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The easiest way to make iced coffee at home

If you thought making iced coffee at home was too hard to time-consuming, think again.

Taylor Martin/CNET

With the heat of summer, it's not exactly easy to down a cup of hot coffee. The natural alternative is to drink your coffee over ice.

Sure, you could make some cold brew or order a blended iced coffee from your local shop. But if you're at home and have a hankering for some cold coffee, here's how you can make iced coffee on the spot, in a matter of minutes.

Cold brew isn't always the best brew

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I have loved cold brew coffee from the moment I tried a Stumptown Stubby. I loved it even more when I learned how easy it is to make yourself.

That said, I'm not always in the mood for cold brew. It's a different sort of coffee. It's more highly concentrated. It's smoother. And ask just about any enthusiast and they'll tell you the same thing: Cold brew coffee just doesn't accentuate the more subtle flavor notes you would expect from hot coffee. If you're a fan of floral flavor notes, in most cases, cold brew just isn't going to deliver.

Cold brew also demands nearly a day to brew, unless you have an expensive, specialized cold brew maker. That means it requires some forethought to have it prepared ahead of time. (The same even goes for chilling hot brewed coffee overnight in the refrigerator.)

I love cold brew, but it's not always the most convenient or efficient way to have your coffee cold.

Japanese-style iced coffee

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Taylor Martin/CNET

There is, however, an easier and faster way to brew iced coffee at home: Japanese iced coffee.

It calls for a pour over or drip coffee maker, and you simply increase the coffee to water ratio and replace a portion of the water you would normally use to brew with ice placed in the carafe. As you pour the hot water over the grounds, the coffee that is brewed hot is flash chilled as it hits the ice. This gives you the flavor notes and aromatics you're used to tasting and smelling with hot brewed coffee, but chills it immediately (while also diluting the slightly more concentrated brew as the ice melts).

What you will need

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Taylor Martin/CNET

To make Japanese iced coffee, you will only need a few items.

  • Pour over cone or drip coffee maker
  • Filters
  • Carafe
  • Digital scale
  • Fresh ground coffee
  • Ice

How to make Japanese iced coffee

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Taylor Martin/CNET

Recipes for Japanese iced coffee vary quite a bit, but the general idea remains the same. You will replace approximately one-third of the water you would brew with with ice in the carafe. This means you must also account for the difference in the coffee to (hot) water ratio.

If you're used to brewing coffee at a 1:16 (coffee to water) ratio, you will want to increase the ratio by one-third — or to approximately 1:11. So if you use 50 grams of coffee grounds, you would use 550 grams of water total, but 183.33 grams of that would be ice and 366.67 grams would be hot water.

The same ratio can be applied to practically any amount of coffee you want to brew. Just multiply the grams of coffee by 11. Two-thirds of the resulting number is the grams of water you will use to brew with, while the remaining third is the grams of ice you add to the carafe.

Taylor Martin/CNET

To brew Japanese iced coffee:

  • Weigh out 50 grams of coffee and grind it medium-fine -- about the consistency of kosher salt.
  • Add 367 grams of water to the coffee maker's water reservoir.
  • Add 183 grams of ice to the carafe.
  • Place a filter inside the drip cone or drip coffee filter basket and rinse it with hot water.
  • Add the coffee grounds to the filter.
  • Start the brew process.
  • Remove the carafe from the coffee maker and discard the coffee grounds and filter.
  • Serve the resulting coffee over ice.

For more on iced coffee, check out four more ways to enjoy iced coffee at home or this freezer hack that puts more coffee in your coffee.

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