Iced Filter Coffee
December 15, 2023

What is Japanese Iced Filter Coffee?

Japanese Iced Filter Coffee, often called "Japanese iced coffee, or just Iced Filter Coffee", is a popular method of preparing coffee that originated in Japan (surprise, surprise). It's known for its refreshing and bright flavour profile, and it's different from traditional iced coffee in that it's brewed hot and then rapidly cooled down to preserve the flavours and aromatics. This rapid cooling helps lock in the complex flavours of the coffee. This results in a fresh and vibrant iced coffee with the characteristics of the beans preserved. It's a popular way to enjoy iced coffee, especially during the warmer months. But it is also delicious at any time of year!

Japanese Iced Coffee vs. Other Cold Coffee Drinks

As mentioned earlier, flash chilling the coffee brewed using the pour-over method gives Japanese Iced Filter Coffee fantastic clarity of flavour. This makes it a unique and refreshing iced coffee experience compared to other cold coffee brewing techniques. Here's a comparison of Japanese Iced Filter Coffee with some other popular cold coffee methods:

Japanese Iced Filter Coffee vs. Cold Brew:

  • Flavour: Japanese Iced Filter Coffee typically has a brighter and more nuanced flavour profile with pronounced acidity. Cold brew, on the other hand, tends to be milder, with lower acidity and a smoother taste.
  • Brewing Time: Japanese Iced Filter Coffee is brewed relatively quickly, typically in a few minutes. Cold brew requires an extended steeping time (12-24 hours), resulting in a concentrated coffee that is then diluted.
  • Body: Japanese Iced Filter Coffee often has a lighter body, while cold brew is known for its heavier and fuller body.
  • Aroma: The aroma of Japanese Iced Filter Coffee is fresher and more pronounced due to the quick brewing process, while cold brew may have a milder aroma.

Japanese Iced Filter Coffee vs. Iced Espresso:

  • Strength: Iced espresso is a concentrated shot of espresso served over ice. It's bold and intense, whereas Japanese Iced Filter Coffee is typically milder and more diluted.
  • Flavour Complexity: Japanese Iced Filter Coffee can offer a broader range of flavour notes, while iced espresso emphasizes the rich and intense coffee essence.

Japanese Iced Filter Coffee vs. Iced Latte:

  • Dilution: Japanese Iced Filter Coffee is typically served directly over ice, allowing for some dilution. Iced lattes, on the other hand, involve espresso or coffee shots mixed with milk or milk alternatives, creating a creamy and less intense coffee experience.

In summary, Japanese Iced Filter Coffee stands out for its fresh and vibrant flavour, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate the nuances of coffee. It offers a balance between a refreshing iced beverage and the complexity of traditional pour-over coffee.

How Do You Brew Iced Filter Coffee?

Because I'm generally in the mood for a party, I will give you a recipe for making one litre. But if you want to make less, you can adjust the coffee and water ratios accordingly. You won't need anything complicated or expensive, and everything you need is readily available on fixxcoffee.com. Here's what you'll need to make an Iced Filter Coffee:

What You'll Need

  • A pour-over coffee maker and filter papers. A V60 or Chemex, for example.
  • A vessel of some description. Ideally able to hold 1lt of liquid. A Pyrex jug or a French press will suffice. So long as the V60 can sit on top. Or you can do it all with a Chemex. 
  • Ground coffee. Coarse is fine, but if you have a grinder, slightly finer is optimal.
  • A scales and a kettle. 
  • And ice (Duh). 

When brewing 1 litre of coffee, it's generally recommended to use 60g of coffee. However, for this particular recipe, I prefer to use 65g. The reason for this is that I only use 600g of hot water to brew the coffee, while the other 400g of water is frozen. In other words, it's ice. Since there is less contact between the coffee and hot water, I've added an extra 5g of coffee to improve extraction. A regular coarse grind works well, but a slightly finer grind would further enhance the extraction.

Method

  • In your vessel of choice, add 400g of ice.
  • Place your pour-over on top, and add 65g of your favourite FiXX.
  • Pour 100g of boiling water onto your coffee and allow it to "bloom" for 45 seconds. 
  • Slowly pour over the remaining 500g of water, occasionally stirring, ensuring all the coffee gets equally saturated. 

You'll notice the hot coffee drip onto the ice below, flash-chilling it and trapping all the deliciousness. By the time the brewing process is done, most, if not all, of the ice should be melted into the brew, giving you 1lt of ready-to-drink cold coffee—sweet and clean and packed full of your favourite FiXX flavours. What you do from here is up to you, but I would recommend straight up in a tall glass full of ice. You can, of course, add milk or sweeteners and syrups if you like, but why not try it black first. You might be surprised. 

What's The Best Coffee To Use For Iced Filter Coffee?

The best type of coffee to use for Japanese Iced Filter Coffee are ones known for their bright and lively flavours. Single-origin coffees are often a popular choice because they can showcase unique and distinct origin characteristics. Here are some coffee types that work well for Iced Filter Coffee:

  • Light Roast Coffees: Light roast beans (FiXX Single Origins) retain more of their natural flavours, making them ideal for highlighting the bright and fruity notes commonly associated with Japanese Iced Filter Coffee. 
  • African Coffees: Coffee from regions like Ethiopia (FiXX Oslo) and Kenya is known for its floral, fruity, and citrusy flavours, adding a refreshing quality to your iced coffee.
  • South American Coffees: Beans from countries like Colombia (FiXX Seattle) often have balanced citrus acidity and pleasant sweetness, making them an excellent choice for a clean and vibrant iced coffee.
  • Natural Process Coffees: Coffees processed using the natural method (FiXX Lisbon), where the beans dry with the fruit pulp, can impart a pronounced fruitiness to your iced coffee.

Ultimately, the "best" coffee for Japanese Iced Filter Coffee comes down to your personal preferences. Experiment with different coffee beans and flavour profiles to find the one that suits your palate. If you've got a favourite FiXX you enjoy hot, chances are you'll like it brewed cold this way, too.

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