September 25, 2023


Qualified food specialists

How to make iced coffee

4 min read

How to make iced coffee at home

When summer arrives, java lovers need a warm-weather-friendly option to curb those caffeine cravings. But you don’t need to head to the coffee shop for a delicious iced coffee.

Learning to make your favorite iced coffee is a smart and budget-friendly option that can easily rival buying the coffee shop version when it comes to both flavor and cost. Below, find out everything you need to know to get started, from the right supplies to the best brewing method.

What you need to make iced coffee

Iced coffee is an easy-to-make drink that you can fully customize to satisfy even the most demanding taste buds. All you need are some ingredients and tools, some of which you probably already own.

Before you get started, make sure you have:

How to choose the right coffee beans

Choosing coffee varieties usually comes down to personal taste, but for cold preparations, medium roasts that are low on acid are preferable and tend to yield better results.

In addition, beans with chocolatey or caramel notes are usually the best for making cold coffee drinks and are a good place to start if you’re new to it and undecided about what type of coffee to buy.

What’s the best coffee maker to use?

This choice depends a lot on your personal preferences. Those who like their coffee stronger might advocate for making espresso to use as your iced coffee base, but regular coffee that you drip brew or make in a stovetop coffee maker are suitable options for most people.

Preparing your favorite type of coffee is a start but consider how strong you’d like your cold drink to be. For instance, if you want your drink to be strong but don’t want to make espresso, maybe try a darker roast.

Many coffee fans swear by making the coffee the night before and letting it cool overnight, but you can just as easily pour your hot coffee over ice cubes for an instant drink with very similar results if you aren’t much of a planner or have a last-minute craving.

In general, iced coffee is very easy to make. The extent of the prep work involved is just brewing your coffee the night before and making sure you have some ice cubes ready to go in your freezer.

When morning comes, take the ice cubes and put them in a tall glass or jar. Then take the coffee you left to cool overnight (or just made) and pour it over the ice. Follow that with your favorite cream or milk. Next, pour some syrup (or your favorite coffee modifier) over your now-creamy coffee mixture. Take a long spoon to mix everything well and enjoy.

You could make this same mixture in a cocktail shaker to get a more uniform mix and texture with all the ingredients, but it isn’t necessary.

Flavor variations and other possibilities

You can use all kinds of flavorful add-ons and modifiers to turn your iced coffee into a true barista creation that’s perfectly personalized to your taste. Feel free to get creative with special syrups and spices, either on their own or combined.

If you want to make your own quick and easy syrup

A homemade syrup will keep for a few days and it’s very simple to make. It’s a nice option if you want a sweet iced coffee but have nothing but regular sugar in your pantry — all you need is water, sugar, and vanilla extract (or your favorite flavor extract).

Combine half a cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir regularly until the sugar dissolves and make sure not to let it burn. Let it cool, then stir in your vanilla extract.

Set the syrup aside until you’re ready to use it and if there’s any left over, refrigerate it.

Other useful hacks and tips

If you want a more concentrated drink or hate it when your beverages get watered down, you can freeze some coffee into ice cubes instead of the usual water ones. This guarantees a higher coffee ratio and a stronger and richer flavor.

This is also a good way to add extra flavor and other surprises to your coffee. Put spices in the tray, pour the coffee and freeze them together into the cubes you’ll be using with your brew in the morning for an even quicker and easier preparation for when you don’t have much time.

If you feel like your coffee tends to be more bitter than you’d like, try using nut milk instead of regular dairy. Almond milk or cashew milk will give your coffee a sweeter profile without the need to add sugar.

Why choose iced coffee over a cold brew?

Iced coffee is quicker to make, and the hot step in the preparation process helps the beans release a more complex flavor profile that features all the undertones characteristic to the variety you’re enjoying.

Can I store leftover iced coffee?

It’s perfectly safe to store and consume your iced coffee; however, it might become slightly stale after more than 24 hours.

Iced coffee is not only a great option for when you don’t want hot beverages during warm months. It’s also a very convenient way to avoid wasting coffee, as it allows you to repurpose your morning leftovers or that fresh pot you forgot about while getting ready.

Ivonne Spinoza is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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