If you think cold brew coffee is not all it’s cracked up to be, then you are not alone. But don't give up hope, Japanese iced coffee just might be the brew for you.

Many people feel that immersion cold brew, where coffee is left in a container to steep overnight, can be dull and flavorless.

“The coffee to me is boring and you don't get the subtle notes that you get from other brewing methods.”
-Julian Aicea, Chicago

Slow drip cold brew coffee extracts a wider range of flavors, but the process still takes most of the day and can be labor-intensive.

“It can be a long, methodical process. It generally takes 8-10 hours (for my brew method). Additionally, if brewing with too cold of water, the dripper can get clogged, which slows the drip significantly. In my experience, it needs to be watched closely for at least the first hour or so.” 

-Chad, Portland, OR

Luckily there is another method that combines the flavor profile of slow drip, the ease of immersion, and the speed of hot brewed coffee.

Enter Japanese Iced Coffee

Japanese Iced coffee is simply coffee brewed with hot water, directly onto ice.

Other cold brew methods like immersion or slow drip use ice cold water and steep the coffee grounds for 6-12 hours.

Brewing coffee with hot water quickly dissolves the desired flavors and aromatics in ground coffee. This allows you to extract the range of interesting flavors that coffee can produce without having to wait for hours. The coffee cools instantly as it contacts the ice, this rapid cooling locks in the flavors and volatile aromatics.

The result: cold coffee with a full range of flavors that takes no more time to brew than hot coffee. Boom.

We’re going to look at several different ways to make delicious Japanese iced coffee at home. We talked with over 150 coffee professionals and enthusiasts from around the world about their experiences with making cold brew coffee.

We learned what they love about Japanese Iced coffee, the drawbacks, and recipes specific to each brewing device. We also have recommendations from baristas on how to achieve perfect Japanese iced coffee every time.

In this article, you will find:

I. Benefits

II. Drawbacks

III. Advice

IV. Recipes

IX. Coffee

Benefits of Japanese Iced Coffeee
Cold Brew from Lemonjello's Coffee in Holland, MI

Japanese iced coffee has several advantages over traditional cold brew coffee:

Make Cold Brew Fast

“It makes cold coffee quickly. If you have sudden craving for an iced coffee it is a great way to make it without having to wait 24 hours for cold brew in the immersion process.”

-David Inden, Seattle, WA USA

Bright, flavorful coffee

“When done well, the Japanese iced coffee method will result in an arguably more flavorful, bright and complex brew. We can showcase a great washed Yirgacheffe coffee and not have it taste like every other cold brew that people have out there”

-Jonathan Pascual, Taproom Coffee & Beer, Atlanta, GA USA

No new equipment needed

From Aeropress to automatic drip machine, you can make Japanese iced coffee with any coffee maker you have at home. The only difference is the ice sitting in the vessel while brewing.

Drawbacks of Japanese Iced Coffeee

Japanese Iced Coffee isn’t right for every occasion. It has its limitations, such as:

It makes just one serving at a time

“Slower for each cup (compared to keeping a bottle of cold brew already made in the fridge). Labor intensive.”

-Victor H.

It can be challenging to achieve the right coffee strength

“You must account for the ice melting during brewing that will add to your net coffee. This requires adjusting of grind size, water added, etc. It takes some trial and error before you get a cup that you will truly enjoy.”

- Chad, Portland, OR

Iced Hario v60 from Kinfolk

You can create Japanese Iced Coffee with the brewing devices you currently own. There’s no need to buy special gear, and you can even use your usual hot coffee brewing recipe with some minor tweaks.

While each brew method is unique, there are some common guidelines to follow when adjusting your recipe from from hot brew to cold brew. We had a few pros in the coffee world explain those guidelines:

Use a finer grind

“You are basically trying to dissolve the same amount of coffee as you would when brewing hot coffee but with only 2/3 the amount of water. This means the grinds need to be finer in order to dissolve the same amount but with less water.”

-Tito Pena, The Wydown Coffee Bar, Washington D.C.

Use large ice cubes to decrease dilution

“Use larger ice in the decanter, so it melts slower and stays above the brewed coffee as long as possible.”

-Lee Sill, Quills Coffee, Louisville KY

Use a lower water-to-coffee ratio (aka more coffee)

“You will only brew a 1:10 ratio of coffee to poured water. This is because you have water in the chemex already as ice and will add more later.”

-Dustin Thomas, Steadfast Coffee, Nashville, TN

A Good Grind is The Key To Better Coffee

Brewing great coffee demands a consistent grind, no matter which brewing method you use. Handground was created by a community of thousands of coffee enthusiasts to make it easy to achieve a consistent grind for any brew method.

Click here to learn more about Handground

Recipes for Japanese Iced Coffeee

While we share top recipes from individuals in the coffee industry, we also created a "collective" recipe for brewing methods where we had enough submissions. These recipes are simply an average of all the recipes we received for that device.

Why would we want to create an "average recipe"? The idea comes from a book called The Wisdom of Crowds, where the main idea is that crowds make better decisions than individuals under the right circumstances. We have applied this idea to French Press and Aeropress recipes with great results.

‍Iced Chemex from Steadfast Coffee

Iced Aeropress Recipes

Aeropress offers a lot of versatility when it comes to brewing hot and cold. Just check out our list of 66 Aeropress recipes to see for yourself.

Get an Aeropress here

1. Collective Aeropress Recipe

We took all the iced Aeropress recipes we received and developed a “collective” recipe to try. This recipe won’t work for every coffee, but it’s a great starting point.

Method: Inverted

Coffee: 19.8g

Grind size: Setting 3.5 on Handground (medium)

Water: 228g

Ice: 167g

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 20:1

Brew time: 2 minutes 6 seconds

  1. Insert plunger into Aeropress so that it reaches the bottom of measurement mark “4”. Place it on the counter with the open end facing up
  2. Add ground coffee into the cylinder and pour 25g of water, making sure to saturate all the grounds. Give a quick stir and let the coffee bloom for 30 seconds
  3. After 30 seconds, pour the remaining water in, up to 228 grams.
  4. Add a paper filter to the filter cap and wet. Screw the cap and filter onto the cylinder.
  5. Let steep until 1:45
  6. While coffee is steeping, add 167 grams of ice to the mug or container
  7. At 1:45, flip the Aeropress onto the container and plunge for 20-30 seconds. Stop when the Aeropress begins to hiss.

Try out these other Iced Aeropress recipes from members of the community. They are organized by strength of coffee (water-to-coffee ratio), but we suggest trying them all.

2. Strong- 17:1 Ratio

Brian Gumm, Ross Street Roasting Co, Tama, Iowa

Method: Standard

Coffee: 17 grams

Grind size: Setting 4 on Handground (medium)

Water: 206 grams

Ice: 77 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 17:1

Brew time: 2:00

  1. ‍Weigh out ice - Put your empty mug on a gram scale, and tare/zero out the scale. Put a handful of ice cubes in the glass, around half full.
  2. ‍Adjust water level - For the amount of ice you've placed in the glass, subtract that from the amount of hot water you'll use to brew the coffee in the AeroPress. (Example: 10oz/283.5g capacity mug. Four ice cubes = 77g. 283.5g-77g = 206.5g of hot water to be added)
  3. ‍Place AeroPress with ground coffee onto the mug, and tare/zero out the scale
  4. ‍Pour 200F water onto the grounds in the AeroPress - Fill to the weight worked out in Step 2.
  5. ‍Remove mug & AeroPress from scale, and steep grounds for 30-60 seconds.
  6. ‍Press down on AeroPress plunger to complete the extraction. Hot coffee from AeroPress will melt most of the ice. Enjoy iced coffee!

‍‍Iced Aeropress from Baltazar of Neptune Coffee

3. Stronger- 12:1 Ratio

Aldous H, Lander WY

Method: Inverted

Coffee: 24g

Grind size: Setting 4 on Handground

Water: 250g

Ice: 200g

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 12:1

Brew time: 1:30

  1. Add coffee, bloom for 20-30 seconds or until saturated
  2. Slowly add remainder of coffee over the next 45 seconds
  3. Wet filter and install on Aeropress
  4. Brew 45 seconds
  5. Flip the Aeropress over and onto your cup. Press for 45 seconds.

4. Ice Aeropress with Cream

Uncle Wolfie, Anodyne Coffee Co., Milwaukee

Method: Standard

Coffee: 25 grams

Grind size: Setting 3 on Handground (medium-fine)

Water: 150 grams

Ice: 225 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 15:1

Brew time: 0:54

1. Add 225g of ice in a pint glass with 1/3 ounce cream, Aeropress on top.

2. Add 25g coffee and 150g water.

3. Vigorously stir for 30 seconds.

4. Plunge slowly

Iced Chemex Recipes
Iced from Crema Coffee in Nashville


Chemex is the perfect method for making multiple cups of cold brew at a time at a time.

One challenge with the Chemex is finding the right grind size that gives the cup enough strength, but doesn’t clog the thick Chemex filter and over extract the coffee.

Get Your Chemex

Try this Collective Chemex Recipes, and then test out the recipes shops around the world.

1. Collective Chemex Recipe

Coffee: 40 grams

Grind size: Setting 4.5 on Handground (medium)

Water: 422 grams

Ice: 239 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 17:1

Brew time: 3:45

  1. Rinse the filter and dump out the water from the Chemex
  2. Add 239 grams of ice to the bottom of the Chemex and replace the filter
  3. Add ground coffee to the filter and pour 30-40 grams of water, making sure to wet all the grounds evenly.
  4. Let coffee bloom for 30 seconds
  5. Pour water in a circular motion over the grounds up to 250g total. Let the water line fall for 20-30 seconds
  6. Pour the remaining water (up to 422 grams) in the same circular motion and let the coffee drain from the filter. Final brew time should be 3:45

If the brew time is too long, try pouring more water in the first pulse (after the bloom). The more water in the cone, the faster it will drain.

You can serve the coffee over ice or without. Add more ice to the Chemex to keep colder, longer.

2. Strong- 16:1 Ratio

True North Coffee Roasters

Coffee: 40g

Grind size: Setting 3.5 on Handground

Water: 300g

Ice: 340g

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 16:1

Brew time: 5:55

  1. Add 340 grams of ice in bottom of Chemex. Do NOT tare out scale
  2. Preinfuse the grounds with 80 grams of water, wait 60 seconds,
  3. Pour in 50 gram increments to a total of 640 grams (ice included), swirl and serve

3. Strong and High Volume

David Inden, Seattle, WA USA

Coffee: 50 grams

Grind size: Setting 7.5 on Handground (coarse)

Water: 550 grams

Ice: 250 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 16:1

Brew time: 3:30

  1. Prep vessel and filter with hot water rinse
  2. Remove filter and place ice at bottom of Chemex
  3. Replace filter and place coffee in the filter
  4. Cover grounds in filter with 50g water and let sit for 30 seconds to bloom
  5. Pour in remaining water up to 800g in smooth swirling motion keeping away from edge
  6. At 3:30 minutes remove filter with grounds
  7. Swirl coffee in chemex and serve

4. Strongest- 9:1 Ratio

Chase Bobier, Barista Parlor Golden Sound, Murfreesboro, TN USA

Coffee: 66 grams

Grind size: Setting 5.5 on Handground (medium-coarse)

Water: 200 grams

Ice: 400 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 9:1

Brew time: 3:00

  1. Rinse your filter with cool water and place 400g of good ice in the bottom of the chemex.
  2. Replace filter and add grinds, then add 60g of water at 201 degrees F and let bloom for 30 seconds.
  3. When the bloom is complete pour the remaining 540g of water steadily for two minutes, the filter should empty within 30 seconds. This will make 1 litre of coffee.

Iced Harvio v60 Recipes
Iced Hario v60 from Fresh Cup Magazine

The Hario v60 is a tried and true pour over cone trusted by millions around the world. It would make sense that it is one of the most popular ways to make Japanese Iced Coffee as well.

The flow rate of the v60 is easier to control than other cones because of the large hole at the bottom of the cone and the thin paper filter. This makes the v60 very versatile; by adjusting the pour rate and grind size, you can produce very different results with the same coffee.

Get A Hario V60

Here is the collective Hario v60 recipe, and then we will check out recipes from the pros:

1. Collective Hario v60 Recipe

Coffee: 22 grams

Grind size: Setting 3.5 on Handground (medium)

Water: 205 grams

Ice: 187 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 18:1

Brew time: 2:45

  1. Prewet the filter and dump out the water from the container.
  2. Add 187 grams of ice to the container
  3. Add coffee and pour 20-25 grams of water, fully wetting the grounds. Let steep for 30 seconds
  4. Pour in water up to 100 grams using a circular motion around the cone. Let the water line reside for about 20 seconds
  5. Pour remaining water (up to 205g) and let the coffee drain from the cone

2. Weak - 23:1 Ratio

Niki, Mucho Sarap

Coffee: 20 grams

Grind size: Setting 2.5 on Handground (medium-fine)

Water: 185 grams

Ice: 285 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 23:1

Brew time: 2:00

  1. Pre-wet the coffee filter with about 100 grams of water
  2. Grind beans, add beans into rinsed filter.
  3. Add 20-25 grams of hot water (199F), allow coffee to bloom for 30 seconds.
  4. Add remaining water (up to 185 grams) of water so total weight is 285 g.
  5. Pour mix into another glass vessel.

3. Strong

Austin Patterson, Uel Zing Coffee, Bloomington, IN; Tinker Coffee Co, Indianapolis, IN

Coffee: 18 grams

Grind size: Setting 3 on Handground (medium-fine)

Water: 225 grams

Ice: 75 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 17:1

Brew time: 2:45

  1. Pre-wet the cone with around 100 grams of water. Grind beans, add ground into rinsed filter.
  2. Add hot water (199f), allow coffee to bloom for 30 seconds.
  3. Add about 185 g of water so total weight is 285 g.
  4. Pour mix into another glass vessel.

4. Strongest- 10:1 Ratio

Dave Forman, Director of Coffee, One Line Coffee

Coffee: 24 grams

Grind size: Setting 4 on Handground (medium)

Water: 230 grams

Ice: 200 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 10:1

Brew time: 2:30

  1. Prewet your filter, grind and dose.
  2. Fill a 16 oz. glass or decanter with ice.
  3. Bloom at 0:00 with 30-40 grams of water.
  4. At 0:30, begin pouring with small amounts (perhaps 50 grams with the initial pour, then 20-30 grams per pour after that).
  5. Add your final amount of water around 2:00, bringing the total water amount to 230 grams.
  6. Strain the coffee out of the decanter into a fresh 16 oz. glass (should be approximately 340 grams of liquid), and add ice to the top.

Iced Kaliva Wave Recipes
Iced Kalita Wave Pour Over from Irving Farm Coffee

The Wave is another popular cone used for Japanese Iced Pour Overs. The flat bed design with 3 small filter holes is more forgiving than the v60 because it better regulates the water flow.

We didn’t have enough submissions to develop a collective recipe for the Kalita Wave, so here are 3 recipes from coffee pros for you to try out.

Get A Kalita Wave

1. Weak- 26:1 Ratio

DuWayne Hegel, The Urban Bean Coffeehouse Cafe, Orange Park FL

Coffee: 20 grams

Grind size: Setting 5.5 on Handground (medium-coarse)

Water: 350 grams

Ice: 175 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 26:1

Brew time: 3:00

  1. Place filter in Kalita Wave brewer
  2. Soak filter, then empty water from carafe
  3. Add 175 gms ice to carafe
  4. Place 20gms ground coffee in filter
  5. Pour approx 40gms hot water (195 to 205 degrees F) over grounds to bloom for 30 seconds.
  6. After bloom continue pouring hot water slowly over grounds to complete 350 grams combined ice and water in carafe.
  7. Ideal time is 3 minutes. Pour should be at same rate as drip through filter. When complete, swirl and pour into iced tumbler - Enjoy!

2. Strong - 20:1 Ratio

Mario Baltodano, Bibble & Sip, New York, NY USA

Coffee: 25 grams

Grind size: Setting 5.5 on Handground (medium-coarse)

Water: 250 grams

Ice: 250 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 18:1

Brew time: 4:00

  1. Pre-wet filter and dump out water from container. Add ice
  2. Add coffee to filter and pour 25-30 grams of water. Let bloom for 30 seconds
  3. Pour water in circular motion up to 1500 grams and let sit for 30-45 seconds
  4. Pour water circular motion up to 2500 grams and let sit for 30-45 seconds
  5. Pour remaining water and let the cone drain.

Note: We included a standard set of instructions because a method wasn’t given

3. Strongest- 18:1 Ratio

Jarboe, Palace Coffee Co

Coffee: 25 grams

Grind size: Setting 4 on Handground (medium)

Water: 270 grams

Ice: 180 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 18:1

Brew time: 3:30

  1. Weigh out 180 g of big ice cubes in your decanter
  2. Heat your water to a boil, weigh and grind the coffee. No need to prewet the filter
  3. Pour 75 g of water. Let bloom for 45 second
  4. Slow pour to 100 g of water by 1:00
  5. Pause until 1:30
  6. Slow pour to 180 g by 1:50
  7. Pause until 2:00
  8. Slow pour to 270 g by 2:30
  9. Let drain until 3:30

Ice Batch Brew Recipes

You can use an automatic brewer for larger batches of Japanese Iced Coffee. The same guidelines apply to this method as all other Japanese Iced Methods: use a finer grind at a stronger water-to-coffee ratio (more coffee) to make up for the strength lost from ice.

Check out these two recipes from coffee shops using Fetco Batch Brewers to create Japanese Iced Coffee.

1. Dillon Smith, Bongo Java Roasting Co, Nashville

Coffee: 160 grams

Grind size: Setting 5.5 on Handground (medium-coarse)

Water: 1892 grams

Ice: 911 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 18:1

Brew time: 6:00

  1. Prepare 911 grams of ice in a four-quart container.
  2. Measure 160 grams of coffee and grind on 9.5 on a zeroed EK43.
  3. Load the Fetco basket and run the "Iced Coffee" cycle.
  4. Refrigerate after brewing.

2. Mike Balderrama, Potter’s House DC

Coffee: 266 grams

Grind size: Setting 3.5 on Handground (medium)

Water: 1800 grams

Ice: 1800 grams

Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 14:1

Brew time: 5:00

“We tweaked the pre-infusion settings and played with grind size [on the Fetco batch brewer). That way, you just add the ice to the bottom of a Bunn urn, set it under the Fetco, add your ground coffee to the basket--hit brew and in 5 minutes you're all set! For larger batches, we add all the ice at the beginning, then run baskets one after the other.”

Cold Brew with milk from Caravan Coffee

Coffee Recommendations

Japanese iced method is very flexible, but most people recommend using a light roast with bright flavors.

However, over a third of respondents said any coffee works well with Japanese iced, so choose your favorite hot coffee and try it iced.

Works with Any Coffee

“Any coffee works for this method. However not all coffees work for all methods. When brewing a high-end specialty coffee to be cold I would only use a method like this.”
-Tito Pena, The Wydown Coffee Bar, Washington D.C.

Washed Ethiopians

“We always used a washed Ethiopian coffee for our standard iced coffee served to customers. In general, Japanese-style iced coffee brewing works well to highlight flavor characteristics like ‘floral’ or ‘citrusy’”.
-Jonathan Pascual, Taproom Coffee & Beer, Atlanta, GA USA

Bright Kenyans

“I like to use bright Kenyans because this method presents both the citrus acidity and the killer sweetness similar to an Arnold Palmer, but only coffee. Ehtipoians (washed ot naturals) also work well in this method. Honestly, I haven't found a well roasted coffee that didn't work in this method.” 

-Jarboe, Palace Coffee Co

Check out the entire cold brew series

The coffee community is full of passionate professionals and enthusiasts who love to share their advice on brewing better coffee. More than 150 of them responded to our questions about cold brew coffee, so we had to split up the information into 4 separate articles.

If you missed the Introduction to our Cold Brew Series, you can start here:

Beginner's Guide to Cold Brew Coffee: Recipes and Tips from Pros

If you want to explore the other methods of brewing cold brew, check out these articles on Immersion and Cold Brew Drip:

Beginner's Guide to Immersion Cold Brew Coffee

How to Make Ice Drip Cold Brew Coffee

Cover Photo by Steadfast Coffee