Why Japanese Iced Coffee is Trending & 3 Recipes to Recreate at Home

How it diverges from your standard cold brew and a few recipes to make your own

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After the Internet went crazy for Dalgona, a South Korean frothy coffee that went viral on TikTok, it’s time for Japan’s answer to cold brew to take on the world. Japanese iced coffee isn’t at all new; in fact, it has been around since the 1950s. So why are we seeing a swarm of recipes being published and shared in 2020? The TLDR answer is that it’s quicker than preparing your pot of cold brew. But there are more benefits to Japanese iced coffee that go beyond its convenience and for true coffee fans, it’s just a matter of slightly adjusting their oh-so-loved coffee routine.

If you’re a subscriber to the pour-over or drip methods, you already own every piece of equipment required to make your very own pot of Japanese iced coffee at home. Proceed exactly as you would: weigh your beans, grind them and boil the water at the perfect temperature before pouring it over the coffee grinds in concentric circles at a slow, meditative speed. What makes Japanese iced coffee so special is that you”ll be letting your coffee drip over ice. Yes, it’s truly that simple.

By Faisal nur ali aziz on Shutterstock

A pot of cold-brewed coffee takes at least 10 hours of preparation, but Japanese iced coffee takes just a little under 20 minutes. Adding ice will dilute your coffee just a little bit but you’ll notice that the taste is much cleaner and perfect bitter, unlike the concentrated coffee flavor of cold brew. Adding the ice in the pot will cool your drink evenly. If you don’t like cubes in your glass, you can stay cool in the heat of the Japanese summer without the fuss.

You might be concerned about caffeine and maybe you’re wondering if Japanese iced coffee is worth sacrificing your boost of energy. There is a way to spruce up your pot to make sure you’re getting the best of both worlds without requiring extra equipment. (Of course, you can always add a shot of espresso but it defeats the purpose of convenience.) Your best bet is to swap ice cubes for coffee cubes. Coffee cubes can be made with leftover coffee by simply storing it in your freezer in its own tray. It’s a great way to make sure no drop is wasted.

3 Japanese Iced Coffee Recipes to Try

At this point you might be thinking: “Man, I want a cup coffee.”

We’ve scoured the internet for a few interesting recipes for those who want to give Japanese iced coffee a try. You don’t need to live or be in Japan to enjoy this method but we do want to feature a few Japanese resources here for authenticity’s sake (no Japanese required).

1. Traditional Japanese Iced Coffee

2. Dripped Iced Café au Lait

3. Coffee lemonade

Finally, if you want to learn more about coffee in Japan, Kyoto-based roaster Kurasu offers a monthly subscription service for those who want to try different blends from coffee shops around Japan. You can also browse their online shop for some home equipment if you’re just getting started.


Feature image by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

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