Japanese Method Iced Coffee

Japanese Method Iced Coffee

Summer is officially here! That calls for fresh farmers’ market produce, backyard barbecues and, of course, cold drinks. I’ve shared before how to make smooth, full-flavored, cold-brew coffee for drinks like a caramel iced latte or coffee cocktail. While I love that method, it takes about 8-12 hours for the coffee to steep - and let’s face it…sometimes a craving for iced coffee hits when you don’t want to wait that long.

Have no fear! You can still make a refreshing iced cup ‘o joe in a few minutes using the Japanese Method. It’s a simple concept - brew using a pourover device like a Chemex or drip cone, and replace half the water you’d normally use with ice in the bottom of the carafe/cup/brewing vessel. As you brew, the hot coffee will start to melt the ice and cool down the coffee without weakening the final cup. Your ratio of total water to grounds remains the same as it would for hot coffee - you’re just substituting ice for part of the water.

How do you enjoy your coffee in the summer? Share your favorite beans, brewing methods, flavorings, etc. in the comments below!

[Step by step Japanese Method instructions at the bottom.]

Japanese Method Iced Coffee-2

Japanese Method Iced Coffee-13

Japanese Method Iced Coffee-2

Japanese Iced Coffee Steps

Japanese Method Iced Coffee (Using a Chemex)*
Proportions given yield 2 servings

You will need:
Chemex and filters
Hot water kettle
Coffee grinder (you could do without this, but freshly ground coffee is definitely the most flavorful)
Kitchen Scale (again, you can brew without this, but I’d highly recommend using one to get the proportions correct)
48 grams of freshly roasted coffee beans (I used FreshGround’s Uganda coffee)

1. Gather your supplies and start boiling the water.

2. Rinse the Chemex filter with hot water. This helps remove any papery taste that may linger. Dump out any water that falls into the Chemex.

3. Add half the amount of water you would normally brew with in the form of ice at the bottom of the Chemex. I typically use a total of 710 grams of water with 48 grams of coffee, so in this case, I put 355 grams of ice in the bottom of my Chemex. Depending on what kind of coffee you use and how fresh it is, you may need to adjust the water/ice to coffee ratio. Put the rinsed filter back in place. Grind your coffee (slightly more coarse than what you’d use for a drip coffee maker) and add the grounds to the filter.

4. Pour about 50-60 grams of hot water (just under a boil) over the grounds and wait for about 30 seconds, letting the coffee “bloom.” You’ll see the grounds bubble up as gasses are released.

5. Continue pouring hot water over the grounds until you’ve poured in a total of 355 grams. (Making your water plus ice equal the full 710 grams.)

6. Remove the filter and pour into glasses, being sure the ice gets evenly distributed between the glasses. Serve and enjoy!

For more information and a video on brewing using a Chemex, click here

*You can use other pourover tools with the Japanese Method, such as the HarioV60 Drip Cone. Follow the same instructions, but adjust the grind and the amount of coffee, water and ice accordingly. 

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  1. Such a great idea! I absolutely hate watered-down iced coffee. I’m trying this soon!!

  2. Had no idea I’ve been making my iced coffee the Japanese way! Thanks for sharing this post. Love your blog.

  3. I was always a cold brew fan and have made it a habit to make some every chance I get just so I have it stocked in the fridge. I agree that the Japanese Iced Coffee method is also great and a lot easier to make if you don’t have the time for an 18-hour cold brew steep. Central American coffees are my favorite for this method.

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