How To Make Iced Coffee

How to Make Iced Coffee in 5 Minutes (A Simple Step-by-Step Recipe)

Iced coffee can be a welcome alternative to a steaming cup of hot coffee on a warm day. It’s cool, refreshing, and can be adapted to create a variety of drinks.

Although some people believe that iced coffee is a new phenomenon, it’s been around since the mid-1800s. Supposedly, the first iced coffee was drunk by the French military in Algeria.

These days, you don’t have to travel to northern African for an iced coffee. You can get this drink pretty much everywhere. You can also purchase iced coffee in ready-made packets at grocery stores (usually with sugar for sweetness or flavoring added to the mixture).

Luckily, there’s no need to spend your hard-earned cash at fancy local coffee shops or on pre-packaged mixes. Find out how to make iced coffee at home affordably and efficiently from the comfort of your own home in as little as 5-10 minutes!

What Is Iced Coffee?

Fortunately, coming up with an iced coffee recipe is easy! 

Iced coffee is a cold caffeinated beverage. It’s brewed hot and then cooled, usually with the help of ice. Iced coffee is popular in part due to its versatility. It can be served black, with sweeteners or flavoring, or even with ice cream and whipped cream for a dessert-style drink.

What’s the Difference Between Cold Brew Coffee and Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee shouldn’t be confused with cold brew coffee. It’s a common misconception that these two styles of coffee are the same. Yes, you will get a chilled cup of coffee either way, whether you opt for iced or cold brew. However, the manufacturing techniques are different.

Cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee beans in cold water for up to 12-24 hours. It’s cold from start to finish. In contrast, iced coffee is brewed with hot water (like normal coffee) and then cooled with ice cubes.

So if you’ve ever wondered “Can you make iced coffee wit hot coffee?”, the answer is yes! It’s the whole point 😀

The differences in how you make iced coffee versus cold brew coffee also impact characteristics like flavor, taste, caffeine content, antioxidant levels, and acidity. For example, cold brew tends to have lower acidity and lower caffeine content than coffee brewed hot.

How Do I Make Iced Coffee At Home?

You’ve probably ordered iced coffee drinks at coffee shops or restaurants and been impressed by how fancy they are. Sure, once you add extras like whipped cream and chocolate syrup, and iced coffee might look like a complicated beverage. However, it’s easy to make iced coffee.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the process from start to finish—and even provides some secret recipe tips for how to take your iced coffee to the next level. Read on to find out how to make iced coffee.

Tip: at the bottom of this article you’ll find a downloadable/printable recipe card!

Equipment

  • Coffee maker
  • Filters
  • A large container like a mason jar, jug, or pitcher
  • A long-handled spoon
  • Ice cube trays

Ingredients

  • Ground coffee beans
  • Filtered Water
  • Ice cubes
  • Ingredients for extra flavor (see below)

Equipment

You don’t need a fancy Keurig or K-cups to get the job done. Here’s what you should have, though:

  • Coffee maker. This can be a drip coffee pot machine or a French press, depending on your personal preference. You need something to brew the hot coffee with.
  • Filters, if you plan to use a drip coffee maker.
  • A large container like a mason jar, jug, or pitcher.
  • A long-handled spoon.
  • Ice cube trays.

Ingredients

When it comes to ingredients, you don’t need much to make iced coffee.

Ground Coffee Beans

First, of course, you’ll need coffee. The type of coffee will depend on what method you plan to use to craft your hot brew. If you’re using a drip coffee maker, finely ground beans are fine. If you’re using a French press, you probably want to opt for coarse ground coffee beans. For more info about the best grind size for your beans, check out our handy grind size chart.

(Filtered) Water

You’ll also need water. While plain tap water is fine, filtered is preferable. Filtered water can remove contaminants and minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron (which are sometimes found in tap water).

These minerals can give the water a chalk-like taste, which can interfere with the coffee’s flavor. Note that you will also need water to make the ice cubes. If you don’t have a filtration system, you can boil water in a saucepan to remove contaminants and minerals.

Optional Ingredients for Extra Flavor

Finally, consider how you want to serve your coffee to figure out if you need extra ingredients. You can have your coffee black over ice. Alternatively, you can mix it with milk or ice cream. You can even add syrups, sweeteners, and whipped cream. There are serving suggestions below.

What Coffee Is Best for Iced Coffee?

Plain drip coffee is usually the best option for iced coffee because you can make large batches in a single go. Being able to store and save your iced coffee batch saves you time and trouble. You won’t have to make a fresh pitcher every day.

When selecting the best coffee for making your drip coffee base, it’s essentially a matter of personal preference. Generally, a low-acid grind is best for iced coffee. Try a Sumatran blend, as these tend to have a low acid content.

A medium or dark roast coffee will be lower in acidity and offer a strong base note that will carry through the brewing coffee and cooling process, giving you a flavorful cup even after it’s been chilled. Since it’s low in acid, a dark roast is also less likely to upset your stomach.

What Type of Ice Should You Use for Iced Coffee?

You will need ice to take your iced coffee from hot to cold. Large cubes are best for this purpose. If you use small ice, such as crushed ice, it will simply dissolve when exposed to hot coffee. Also, make your ice using filtered water if possible.

How to Make Iced Coffee (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Here’s how to make iced coffee, step by step:

  1. Make your ice cubes, freezing them overnight in the freezer.
  2. Make your fresh-brewed coffee according to your chosen method (drip coffee or French press).
  3. Set aside the hot coffee.
  4. Take your pitcher or other container and fill it one-quarter full with ice cubes.
  5. Ensure the hot coffee has cooled so that it won’t crack the glass or melt plastic when you pour it into the other container.
  6. Slowly pour the warm coffee over the ice cubes.
  7. If you want, you can add sugar or sweetener to taste. Stir it in as you pour.
  8. You also have the option of adding whole milk (or creamer, almond milk, or another substitution of your choice). Again, stir it in as you pour.
  9. Stir before serving.
  10. To serve, pour the iced coffee into a glass filled with ice. Use a long-handled spoon to keep any ice from falling out as you pour.

How Long Can You Store Iced Coffee?

You can usually keep iced coffee in the fridge for a day or two. While it will still be safe and suitable to drink on day two, you may notice that it becomes increasingly bitter the longer you hang on to it. You probably don’t want to drink leftover coffee beyond day two.

Secret Tips to Make Your Iced Coffee Extra Delicious

Ready to make your iced coffee restaurant-worthy, so it tastes delicious each time? Here are a few of the best iced coffee recipe ideas.

Add Ice Cream

Add ice cream to your iced coffee to make a caffeinated sundae. You can drizzle it with caramel or chocolate syrup for an added kick and add whipped cream. Top it all off with sprinkles, chocolate-covered pretzels, or other treats of your choice.

Add Syrup or Vanilla Extract

Another option is to add a dash of simple syrup or vanilla extract. You can also use flavored syrups like hazelnut for a unique and flavorful mixture.

Play With Intensity – Add Espresso (or Water)

Want to add a bump of caffeine to your coffee? Pop in a shot of espresso. Alternatively, if it’s too strong for you, add a cup of water.

Use Low-Calorie Sweeteners

If you’re feeling health-conscious and want to cut calories, substitute sugar for a low-calorie sweetener. Skip the cholesterol-packed and sodium-filled extras like heavy cream or chocolate-covered pretzels. You can even up the health factor by adding protein powder.

Secret Pro Tip: Make Coffee Ice Cubes

Make coffee ice cubes (out of cold coffee) instead of using water. Simply pour coffee into the ice cube trays. This prevents your iced coffee from getting watered down.

The Final Word on How to Make Iced Coffee

A fantastic cup of iced coffee can be the ultimate beverage on a hot and sweaty summer day. You can even add ice cream if you want an extra treat. The above guide gives you the knowledge you need to play barista and concoct your iced coffee at home.

How to Make Iced Coffee in 5 Minutes (A Simple Step-by-Step Recipe)

Recipe by Lukas Van VyveCourse: Brewing Guides
Prep time

15

minutes

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • Coffee maker

  • Filters

  • A large container like a mason jar, jug, or pitcher

  • A long-handled spoon

  • Ice cube trays

  • Ingredients
  • Ground coffee beans (coarseness depends on your brewing method, check this coffee grind chart for more info)

  • Filtered water

  • Ice cubes

  • Optional: milk, ice cream or whipped cream

  • Optional: syrups, sweeteners

Instructions

  • Make your ice cubes, freezing them overnight in the freezer.
  • Make your fresh-brewed coffee according to your chosen method (drip coffee or French press).
  • Set aside the hot coffee.
  • Take your pitcher or other container and fill it one-quarter full with ice cubes.
  • Ensure the hot coffee has cooled so that it won’t crack the glass or melt plastic when you pour it into the other container.
  • Slowly pour the warm coffee over the ice cubes.
  • If you want, you can add sugar or sweetener to taste. Stir it in as you pour.
  • You also have the option of adding whole milk (or creamer, almond milk, or another substitution of your choice). Again, stir it in as you pour.
  • Stir before serving.
  • To serve, pour the iced coffee into a glass filled with ice. Use a long-handled spoon to keep any ice from falling out as you pour.

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