Making coffee with snow

Once again pulled from Mark Prince’s twitter 1 , I loved this idea and with a few inches outside it seemed inevitable the inner child would take over…

Firstly I needed to load up on snow.  I was surprised how much I needed to get the required weight.  I melted it first to make sure everything looked ok.  Apparently in Norway they tell kids not to eat snow because it has worms in it.  This snow had no worms in it.

Once boiled we were ready to go.  I chose the Muchoki for this for no sensible reason other than I haven’t had a cup for a few days.  For the sake of nerdiness I stuck a TDS meter in it before it got hot.  20ppm – assuming the meter is reasonably accurate.

I didn’t take any photos of the brewing process, because I was busy… brewing….  (One day I will do a videocast!)

Then we drank it.  It was pretty good, though a touch overextracted.  Huzzah for snow!

  1. Yes, yes – I know we are all bored to tears with hearing about Twitter, but sadly we are stuck with it so we might as well embrace it and microblog ourselves into a stupor  ↩︎

11 Comments

  1. The snow has worms in it :-). Very funny. I like to visit your sites because you always have some good information’s and experiments with coffee ,witch I could not imagine. But they are very original, that is for sure. So thanks for this post. We don’t have snow right now but when we do I will try this one.

  2. Since snowflakes (like raindrops) form around dust particles, wouldn’t you want to use a filtered brewing method to get the dirt out? Or is your siphon system filtered enough?

  3. Well I just learned two things. One can make a great Muchoki from snow and don’t eat the snow in Norway. Could one a make a toddy shot using both snow and water?

  4. Thanks for loads of inspiration.

    As a Norwegian I can confirm that I grew up learning that I shouldn’t eat snow because it might have worms in it, the same way we parents make up silly stories in order to prevent kids from doing stuff we don’t want them to do. Nowadays, kids aren’t that easy to deceive (they’re all postmodernists). Hence, we’ve switched over to discouraging eating snow from the streets and the yellow snow along lamp posts..

  5. hmmm interesting drink.. we were up in scotland for the snow, and we opeted for a cold mint version… was recieved well :)

  6. though a touch overextracted


    Does that mean that you should have used less snow?

  7. Why it is over-extracted –

    Snow is not groundwater (duh) so therefore has no minerals. Thus it is super soft.
    soft water over extracts because it naturally wants to take on minerals, thus sucking more out of the coffee – just like a sponge wants to take on water!

  8. Snow “wanting to take on minerals” sounds rather magical to me. Water hasn’t got a will of its own, no more than alcohol yearns for the aromatic substances when you drop juniper berries in for making a simple gin. It’s just a matter of having mineral salts dissolved in the water or not.

    However, it seems reasonable that melted snow contains less, or even no, mineral salts. What should the difference be? If any, water without the minerals is a somewhat less polar than water with the minerals. Melted snow might give a different extract since most of the extracted compounds from coffee are nonpolar. If mineral-free water does result in over-extraction, so should distilled water, since this is an efficient way of removing minerals (of course, there is the matter of dissolved gases such as CO2 etc.).

    Any knowledge whether blind tests have been conducted comparing melted snow and distilled water for any kind of coffee or tea? Or maybe analyses of coffee made from distilled and non-distilled water?

    One example of the mineral salt effect: isopropanol (i.e. “dry-gas” fuel additive) and pure water mix well. If salt is added to this mixture, the two solvents separate; salt water on the bottom and isopropanol on top (the isopropanol would represent compounds extracted from the coffee). The reason is that the salt dissolves in the water, rendering it more polar and less miscible with the isopropanol (the isopropanol represents the aromatic compounds from coffee).

    Btw: using snow for drinking water and cooking is rather common for those hiking (or staying in primitive cabins etc.) during wintertime in areas with the appropriate climate.

Submit a comment