aizu kohi: my favorite iced coffee

Now that I’m solo for two months, I’m going to have to up my coffee game without Mr. Barista on hand. Because, let me tell you, my hubby loves good coffee. He started home roasting over a decade ago—way ahead of the hipster coffee trend. We probably have over 10 different ways of brewing the liquid sunshine in our possession.

For Mark, coffee is truly a love, whereas for me, it’s more like dependency. Whereas he’ll simply opt out if he knows he really won’t enjoy the particular coffee on offer (i.e. Denny’s, weddings, and funerals), I can more easily turn off my taste buds and approach the whole deal as more of a caffeine IV. When traveling, though I have come to hate the taste, I will go to a coffee chain just to satisfy my need for a warm, coffee-flavored beverage.

At yoga teacher training earlier this year, we had an Ayurvedic health expert come speak to our class. He encouraged us to substitute our morning coffee with warm lemon water. Because…annnnnd that’s where I stopped listening.

Lemon water?? I’m fully on board with changing your routine and challenging yourself in the health department, but for me, coffee falls in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category. And also the “life is too damn short to suffer” category. Life and triathlon come with enough suffering, thank you very much. I’ll take my lemon water on a sunny patio with a side of IPA.


With Mark now safely landed in Vancouver (a coffee city in its own right), there will be no more post-ride lattes unless I make ’em myself. I no longer have someone on hand to satisfy my mid-afternoon it’s-so-hot-out-and-I’m-getting-sleepy-get-me-an-iced-coffee-NOW cravings. I know, I know, the horror.

Today, however, I stepped up to the plate. After driving Mark to the airport at 4 a.m. (there’s a payback for all those early race mornings!) a tough track workout (“focus, Jen, focus!”), a 4,000-yard swim, and a slew of errands, I returned home to a day quickly piling up with work. Coffee … me … now …

Then, I noticed a tear-out on the fridge from Fresh Cup magazine detailing how to make the perfect iced coffee. I could follow directions.

Most of the iced coffee methods out there pale in comparison to the Japanese method known as aizu kohi. (Roughly translated as “iced coffee.”) If you make the coffee hot (which is better for flavor extraction) you have to wait too long for it to cool down, and often it’s not strong enough to stand up to milk. If you employ the slow cold-brew method (which cuts the bitterness and also yields good extraction), you have to decide 24 hours ahead of time when you’re going to want the beverage ready. (See above description of mid-afternoon craving for why this could never work.)

The aizu kohi method just works. It’s as simple as making a pour over, which I do every morning (learn how here). It enables you to brew hot and cool fast, which you accomplish by brewing the coffee directly over ice in a carafe below. (We used a Hario V60 pour over, but you could also use a Clever, another favorite of mine.)

Why this works is because the total weight of ice and hot water is equal to the weight of hot water used in your normal pour over. That means the coffee won’t be too weak when you add ice. Magic!

Aizu Kohi


32g of your favorite freshly roasted coffee, ground for a pour over

300g just off the boil water

200g ice


  1. Set your pour over up as normal: rinse the filter paper with hot water, grind coffee, zero your scale, and place 200g ice in the flask (I use the Hario V60 Range Server)
  2. Brew your coffee as normal, shooting for a three- to four-minute extraction. As the coffee brews it will drip onto the ice. The ice melts, cooling your coffee instantly and diluting your stronger brew back to an ideal filter coffee brew ratio.
  3. Serve in a mason jar and, if desired, accompany with simple syrup and light cream or your choice of milk.