The treat we look forward to the most in the morning is a cup of Japanese Iced Coffee. It releases all the wonderful flavors and aromatics from the coffee beans.
Every morning, the one thing I truly look forward to the most is the first sip of coffee. As Mr. JOC and I both enjoy coffee, we purchase and try different beans from local and independent coffee roasters, as well as coffee shops we visited when we travel.
As Cold Brew coffee got more popular in the recent years, many coffee lovers seem to be more interested in how we make iced coffee in Japan, known as Japanese Iced Coffee. Today I’m sharing how the Japanese make iced coffee, which to us is “the best” way to enjoy coffee (until we find a better way).
Watch How To Make Japanese Iced Coffee
Click here to watch on YouTube
What is Japanese Iced Coffee?
Japanese iced coffee is simply coffee brewed with hot water, directly onto ice. One-third of the liquid is in the form of ice and the other two-thirds in the form of pour-over.
What makes Japanese iced coffee different from just adding ice to hot coffee? As you pour the hot water over the coffee grounds, it extracts a wide range of tasty flavors and aromatics from the ground coffee. As it drops onto the ice cubes, the ice cubes instantly lock those flavors by flash-chilling at the same time diluting the concentrate.
Taste of Japanese Ice Coffee
To really test out this method, we tested both cold brew and Japanese iced coffee with multiple coffee beans. For each side-by-side comparison, the first thing we noticed was that Japanese iced coffee has much more flavors and aromatics. The subtle hints of caramel, chocolate, berries, and other delicious flavors hidden in the coffee beans are more pronounced with the Japanese iced coffee method for the same exact beans.
When done well, the Japanese iced coffee will result in a more flavorful, brighter, and complex iced coffee. You can also produce different results with the same coffee by adjusting the pour rate and grind size.
Pros and Cons of Japanese Iced Coffee
- It makes cold coffee faster: it takes about 10 minutes including the time to boil water.
- The flavors are more robust than a cold brew.
- It makes just one to two servings at a time.
- A little more labor-intensive than a cold brew and more work to make a big batch the night before.
Equipment You Will Need for Japanese Iced Coffee
If you are already making hot coffee with a dripper, you will not need to buy special gear.
- Dripper (I use Hario V60 coffee dripper 02 ceramic)
- Server (I use Hario V60 range server 600)
- Drip kettle (I use Hario V60 drip kettle “Buono” 120)
- Paper filter (I use Hario V60 paper filter)
- Note: As of Feb 2020, we switched to CHEMEX Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker and coffee filters. The reason? It looks cooler and 1 less thing to wash as the dripper/server is one piece. The taste is the same!
Coffee Beans that We Love
In conclusion, if you are a coffee lover and especially iced coffee, please give Japanese iced coffee a try. We recommend using delicate beans that are full of flavors. If you live in the bay area try the beans from Sightglass, Ritual, Four Barrel, or Blue Bottle.
Another bay area coffee roaster we highly recommend and offer truly extraordinary coffee beans is Helio Roast. It’s run by a former university professor named Kern Trembath. There are a few unique characteristics about Helio Roast:
- They use electric roaster powered by solar energy.
- They only roast the beans after you order them. You decide on the type of beans you want and roast level, and your coffee bean is handcrafted just for you.
There is nothing like freshly roasted coffee beans, the resulting coffee is simply excellent. Kern has generously offered all JOC readers 10% discount if you use the code “JUSTONECOOKBOOK” during checkout (we do not make any money from your order, we like to support small local businesses).
We’ve tried Sumatra Toba Batak, No Fear, and Sumatra Lintong Pak beans roasted at Full City+ level and they were amazing.
Lastly, if you travel to Salt Lake City, stop by and purchase some beans from John at the Salt Lake Roasting Co. John has an amazing selection of coffee beans from all over the world and we always stop by for some coffee and pastries when we go skiing in Utah. He also ships his delicious beans so you can purchase them online.
If you missed my Cold Brew recipe, please read here.
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Japanese Iced Coffee
- 1 oz coffee beans (Our preference is a light to medium roast with bright flavors. 1 Tbsp is roughly 5 grams but each coffee grinds weigh differently but close.)
- 5.3-5.6 oz ice
- 1 ½ cup hot water (plus additional water for step 2; 12.3 oz; Boiling water (212ºF/100ºC) over-extracts flavors from the grounds, which will result in a bitter brew)
- Start boiling water.
- Pre-wet the filter and dump out the water from the cup.
- Grind 30 grams beans (I select "drip").
- Add 150-160 grams of ice to the server.
- Add ground coffee into rinsed filter.
- Pour 20-25 grams of hot water (205ºF/96ºC), using a circular motion around the cone and fully wetting the grounds. Allow the coffee to steep for 30 seconds. Pour remaining hot water (up to 350g) so the total weight is 500g/500ml.
- Serve the Japanese iced coffee with additional ice in a glass.