2 Best Ways to Get Your Iced Coffee

When it’s time to beat the heat, a tumbler of iced coffee fills the bill                                                          image source

Man, it’s hot. You want something caffeinated, but don’t want the extra heat? And you don’t care for the high sugar and milk concoctions at the local coffee palace?

I totally get it.

Maybe you’ve had common iced coffee.

And hated it.

Especially if you’ve made iced coffee the way a lot of people do. By pouring coffee, straight from the pot, onto ice.

Or worse, use yesterday’s coffee.

There’s a better way…

Click an item in the table below to skip to a section or continue on to read the whole article.

Actually there are a couple of better ways. And we’re going to cover those right here.

Because sometimes you want a lighter, brighter drink. Sometimes you want a little less acidity.

Sometimes, you want something now.

The drinks we’ll talk about are cold brew and Japanese iced coffee.

Cold Brew Iced Coffee vs Japanese Iced Coffee: What’s The Difference?

Both are iced coffee, but they’re brewed differently. Cold brew uses cold water, time and infusion. Japanese iced coffee, a variation of the pour over method, uses hot water and, as it brews, drips onto ice.

The results of the different brewing methods yield two different and tasty iced coffees, each with its own character.

French Press cb (Small)
image source

Cold Brew

Cold brew is made with cold water. Once mixed, it brews via infusion over a 12-18 hour period.

The longer brewing time and cold water help keep some coffee compounds from dissolving.

This mellows out the coffee by leaving the acidic compounds out and gives it a sweet, mellow, less harsh taste.

The pros of cold brew are:

  • Less acidity.
  • Smoother taste.
  • Chocolatey tones.


The cons of cold brew:

  • 12 to 18 hour brew time.
  • A somewhat heavier flavor.
  • Some feel it’s somewhat leaden or cardboardy in taste.
  • It loses some of the coffee aromas and flavors that you get from hot coffee.


Because cold brew is a little stronger due to using more grounds and a longer brew time, it really works well as a base for other coffee drinks. The coffee flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients, rather, it blends in.

How does the infusion method work?

Let’s whip up a batch and see.

Here’s what you need to make cold brew:

Using a ratio of 4 to 1, water to coffee:


  1. Pour cold water into the press.
  2. Add the grounds to the water.
  3. Stir the mixture until it’s well blended.
  4. Pop the plunger on top – don’t press anything yet.
  5. Put it into the fridge for 12-18 hours.
  6. Time up? Now press the plunger as normal.
  7. You can further filter through cheesecloth, but other than that, get the ice out.

As mentioned, this will make a great base for cold coffee drinks as well. You’ll probably want to make a larger quantity. The 4 to 1 ration can be scaled up. Make the calculations and use the same steps.

Tall JIC (Small)
image source

Japanese Iced Coffee

Japanese iced coffee – sometimes called flash brew or ice brew – is made just like hot pour over with the addition that it drips over ice as brews. It’s ready in about 3-5 minutes.

This method needs a bit more explanation because people always ask how this is different from pouring hot coffee over ice.

The difference is when using regular drip, you have to wait for the coffee to be completely brewed. By the time you pour it over ice, the coffee has started to oxidize with its exposure to air and loss of flavor has already occurred.

Brewed via drip directly onto ice in the cup or glass, the ice stops the brewing process immediately. Some feel that brewing this way gives a cleaner tasting coffee. It preserves a lot of the flavors of the original bean because they get locked into the solution rather than escape into the air.

In the Japanese brew method, there’s less time for those oxidizing factors to occur. It’s also thought to be a little sweeter, so you may not need the sugar.

The pros of Japanese iced coffee are:

  • Brighter taste.
  • Quicker to make.
  • More coffee aroma and flavors are retained.
  • Flavor tones of the original bean can be tasted.

The cons are:

  • May not be as good as a base.
  • Some may find it to be a little too acidic.

Sounds easy, how do I make it?

Just like regular pour over/drip coffee with one addition.

What you’ll need to make Japanese iced coffee:

  • Pour over brewer like a Melitta or Clever dripper and a filter.
  • Medium ground coffee.
  • 8 oz. of water – 195 – 205°.
  • 8 oz. of ice – Most standard size ice cube trays are made so that one ice cube equals 1 ounce. So eight cubes.


  1. Fill a glass or cup with the ice and pop the pour over brewer on top.
  2. With a filter in the brewer, add your coffee.
  3. Pour the hot water slowly and evenly over the grounds and let the coffee drip onto the ice.
  4. When the brewing is done, off comes the brewer, in goes some ice and enjoy.

Using a ratio of 16 oz. of water to 1 oz. coffee, you can scale this up if you use something like a Chemex pot. Otherwise, the recipe above makes two eight ounce servings.

Japanese iced coffee is a little more acidic than cold brew so it might not make a great mixer. Experiment to find out, you may prefer having the stronger flavor tones of the coffee in the mix.

There you go, two different recipes to try out and enjoy. Whether one is better than the other is completely up to you to decide. Just know this, either will be definitely better than what you might have tried before.

That coffee was so yesterday.

Everyone has a favorite Iced Coffee
recipe. Here are two of the most
popular right now. Give them a
try. Might have another favorite?

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