Cold brew coffee has been all the craze lately due to its ease and convenience. Relatively little effort is required in order to create this sub-par coffee — just drown the coffee grounds in water and forget about it for a while.

My distaste for cold brew should be rather apparent because there's an alternative that preserves all the nuances and subtleties of hot coffee — Japanese-style iced coffee. It isn't strictly 'Japanese' per se, but it's been popularized in Japan and is a useful distinction to make from other forms of iced coffee.

What Is Japanese Iced Coffee?

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This technique results in a product proportional to the amount of care you put into the brewing process which means the more you brew, the better your coffee gets.

It is made by brewing hand-dripped/pour-over coffee directly into ice, immediately cooling the concoction. This process also locks in the aromatics and entire spectrum of tasting notes that would have otherwise been lost in the cold brew procedure.

Japanese-Style Iced Coffee

  • Prep Time:3 mins
  • Cook Time:3 mins
  • Total Time:6 mins
  • Servings:1
  • Medium


  • Coffee dripper like the Hario V60
  • Coffee filter
  • Kettle or anything to pour water with
  • 27-30 grams ground coffee medium to medium fine grind
  • Ice
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  • Step 1

    Fold the coffee filter into the coffee dripper.

  • Step 2

    Put the coffee grounds in like so.

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  • Step 3

    Fill a container with ice.

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  • Step 4

    Set the dripper on top of the container, drip and allow the grounds to 'bloom' for around 30 seconds.

  • Step 5

    Pour water in concentric circles while maintaining the bloom.

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  • Step 6

    Repeat for around 3 minutes. There are a myriad of water:coffee ratios, but I brewed around 350mL of iced coffee from 27g of coffee.

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  • Step 7

    Serve up your iced coffee however you want and enjoy. I usually drink it by itself, but it goes well with milk too!

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I find that Japanese Iced Coffee is a lot more vibrant compared to cold brew, and has a wider range of tasting notes. You could also adjust the brew to your preference by making it more syrupy and more acidic by passing less water through the coffee grounds or by adding more coffee.

A more concentrated brew is a fine blend for milk and sweeteners, but I do recommend drinking it unadulterated. After all, truly good coffee tastes great even by itself.