Brew Method: Iced Coffee with a Hario Fretta


With summer finally arriving in places other than Florida and Southern California, there comes a growing desire for afternoon iced coffee on a sunny back porch. So in celebration of the warm weather, I’d like to introduce you to the Hario Fretta—a V60 contraption sitting upon a long funneled diffuser filled with ice. This may be the summer’s hottest new way to make cool coffee (I really said that). The method is simple, brew a double dose of coffee as you would in a V60, which is then cooled and partially diluted as it melts the ice in the diffuser. Once the brewing is finished, you pour the concentrate over ice again to chill and dilute even more, then enjoy.

While I was at the SCAA Expo in Houston, Ian(?) from Lamill Coffee in Silverlake, CA was giving demos of the product all week. He was brewing an Ethiopian that stood out as one of my favorite coffees from the event. It maintained a much more complex flavor profile than I’m used to with iced coffee and didn’t seem flat or muted. Even though it may be less attractive and more sexually suggestive than the AeroPress, I was impressed. I could definitely put one to use this summer.

In recent years, the more popular method of brewing iced coffee has been with a Toddy cold brew system or similar. Cold-brewing creates a coffee concentrate at room temperature which can be stored in the refrigerator or poured over ice. This method can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours to brew and creates a very smooth and low acid coffee, which many people love. However, not everyone plans that far ahead and I personally really enjoy acidity and brightness in my coffee—even when iced.

The Hario Fretta solves a couple issues I have with cold brew systems. First, it only takes as long to make as a V60 pourover, and the coffee is immediately passing over ice—cooling it down in the process. So if you forgot to set up your Toddy the night before, you can still enjoy a refreshing glass of iced coffee in the middle of the day. Second, this method uses hot water to brew, which brings out the brightness I often miss in cold brew iced coffee. For less than $40, its a fair price if you drink a lot of iced coffee. Though after seeing how it works, you could probably rig up a similar device of your own with a standard V60 and a trip to the hardware store.

Shop for Hario Fretta and start enjoying the summer.


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  • Reply Jamie 05/25/2011 at 1:47 pm

    This is an interesting product. I love drinking iced coffee on occasion, but I do find it hard to find the right coffee to use for iced coffee as most coffees end up muted or flat like you said.

    Awhile ago I used a Kenya I believe it was, and it turned out quite nice iced. I was impressed that it held up a lot of the flavors it had when it was hot, but most of all it tasted great on a hot day.

    There is a good chance I will end up purchasing this. Florida has gotten so hot this year that I can hardly drink anything hot after noon.

    Great write up, Brian.

  • Reply Greg Aliff 05/25/2011 at 1:57 pm

    I like the look of the device, but how is this any better than sitting a v60 on a cup or pitcher of ice and letting it brew directly into that?

    • Reply bwj 05/25/2011 at 2:02 pm

      Funny you ask, a few of us are discussing that very same thing on twitter right now. The ice filled funnel may be a more efficient way to cool the coffee, but there’s no real difference. I guess if you don’t already have a V60 and a pitcher, this would be a good place to start.

  • Reply Piper Jones 05/26/2011 at 1:43 pm

    This was on my short list of ‘wants’ at SCAA – not only because I’m a pretty basic Hario fan (based on design and ingenuity) but by how beautiful the coffee was that came out of it was. I agree, the cold Ethiopian was a standout and the process shows promise of how well a hot brewed cold coffee can taste.

    May move to the ‘have to have’ list because of your reminder….

  • Reply Dawid Wy 05/31/2011 at 3:18 am

    The whole idea of iced coffee is pretty cool and I’m surprised I’ve never thought about it. I remember making iced latte in my previous job but today I’ve tried to use our automatic coffee machine (Nivona Cafe Romantica whatever-the-number) to pour a small amount of coffee on some ice cubes (no milk, no sugar added) and the result is at least OK.

    When it’s too hot to drink anything warmer than 10°C but you still miss your coffee these methods save your day.

    And about Hario Fretta? A nice touch, this diffuser inside, but I don’t think I’d like to pay for it while it can be easily replaced with… nothing.

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