At first glance, the Yama Cold Brew Tower appears as an elegant piece of functional art – a glass tower with multiple chambers and a mesmerizing drip mechanism. It’s often found in cafes as a more expensive menu option, priced far beyond Toddy or more common cold brewing methods. The higher price is justified by the clarity of the cup, the relatively low yield (even if with largest brewers), and the extended brew time required by the use of cold water. Typically, cafes will buy multiple larger models, so they can produce maximum yield daily, but we keep a smaller, home version in our training room here at our Roastery.
Beyond its visual appeal lies an ingenious cold brewing technique that sets it apart. The Yama Tower is designed to create a concentrated coffee extract through a slow, controlled drip process. Essentially, a valve between the bulb of water and the coffee chamber allows you to control the rate of extraction, down to how often each drop of water comes into contact with the coffee grounds. This method not only extracts the full spectrum of flavors from the coffee grounds but also minimizes the acidity that can often mar the taste of traditional hot-brewed coffee poured over ice.
The invention of Japanese iced coffee drippers, like the Yama Cold Brew Tower, is a testament to an innovative spirit and meticulous attention to detail. Japanese iced coffee drippers, also known as cold brew towers or slow drip brewers, draw inspiration from both traditional Japanese tea culture and contemporary coffee trends. The art of drip brewing, which is integral to these devices, has been a longstanding practice in Japanese tea ceremonies, where precise water control is paramount to extracting delicate flavors from tea leaves. This technique was naturally extended to coffee brewing, resulting in a method that imparts a refined taste to the final cup.
How Does it Work?
The Yama Tower's ability to produce a smooth iced coffee lies in the principles of solubility and extraction. When water comes into contact with coffee grounds, it dissolves various compounds, including the aromatic oils, acids, and soluble solids that contribute to flavor. In traditional hot brewing, higher temperatures lead to faster extraction, and higher levels of acid, occasionally resulting in over-extraction and bitterness.
When using the Yama Tower to create cold brew, the cold water slows down the extraction process, preventing undesirable compounds from being pulled out in excess. By removing heat from the brew and extending brew time significantly, the Yama still gently captures intricate flavor compounds.
If you pick up one of these amazing devices, remember that precision and patience are your allies in crafting the perfect cup. Check your flow rate every few hours, and if it starts varying wildly, it’s probably time to replace the flow valve!
Who is it for?
This expensive, cold coffee maker takes up some serious real estate in the kitchen, but produces iced coffee that can't be beat for clarity. We recommend it if you're a serious enthusiast and have already built a dedicated coffee brewing area in your house!