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Let me teach you how to make iced coffee at home. It’s easier than you think.
Photo: Julia Bobak
Few things hit the spot on a hot day like a cool glass of iced coffee. It’s the perfect refreshing pick-me-up, and it couldn’t be easier to make. In fact, I bet you already have everything you need.
In this guide, I’ll teach you a basic recipe and explain how to add milk or sweetener to make it your own.
How Do You Make Iced Coffee?
Making iced coffee is no more difficult than brewing hot coffee. Indeed, the best way to make iced coffee at home is to brew hot coffee, cool it, and serve it over ice. Just remember to always use fresh, good coffee for the best results – advice that holds true for everything on Home Grounds’ coffee drink chart.
- 8 ounces strong brewed coffee
- Ice to fill a 12-ounce glass
At a Glance
10 min + cooling time
How To Make Homemade Iced Coffee
Making the best iced coffee is easier than you think; it’s no wonder everyone is making the switch from hot coffee (1). Try this iced coffee recipe at home, and I promise you won’t waste any more money on Starbucks iced drinks.
Step 1: Prepare Strong Coffee
The trick to making excellent iced coffee is to start out with very strong coffee. That way, when some of the ice melts, it dilutes to a regular strength brew. Starting with regular hot coffee means your iced coffee ends up tasting watery.
You can use any brewing method you like, including a French press, Moka pot, drip coffee machine, or a pour over coffee maker. There are also dedicated iced coffee machines designed to make a strong brew.
I like to use a French press with double my normal coffee to water ratio. I add 12 ounces of 200 ℉ water to 30 grams of ground coffee and steep for 4 minutes.
Pro tip: While you’re brewing your coffee, pop your serving glass in the freezer to chill it.
Step 2: Let The Coffee Cool
Wait for the coffee to cool to room temperature or below. The quickest way to do this is to put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. If you’re not in a hurry, put the coffee in the fridge for four or more hours.
Pro tip: If you’re chilling coffee in the fridge or freezer, make sure it’s in an airtight container like a mason jar. Otherwise, coffee can easily absorb unwanted odors from the contents of your fridge.
Step 3: Fill A Glass With Ice
Fill a 12-oz glass with ice cubes.
Pro tip: You can make your iced coffee stronger by making coffee ice cubes. Just pour fresh coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze.
Step 4: Add The Strong Coffee To The Glass
Pour the coffee into the cup of ice. Congratulations, you have made a basic iced coffee to satisfy any coffee snob!
But if black coffee isn’t your thing, continue to the next step for some flavor suggestions.
Step 5: Make It Your Own
Now is the time to customize your drink and make it your own by adding sweeteners and/or your favorite milk. If you want to sweeten your iced coffee, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of simple syrup, honey, or another liquid sweetener, to taste. Sweeteners like granulated sugar don’t dissolve well in cold liquids.
I like to keep mine pretty simple, adding 2 tablespoons of whole milk and a dusting of cocoa powder. But you can get creative and have fun!
Add almond milk or oat milk for a vegan option. Add sweetened condensed milk for something akin to an iced Vietnamese coffee. Add vanilla syrup and cold frothed milk for an iced vanilla latte.
Pro tip: To make simple syrup, bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil, then simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Cool before using.
Now, in case you need all this in a video form, Steven from Home Grounds has created one for you:
What is the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?
Iced coffee is coffee that’s brewed with hot water and then chilled, whereas cold water is used to make cold brew coffee concentrate. The different extraction temperatures result in very different flavor profiles for the two drinks, even if you start with the same great coffee beans.
To make cold brew concentrate, combine 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee with four cups of water in a large measuring cup or bowl. Steep the coffee for 12 to 24 hours, then pour through a strainer with cheesecloth to remove the coffee grounds. Transfer the coffee concentrate to an airtight carafe for storage.
This recipe makes about 20 ounces of cold-brew coffee concentrate. When you want to serve cold brew coffee at home, dilute one part concentrate with two parts milk or water. Add ice, if desired.
Take a look at eight variations to iced coffee and learn how to make them:
Making perfect iced coffee at home is easy and delicious – an ideal summertime treat to beat the heat. Now that you have this basic recipe mastered, you can customize it to your heart’s content. Explore different sorts of coffee beans, try flavored syrups, or switch up your milk routine. Getting to be your own barista is half the fun, so make your iced coffee for you!
Did you make this recipe? What did you think? How did you customize your drink? Let us know in the comments below.
Do you let coffee cool before adding ice?
You can let coffee cool before making iced coffee, as in this recipe. But if you’re in a hurry, you can skip that step and just brew hot coffee over ice. This is known as Japanese-style iced coffee or flash brew.
Here’s how to make iced coffee from hot coffee: just brew an even smaller quantity of even stronger coffee. A shot of espresso or a Nespresso pod is ideal, or you can use instant coffee in a pinch. The small volume of liquid chills quickly, and because it is so strong, the bit of dilution that occurs is welcome.
How do you make iced coffee with a Keurig machine?
To make Keurig iced coffee, you’ll need a machine with an “Over Ice” setting. This setting makes a stronger, smaller amount of coffee designed to be brewed over ice and diluted. However, K-cup coffee is notoriously weak and lacks flavor, so I suggest you stick with freshly ground coffee instead (2).
How do you make iced coffee with an espresso machine?
To make an iced coffee with an espresso machine, you don’t need to worry about cooling the coffee because you’re making such a small volume of concentrated espresso. Fill a glass with ice, then add 4 to 6 ounces of cold filtered water or milk. Pull two espresso shots into the glass and give it a stir.
- Cherelus, G. (2022, September 8). Does Anyone Drink Hot Coffee Anymore? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/08/style/iced-coffee-starbucks.html
- Calderone, J. (2016, September 28). The science behind why pod coffee tastes so bad. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/why-instant-coffee-machines-taste-gross-2016-3