The Hario V60 Fretta

September 29, 2011

As part of my third-place prize package in ROASTe’s iced coffee contest, I recently won a Hario V60 Fretta. I’ve used it several times now and am ready to give my two cents. In short, I think the Fretta’s pretty great. It’s also a quasi-bargain at $32 and change since it comes with a slick glass decanter and a V60 02 cone that you can pull out for regular [hot] pourover coffee (along with 10 white filters to get you started) when you’re not in the mood for iced.*

The basic idea is simple here: brew hot at double strength over ice, which cools and dilutes your coffee to proper strength as it melts. This type of “Japanese-style” iced coffee should especially please those who crave cold coffee but aren’t willing to sacrifice the acidity and fruity/floral aromatics of sparingly roasted hot coffee. If you just want “coffee that tastes like coffee,” then you might be better off saving your $$ and doing overnight cold brews. Otherwise, read on!

There’s no magic under the hood with the Fretta, but there are some nice touches worth mentioning. The narrowness of the ice tower facilitates melting. In addition, its little diffuser lid prevents channeling, spreading the coffee over the top of the tower before allowing it to drip down evenly through the ice. Finally, the carafe doubles as a server; just attach the lid and pour or pop the ensemble into the fridge for future use. If you find it hard to imagine how the parts I’m briefly describing go together, this video should help.

My one issue with this device is that you can only squeeze about 250 g. worth of ice into it if (like me) you’re limited to big ice cubes frozen in trays. Smaller cubes (or other shapes) would pack inside the Fretta's ice tower more efficiently and allow you to brew a somewhat bigger batch.

As for recommended brew ratios, Prima has a decent recipe. I used a slightly downscaled version of it (250 g. hot water through 31 g. coffee over/into 250 g. ice) the other night to whip up a batch of ultra-fancy iced coffee (pictured below) with the last of my Klatch Don Pachi Geisha. And while this much-hyped, superstar coffee had definitely begun to come undone by then at 2 weeks post-roast, the iced coffee it gave me was truly a revelation--apricots galore with the buttery sweetness of blueberry pie. I won’t soon forget it.

*Note: I’m sure any filter cone would work atop the Fretta. My Clever certainly fits there nicely.



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