Iced coffee has become all the rage in recent years and for good reason. It’s delicious, refreshing, and an entirely different coffee-tasting experience! However, one of the biggest problems with iced coffee is the brewing method.
Cold brew methods take a long time and most of them simply can’t extract all the intricate flavors that can be found and enjoyed in coffee beans. This is where Japanese iced coffee comes in. This method lets you enjoy an iced coffee that’s filled with delicious flavor!
If you haven’t heard about it, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know and how to use this method in your own kitchen!
What is Japanese Iced Coffee?
Japanese iced coffee refers to a brew method that first rose to prominence in Japan.
It’s essentially an iced pour-over without any diluting. By brewing with hot water over ice, using certain amounts of both, you get a delicious and refreshing coffee that’s full of flavor.
You can make this iced coffee using a Chemex or any other pour-over method you typically use. With the use of a double-strength batch of coffee, the result is a more robust cold coffee that is perfect for a hot summer afternoon treat.
Brewing Japanese Iced Coffee
It’s super easy to make this scrumptious coffee, and it easily beats several other iced coffee recipes if you want to taste the flavors of your favorite beans.
So, without further ado, here’s how to brew your Japanese iced coffee!
What You Will Need
Before we begin, we need to make sure we have everything we need for this surprisingly simple and delicious brewing method.
- Ice Cubes
- Chemex or Melitta Drip Cone
- Fresh Ground Coffee
- Hot Water
As you can see, you don’t need a lot of equipment or ingredients to make this type of coffee, but we recommend that you use a proper type of coffee maker for this job as it is the only way to truly replicate this style of iced coffee.
How to Brew Japanese Iced Coffee
Are you ready to begin preparing your cup of Japanese iced coffee? We hope so! For the purposes of this guide, we will be preparing a single 16-ounce cup of Japanese iced coffee.
Step 1: Measure Your Ice
To start, add your ice to your Chemex. For the best results, be sure you use a kitchen scale. For a 16-ounce cup of Japanese iced coffee, add 8 ounces of ice to the Chemex to account for approximately half of your finished volume.
Step 2: Prepare Your Coffee
Grind your coffee of choice and measure out about 1.8 grams of coffee for every finished ounce of brewed coffee. For best results, try using a medium-coarse ground.
So, for a 16-ounce beverage, you will use about 30 grams of coffee. If you don’t have a scale handy, each tablespoon is equal to about 5 grams of coffee.
Step 3: Boil Your Water
Boil your water on the stove or with your electric kettle until it reaches somewhere between 195°F and 205°F. Once it reaches this temperature, immediately remove it from the heat.
Step 4: Brew the Coffee
Pour the hot water over the grounds. Since we are making a 16-ounce cup and we already have 8 ounces of ice, add 8 ounces of hot water and allow it to brew.
During this process, the hot coffee will pour over the ice, melting it while unlocking some of the rich and wonderful flavors in the coffee.
Step 5: Pour Into Glass and Serve
During the brewing process, much of the ice will melt. The goal is to have it all melt, but if there is some left, don’t worry, you will still have an amazing cold cup of Japanese iced coffee.
Pour the coffee into a glass and enjoy your coffee. It really is the perfect pick-me-up for a hot summer afternoon!
Alternative Brewing Methods
We’ve already gone over how to use a Chemex to make Japanese iced coffee. But one of the best things about this brewing technique is that you can use pretty much any tool you have on hand.
Read on for a quick guide on how to use an Aeropress, Pour Over, and Auto Drip Brewer to make Japanese-style iced coffee.
First up, we have one of our favorite brewing tools, the AeroPress.
For this method, you have a lot of variability for the water-to-coffee ratio, but we recommend going stronger than you typically would to account for the ice. For those of you who prefer to use weight ratios rather than the AeroPress markings, you can go anywhere from 20:1 to 12:1.
You can use either the standard or inverted method. We prefer the latter, so that is what we’ll be covering here. For the most part, the process is identical.
Put together the plunger and chamber with the open end facing up. Fill the chamber with grounds, bloom, then submerge. While they’re steeping, wet your filter and screw it on.
Here’s where you will mix things up. Instead of warming your cup, you’re going to put ice in it. You are going to have to be extra careful when you flip the Aeropress because the mug won’t be on top to keep you from making a mess. So make sure to hold everything together and tilt the top to where it is over the mug before completely flipping it.
Plunge until you hear a hissing noise, then go ahead and clean off your Aeropress to allow time for the ice to melt a bit. Then enjoy!
Next up, we are going to cover how to use non-chemex pour-over tools to make your Japanese iced coffee.
You can use anything from a Hario V60 to a Kalita Wave, but most people recommend using a higher coffee-to-water ratio with the former (~1:18) than the latter (~1:20). But, as always, it is up to personal preference.
First, you are going to fill your carafe or mug with ice. Then you put the pour-over tool on top and proceed as usual. Again, you should increase the amount of coffee you would normally use to account for the dilution that will occur as the ice melts.
Using a pour-over is great because it is a little slower than other brewing methods, so the ice melts as you pour in the hot water. That way, when you are done, it’s perfect for drinking.
Lastly, if you are looking to make a larger batch of Vietnamese iced coffee, you could always reach for your automatic drip brewer. The biggest thing to remember is that you cannot brew a full pot of coffee as it will overflow.
An easy way to measure things out is to fill the pot halfway with cold water, then add ice until you reach a full pot. Pour the water into the reservoir, keeping the ice in the pot. Alternatively, you can just eyeball it or actually weigh everything out.
Next, you need to brew a strong pot of coffee over the ice. It should melt as you brew, creating a nice, cold brew by the end of it. It’s especially effective if your automatic brewer has an iced coffee option.
Hot Tips for This Chilled Brew
Hitting the right balance of strength with the grounds, water, and ice involved in this brewing technique can be a bit tricky. But we do have some tips to help you nail it a little bit faster:
Go for a Finer Grind
Opting for a finer grind will give you a stronger brew. While you should stay within the parameters of what is appropriate for your brewing tool, going a setting or two finer is a great way to get a stronger brew without having to fool too much with ratios.
Up the Coffee-to-Water Ratio
If you don’t want to bother weighing and measuring all your ice and water to exactitude, you can simply brew your coffee a bit stronger than usual by upping the amount of grounds you are using for the amount of water. This will account for the dilution that occurs as the ice melts.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’re sure you have plenty more questions regarding Japanese iced coffee and its unique brewing method, so we’re here to answer them all!
How Does Japanese Iced Coffee Compare?
When looking at Japanese iced coffee compared to other iced coffee brewing methods, there are a few similarities but also a handful of differences.
Regular Iced Coffee
Japanese iced coffee and regular iced coffee are pretty similar. Japanese coffee involves brewing hot coffee directly over ice with the intention that it will at least partially melt. On the other hand, your run-of-the-mill iced coffee is brewed first, allowed to cool a bit, and then poured over ice.
The difference comes out in the flavor. Japanese iced coffee tends to be stronger with more complex, noticeable flavor profiles. Iced coffee can be rather weak and is often accompanied by sugar and milk.
Cold Brew Coffee
There is a much bigger difference between cold brew and Japanese iced coffee than in the previous comparison. The separation here is in the brewing temperature.
Traditional cold brew coffee never introduces hot water into the mix. Instead, the brew is made by using room temperature or chilled water and steeping for 14 to 20 hours. Japanese ice coffee is chilled as it is brewed with hot water.
However, there is such a thing as a shot-bloomed cold brew which gives a profile that is a balance between the two types of brewing.
Instead of making the entire brew hot or cold, the grounds are bloomed with hot water, then brewed in cold water. The flavor profile of the latter brewing method is actually rather similar to Japanese iced coffee, though it is still less acidic.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Now, Japanese iced coffee and Vietnamese iced coffee are probably the furthest away from each other.
Vietnamese iced coffee is made by using a very specific brewing tool. It creates a very strong brew that is then mixed with condensed milk and poured over ice.
So the brews are really different in both taste and texture as well as brewing methods. Still, both of them are definitely worth trying sometime!
Why is it Called Japanese Iced Coffee?
As we talked about a bit earlier, Japanese iced coffee gets its name from its popularity in Japan, where this method has been used to make iced coffee for a long time now.
It’s so popular there that you can even get a quick brew in at convenience stores!
Is Japanese Iced Coffee Bitter?
The Japanese iced coffee method is one of the easiest ways to get an iced coffee that’s truly full of all the flavors the beans have to offer. You’ll find that this brewing method generally produces cups of coffee that are bright and full of crisp flavors.
There may be some notes that are more on the bitter side, but overall you won’t get that discomforting bitterness often present in some other brewing methods.
The Last Drop
Japanese iced coffee is one of the easiest iced coffee brewing methods out there, creating a truly unique cold coffee.
The end result is a delicious cup of iced coffee with almost no ice in it, and the tastes and flavors it brings are unique and special.
If you have been searching for a new way to enjoy your favorite coffee, we highly recommend this method. So give it a try and let us know what you think of the results. In the end, we believe you will be delighted. Given how easy it is, we bet you will start enjoying this iced coffee all summer long.