Prepare Iced Coffee Japanese style

What is Japanese-style iced coffee?

In contrast to other cold drinks, Japanese iced coffee is prepared directly on ice. The coffee is brewed the Japanese way with paper filters on a ceramic or metal base.

But this coffee can also be prepared with a drip machine, where you can prepare the hot coffee directly in a cup filled with ice cubes.

How do you make Japanese-style iced coffee?

The preparation of this coffee is quite simple, so what you need for this preparation is described below.

What do you need for the preparation?

  • 30 grams of ground coffee (a fine to medium grind is recommended)
  • 180 grams of ice cubes
  • 270 ml hot water (at 96 C)
  • drip coffee maker
  • 1 kettle or a cauldron
  • 1 scale


Measure and grind the coffee

Measure out 30g of coffee and grind it so that it is neither too fine nor too coarse. For this type of coffee, the coffee should be a little finer than you are used to from a conventional coffee.

Weigh the ice and the water

Weigh 180g of ice and place in a mug, then add 270ml of water to a kettle.

Rinse the coffee filter

Pour some hot water over the filter to get rid of any dirt, then place the drip coffee maker over the cup with the ice cubes. Now put the coffee in the filter.

Add the water to the coffee

Aim to use an amount of water that covers about 2 to 3 times the amount of coffee you put in the filter.

For this reason, it is recommended to use 60 grams of water and submerge the coffee for 45 to 60 seconds.

Then stir the coffee with a spoon so that the aromas and flavors combine better. Then slowly add the remaining water in a circular motion.

Then let the coffee steep for at least 3 minutes.

Stir the coffee in the cup

Stir the hot coffee until all the ice has melted, while making sure to keep stirring the coffee in the filter so nothing is wasted.

Serve the coffee Japanese style

After pouring the coffee into your favorite cup, add some more ice and your Japanese-style iced coffee is ready.

Tips for an even better iced coffee

As you have seen, making Japanese iced coffee is very similar to making coffee using the pour over method. However, there are some differences that you should be aware of, after all, the ice affects the taste of the coffee.

So, when the temperature of the coffee decreases, the aromatic intensity of the coffee decreases. In other words, when the coffee is cold, it has a less intense taste, and since this coffee was brewed directly over ice, it’s only natural that the drink is more diluted than usual.

To counteract these effects, it is important that you let the freshly filtered coffee sit and stir the coffee in the filter. This way the flavor of the coffee is less susceptible to sudden temperature changes when it hits the ice.

Key elements in preparing an iced coffee

There are basic elements to consider when preparing a Japanese iced coffee.

  • The first is the percentage of coffee and the second is the ratio of ice to water.
  • So, the right ratio of these components makes the difference between a drink that tastes good and one that tastes weak.
  • Therefore, when preparing this recipe, you should ideally use a ratio of 1:15 to 1:18 between coffee and water.
  • This ratio is similar to that used for preparing hot pour-over coffee.
  • However, Japanese iced coffee uses ice and hot water, so we also need to figure out the best ice to water ratio.
  • So, in the case of this recipe, 30g of coffee is used to brew 450ml.
  • Therefore, the recipe developers suggest using 40% of the coffee weight as ice and 60% as hot water.
  • So, you need 180 ml of ice and 270 ml of hot water.
  • Remember that the 180ml of ice serves to quickly cool the coffee so that it reaches room temperature.
  • Don’t overdo it though, generally an estimated 35% to 45% by weight of ice cream is sufficient.
  • However, remember that if you add too much ice, the sudden change in temperature will be greater and the coffee’s taste and aroma will be affected.

The grind is important

Although we said that the grind of the coffee should be medium (not too coarse, not too fine), due to the ice contained in this preparation, it is advisable to grind the coffee finely.

The reason for this is that a finer grind creates a stronger aroma, so the coffee doesn’t taste too mild.

It’s better to let the coffee rest

The low temperature of the coffee is an important factor to consider if you want the drink to retain a good taste. For this reason, it is advisable to let the coffee stand longer compared to other hot drinks.

By doing this, you increase the likelihood that the coffee will retain its flavor and aromas better when it comes into contact with the ice.

Don’t forget to stir the coffee

Stirring the coffee is a very important step in the brewing process as it can lock in the flavors of the coffee. Therefore, it is best to stir the coffee twice during the brewing process.

The first time when you let the mixture sit and the second time when the hot coffee comes into contact with the ice.

Always remember that this preparation increases the coffee’s normal dilution, so be careful not to make it too watery.

Rather, stirring allows the flavors and aromas that don’t penetrate during the coffee’s rest period to finally come into their own before serving.

What distinguishes Japanese iced coffee from other cold drinks?

When we brew hot coffee, we ensure that the coffee retains its flavor because the special properties of the beans are preserved even after the drink has cooled.

Cold water, on the other hand, usually does not extract the aroma present in coffee well. Because of this, cold brews have lower levels of bitterness and acidity, which aren’t necessarily bad, but are detrimental to the beverage’s body and robustness.

some nuances of the coffee are lost due to the cold brewing. Therefore, it is not a good idea to cold brew premium coffee beans as many of their properties are lost in the brewing process.

However, the way Japanese iced coffee is prepared ensures that the natural flavors and aromas are retained almost as well as hot coffee.

According to some experts, Japanese iced coffee is the best way to make cold brew coffee without losing the beverage’s natural flavor.

Advantages of Japanese-style iced coffee over other cold brew beverages

On the internet and in other sources it is often read that cold brew coffee has to be steeped for hours in order to preserve its aroma.

There are even preparations that let the coffee sit for up to 24 hours before it is served. In contrast, Japanese iced coffee takes between 4 and 5 minutes to brew, only slightly longer than regular brewed coffee.

Therefore, it is not necessary to steep for 3 to 5 hours for slow drain cold brew coffee or 12 to 24 hours for cold brew coffee by immersion. So, this is the best method of making iced coffee for those who are in a hurry.

But when it comes to Japanese iced coffee, not all that glitters is gold

For those of us who love coffee but don’t want to wait forever to enjoy it, Japanese iced coffee might be a great ally.

However, there is one thing that is not so good (after all, nothing is perfect). This iced coffee can only be prepared for one cup at a time. So, if you are with several people, it is a bit time consuming to make coffee for everyone.

This is at a disadvantage compared to other hot and cold brewers, where you can brew as much coffee as you need. Another disadvantage of Japanese iced coffee is that it takes time and practice to become familiar with the ratio of the ingredients (water and coffee).

Therefore, try to make this recipe at least a couple of times before you want to impress your friends.

Also, get in the habit of steeping and stirring the coffee (if you haven’t already) because by the time you’re making the iced coffee, you should already have mastered these skills.

Remember that poor preparation will result in coffee that is too diluted and tasteless.