japanese-style iced coffee

Coffee_2 copy

I’m going to give my excuse for not publishing a post for over two years, and then move on:

I got a job and had a baby.

So JM has a theory that coffee beverages are going to be the Next Big Thing. Part of me wonders whether coffee beverages jumped the shark when a certain megacorporation invented what I will call the “Flumpkin Flice Flatte” back in 2003. Another part of me wonders what a coffee beverage actually is. Can anyone invent one? Can I put toothpaste in my coffee and call it a Tom’s of Latte? And do you promise to keep reading this post after you get that revolting image out of your brain?

After doing some research, I no longer think that coffee beverage invention is an amateur’s game. There is apparently a science to the whole process of roasting coffee, brewing coffee, and then covering up the coffee flavor with other flavors (like flumpkin flice). There are some people who fetishize coffee the way Gollum worshipped the Ring. Believe me, I get it. After a night of frequent child-inspired wakings, both JM and I have found ourselves grumbling “my precioussssss” over our morning cup.

There is also a science to representing coffee fetishism. The video below features a shot of coffee slowly drip-drip-dripping into the bottom of a Chemex. JM–who created the video with the help of the lovely Viva Vivian and her partner in love/crime, Sasha Smith–spent something like 45 minutes watching that shot over and over again, shivering with delight, before even beginning to edit the film at all. JM is the person I go to for all things coffee-related. Not just the part where I hold court in bed and yell for him to make me a cup, but also where coffee brewing minutiae are concerned. JM can make a killer cup of coffee in a french press, Chemex, moka pot, AeroPress, and indeed any receptacle that has the capacity for a filter and grounds and hot water. If the apocalypse came, JM could make you an amazing cup of coffee out of dirt, scrap metal, and a two-by-four.

JM did some research of his own to create this film. Not only did he look up and compare notes on various methods of making Japanese-style iced coffee, but he also engaged the assistance of a scholar of Japanese film to translate his title card. I think his email to her was something like: “How would you write ‘Japanese-style iced coffee’ in Japanese?” And her response was, roughly: “You wouldn’t.” But with a bit of back and forth on the subject, consensus was reached. Japanese readers, please weigh in on the results and please don’t hate us for trying.

This post is dedicated to Viva Vivian, who is amazing.

Iced Coffee in the Japanese Method from James Mann on Vimeo.

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