a comment! 

Next time, we'll talk about the mechanics and chemistry of different cold brew methods and how they effect the taste.