Japanese Style Iced Coffee [Explained]

Iced coffee is a refreshing drink. It’s not too sweet, and it has just the right amount of caffeine to keep you awake for the rest of your day. But if you’ve ever tried Japanese-style iced coffee, then you know what true bliss tastes like.

What Is Japanese Style Iced Coffee?

Japanese Iced Coffee is coffee that is brewed hot directly on ice then left with the ice to rapidly chill it. There is no exact way to brew the coffee. Just whatever coffee you prefer brewed hot over a lot of ice.

The coffee is often served with cream and brown sugar.

Why Is It Called Japanese Iced Coffee?

Japanese Style Iced Coffee is, by its tongue of origin, called, “Aisu Khoi.” It is the most popular coffee style of Japan and made completely different than any iced coffee created in the States.

It’s super popular, especially in the hot and humid Japanese summers, and with such a rich history dating back to early Japan.

What’s In It?

Traditional Japanese Iced Coffee Made with coffee, cream, and sugar.

How to Make Japanese Style Iced Coffee? (Aisu Khoi)

The first thing you need to know about making Japanese Iced Coffee is the ingredients. You need roughly 8 ounces of ice, 1 ounce, of course, ground coffee of your choice (preferably medium), and 8 ounces of nearly boiling hot water.

You will also need the correct equipment if you want to make the coffee properly. You’ll need a 16 fluid ounce (or larger) carafe. A carafe is a large, open glass flask, similar to a vase, used to hold and pour drinks of different kinds. You will also need a digital scale to measure the ingredients precisely and a paper coffee filter and cone dripper.

After you’ve gathered and readied all of your ingredients and equipment, you can begin making the coffee. It is important to follow the directions closely for good results.

First, set the carafe on a digital scale and set it to zero. Add 8 ounces of ice to the container and place the dripper cone on top of the carafe. Line the cone with your coffee filter to ensure that no grounds accidentally drip into the coffee drink.

You can then add your ounce of course ground coffee to the filter/cone. After this, you will want to set your scale to 0 again.


The next step is one of the most important steps, it is called “blooming” the coffee. This step is important because it ensures that every last coffee ground with be steeped and that your coffee will get the best flavor possible.

To do this, you will want to pour just enough of your boiling water onto the coffee grounds to wet them all down. You will then let the grounds rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

This ensures the grounds are all evenly wetted down and have soaked up some water to allow the rest of the water to pull the most flavor possible out of the grounds.

After you’ve allowed the grounds to bloom properly, you can then carefully and gently pour the rest of the hot water over the grounds and allow the water to completely drain onto the ice.

The slow filtration process allows the coffee to be cooled as each drop falls through the cone onto the ice cubes below.

How to Serve the Japanese Style Iced Coffee?

It is very important to serve the iced coffee right away. The fresher, the better.

It is most common in Japan to serve coffee with liquid sugar. Japanese style iced coffee is all brewed the same way, it’s a very particular technique.

However, you can play around with the measurements of coffee and water to test different levels of strength and flavor until you find whatever coffee is just right for you.

What Does Japanese Style Iced Coffee Taste Like?

Like most coffee, it depends on the type of bean. However, it is said that Japanese-style iced coffee has a much clearer flavor. The slow, deliberate brew allows each flavor note to bloom and become strong and recognizable.

It is a way to greatly appreciate the coffee bean you choose. This is why it is important to pick a good, fresher coffee bean and grind it yourself or have a barista grind them for you fresh.

What Is the Difference Between Iced Coffee and Japanese Style Iced Coffee?

You may be wondering what the difference is between iced coffee and Japanese-style iced coffee. Well, for one thing, they are not the same thing at all.

Regular iced coffee, as typically sold in the States, is usually a cold brew coffee steeped in a fridge for several hours and then poured over ice. Japanese Style iced coffee is coffee brewed hot and dripped over ice as it brews so that the coffee is rapidly chilled and the flavor blooms.

Most cafes have iced coffee that comes either from pre-made cold brew thrown onto some ice or store-bought cold brew done the same way.

Japanese iced coffee has to be made fresh and by hand. You can run to the grocery store and snag a carton of Japanese-style iced coffee and you certainly can’t brew it and then store it in the fridge for days, serving it as people come.

Japanese style iced coffee has to be brewed fresh for the best flavor profile and strength. It also has to be made by hand or it isn’t really “Japanese style”.

So, the next time you make a choice between Japanese or regular iced coffee, you should consider whether speed or quality is more important to you at the moment.

Brief History of Japanese Style Iced Coffee

According to driftaway.coffee website, The earliest records of Japanese cold brew coffee dates back to the 1600s. The Japanese are thought to have learned it from the Dutch who used this method so that they could have coffee while on their ships.

In Japan, this style of cold brewing coffee has become artistic and changed. They no longer steep coffee in water for long periods of time, but, instead, chill the coffee drip by drip.

The Japanese prefer tall, chimney glasses when serving their lovely iced coffee drinks and they are often served with liquid sugar and Japanese sweets.

Cold-brew coffee only became popular in the States in the last decade or so, and it is typically done by submerging the grinds in water for hours on end.

This method is easier for cafes to make and it is high in caffeine and often cut with milk and sugar to distract from any bitterness. Though uncommon, a few Japanese-style cafes have begun popping up around the country and they offer the slow drip deliciousness that originated in Japan.


Japanese iced coffee may be presented in a variety of ways. If you want to keep it refrigerated for extended periods, you can bottle it and store it like this. You can serve it with ice in a glass cup if you offer it to your friends or customers.

You may also add milk or your favorite syrups to enhance the flavor and bring it to a suitable level for individuals who enjoy soft drinks. If you like it, fantastic! Simply savor!