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What is Japanese Style Iced Coffee | Complete Guide

1 moka pot and 2 iced coffee

One popular drink that is taking over the coffee world is the Japanese Style Iced Coffee. It’s an elegant coffee that is so simple to make but produces one of the best-tasting coffees, whether it’s black or mixed with milk. You enjoy the Japanese Style Iced Coffee on a hot day or even during the winter, it tastes that good!

If you are on the search for a coffee alternative, then the Japanese Style Iced Coffee could be the drink for you. Most people prefer this drink to a cold brew coffee, as the taste is better and the overall product is better to drink. It’s all down to personal preference, but we found the Japanese Style Iced Coffee mixed with milk and a tiny amount of caramel syrup was hands down the best iced coffee we ever tried.

In a nutshell, you make a Japanese Style Iced Coffee by pouring hot coffee directly over ice to cool it down. It is also known as flash chilled coffee and referred to as “aisu kōhī” in Japan. You will find this method of iced coffee is extremely popular in Japan, with the majority of coffee shops serving it and even 7-11 convenience stores handing you ice cups to put under the coffee maker.

Whether you are a regular coffee drinker looking for a new kick, simply love iced coffee, or are new to the coffee world, aisu kōhī is definitely worth trying.

What is Japanese Iced Coffee?

To put it simply, Japanese-style iced coffee is a very straightforward coffee drink made with freshly brewed hot coffee poured directly onto ice. The ice instantly cools the hot coffee and mixes together to form the iced coffee drink. It is popularly consumed black but be mixed with milk variants.

The drink has been a popular coffee tradition in Japan for many years and wasn’t brought over to the western world until the mid-1990s when the director for Counter Culture Peter Giuliano visited Japan. 

In today’s thriving coffee community and with increased access to social media, new coffee methods are exploding all over the internet and becoming popular even with people that don’t usually drink coffee. Take the Dalgona coffee for example.

One of the many incredible reasons to try Japanese Iced Coffee is for the speed in which it takes to create. If you feel like drinking an iced coffee, you can make one in around 2 minutes. It will produce a bright and flavorful drink, but if you don’t like the taste, you can mix it with milk and syrups to sweeten.

What Makes Japanese Style Iced Coffee Different?

What makes Japanese iced coffee different is the speed, quality, and process of the coffee making. You can make it in minutes, get a bright and flavorful coffee, and it doesn’t require much effort to create. 

The key thing to note about the flavor when making Japanese iced coffee is that hot water extracts the contents of the coffee faster. This is why you get an entirely different taste comparing it to cold brew coffee. The heat of the water mixing with the coffee increases the chemical reaction and extracts the coffee compounds at a faster rate. When it hits the ice, it retains the flavor produced from brewing but cools down to become an iced coffee.

When compared with the cold brew method, coffee is steeped in room temperature water whilst being chilled inside the refrigerator. This process more often than not produces a stale cup because of oxidization, although it does create a coffee with lower acidity. 

Japanese iced coffee in a Chemex
Japanese iced coffee in a Chemex

In our opinion, the method of flash chilling over ice is the reason that Japanese iced coffee is different. The flavor that is retained in the instant cooling process is why we enjoyed this drink much more than any other iced coffee or cold brew.

Not only is the taste incredible, but the process itself is what really sets Japanese iced coffee apart from the rest. You can make it with any coffee brewing method, even using a coffee pod machine. You just have to put a cup of ice under, hit the button, and enjoy your drink. It is important that you get the ratio of coffee:water correct to get the best results, though.

The Secret to Making Japanese Style Iced Coffee

When making a good cup of Japanese coffee, you need to remember to get the right ratio of coffee and water. Make sure that you double the ratio of coffee to water. The Golden Ratio of coffee to water is 1:16 to be able to brew the perfect cup. When brewing Japanese-style iced coffee, you’ll need 8 ounces of water for every one ounce of coffee. 

If you don’t want your coffee to be watered down, then you need to remember the double ratio, since your diluting your hot brew with ice. This might get a little confusing when you start switching between brewing methods, whole beans, ground coffee, and coffee pods. 

How to Make Japanese Style Iced Coffee?

It doesn’t matter how you brew the coffee in this instance, whether you use a French press, Chemex, or V60, the method of the iced coffee is still the same. Obviously, the brewing method for each coffee would be different.

The best part is that you don’t have to buy any new equipment just to make the drink. Did you know that you can even use an automatic drip machine like the Aeropress or an electric coffee machine to brew Japanese-style iced coffee? All you need to do is put some ice inside your cup or in the carafe. 

When the drink is made perfectly, you will get a flavorful cup with bright notes.

Aside from the brewing device that you’re going to use, all you need is your ground coffee, hot water, and ice. 

The first thing you need to prepare is your coffee container where you’ll place your ice, it may be a carafe, mason jar, or whatever you prefer. When choosing a pour-over method, set your coffee filter and pour medium ground coffee into the filter. 

Place about 2 cups of ice on your container, (make sure you don’t pour too much ice) and set it below the filter. Grab your hot water and then slowly pour it over the coffee grounds. Once done, you can either drink it straight up or add cream and/or sugar. 

The calorie content of this drink depends on whether you added some extra ingredients or drink it straight. A plain black coffee only contains around 2 calories. 

From YouTube Chanel – Hueguh

That is just a general guide, below is our favorite method using the Chemex.

Japanese Style Iced Coffee Recipe with a Chemex

Ingredients

  • Coffee: Weigh out 40 grams
  • Grind size: Use a Medium Grind
  • Water: 422g
  • Ice: 239g
  • Water | Coffee Ratio: 17:1

Steps

  1. Pre-rinse the filter with warm water.
  2. Add the ice into the bottom of the Chemex.
  3. Add your filter.
  4. Add ground coffee to the filter then you can start to pour a small amount of water, making sure you wet all the grounds evenly.
  5. Leave it for 30 seconds and allow the coffee the bloom.
  6. Start to pour water (250g)  in the usual circular motion around the coffee. 
  7. Let the water decline for 20-30 seconds
  8. Pour the remaining water and let the coffee drain.

Key Take-Away

The Japanese Style Iced Coffee is a great-tasting iced coffee that is easy to make and generally perceived to be better than cold brew coffee. It can be enjoyed black or mixed with plain milk, oat milk, and even creamers.

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