How Is Iced Coffee Made? – How to Easily Brew it at Home!

Having a chilled coffee in the summer is one of the most refreshing beverages you can drink. But, how is iced coffee made? Is there only one way of doing it? What else besides ice cubes, cream, and sugar can you add to it? There is more than one way to make iced java so let’s have a look at the different methods!

It’s believed that iced coffee first came about in 1840 and was originally a mix of coffee syrup and cold water. Over the years, in the 19th century, different variants such as coffee slushes and cafè frappes started popping up in restaurants and cafè menus.

Basically, iced coffee is brewed coffee that is later chilled with ice. Iced coffee became popular in the early 1900s and was later picked up and marketed by global chains like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks where you can get this cold beverage served.

What Is Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is a chilled coffee beverage and may either be made by brewing the cup of coffee cold or brewing it hot and then cooling it with ice or cold milk. You don’t have to wait for the hot beverage to cool down to room temperature before you add the ice cubes.

If you’re using the hot brew method, sweeteners and flavorings are ideally added before cooling the mix down since they’re likely to dissolve faster in warm liquids. Sometimes, syrups may be used for flavor and sweetness because they dissolve easily.

Iced coffee sold in grocery stores is chilled to at least room temperature but you have to add the ice to it yourself.

How Is Iced Coffee Different Than Regular Coffee?

Whether you’re using the hot or cold brew method, iced coffee is generally more intense and brewed at a greater strength than normal coffee. This is because the coffee will be diluted once you add in the ice.

How a Cold Brew Coffee Differs from Regular Coffee

Since it takes longer for anything to dissolve in cold water, a cold brew takes much longer to steep. It may take up to 12-18 hours for the coffee flavor and color to steep into the water when you’re making your own cold brew coffee. The cold brew extracts fewer bitter notes from the coffee compared to brewing it hot and then making iced coffee by chilling it. This makes the cold brew coffee sweeter and smoother compared to the traditional iced coffee – Is Cold Brew less acidic?

Apart from the brewing style, the same coffee grinds (or coffee beans, etc.) can be used to make both iced and hot coffee as well as a cold brew coffee. You won’t have to buy different coffee beans when you want to make cold brew coffee or make iced coffee at home! That is also the case whether you make iced coffee at home based on hot or cold brew. You can mix your iced coffee with cream, top it off with whipped cream or add simple syrup. Whichever way you like it!

In Europe, you can often find iced coffee being quite different than in the US. You often get the iced coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream floating in it. The whole beverage is then topped off with whipped cream. Treat yourself to this type of iced coffee when you’re traveling overseas!

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The General Method of Brewing Iced Coffee

Usually, for every one cup of water, you should ideally add at least 1 ounce (28 grams) of coarse ground coffee to make cold brew or iced coffee at home. You must know that the steeping time for the coffee grounds may go up to 24 hours when you make cold brew. Starbucks is known to steep its cold brew for 20 hours, which may be why the coffee flavor is so well concentrated.

Brewing it for longer will make the taste stronger and more bitter, but you can just dilute the cold brew with some more water if the iced coffee is too bitter for you.

Straining the cold brew coffee will need more than just a sieve or a French press. Here, you can filter the coffee using different tools like cheesecloth, coffee filters, or even handkerchiefs. Using a sieve or French Press will leave behind some coffee grounds in the cold brew!

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Can You Make Iced Coffee with Hot Coffee?

As discussed earlier, iced coffee can be made using hot coffee as well. In fact, this is a faster and easier way to whip up a glass of iced coffee by pouring hot coffee over ice. However, cold brew coffee is smoother and less bitter compared to making iced coffee by brewing hot coffee.

Simply make regular coffee in your preferred style (press, pour-over, or drip) and refrigerate it until it is completely cooled. You can even use espresso and chill it. Then, pour it into a glass full of ice and your iced coffee is ready to drink.

How Does Dunkin Donuts Brew Iced Coffee?

Before you start making your own blend, it’s a good idea to find out what some of the best-known coffee spots in the world are up to.

Dunkin Donuts uses great quality, whole coffee beans for all its blends. It starts off by brewing coffee in a coffee maker. The hot brewed coffee is combined with sugar and half-and-half until everything is well-combined, at which point, cold water is added to the blend. This brings the brew down close to room temperature.

The coffee is covered and chilled; then, the glass is filled with ice and whipped cream if ordered. Dunkin Donuts does certainly also offer cold brew coffee in their menu should you prefer that over traditional iced coffee.

Dunkin Donuts Method

Dunkin Donuts also offers some hot tips for homebrewers to brew iced coffee:

  • They recommend adding 4 teaspoons of ground coffee to one glass of iced coffee.
  • They also recommend not making too much extra coffee, since the stored brew will start losing its great flavor in a few hours.
  • Most importantly, they advise you that you shouldn’t store coffee grinds or coffee beans in the fridge or freezer since they’ll absorb the moisture and aromas from other items. Keep them in a dry space in an airtight container.

How to Make Iced Coffee Fast

If you don’t want to wait almost an entire day for your cold brew to be ready, there are a number of ways in which you can get your iced coffee ready quickly:

The Refrigerator Method

This basically involves preparing a hot brew and chilling it completely. Then just add ice, stir, and it’s ready to drink. If you don’t like to put hot beverages into your fridge then let the hot brew cool down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge to chill it.

If you prefer a strong coffee flavor, add double the amount of coffee grounds (if your coffee pot has the room) so that the flavor won’t become too diluted once you add the ice.

Using Coffee Ice Cubes

If you’ve made an extra batch of cold coffee using the refrigeration method, pour it into an empty ice tray and freeze it. Add these coffee ice cubes to your iced coffee to keep the flavor strong and undiluted as you enjoy your beverage.

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Can You Pour Hot Coffee Over Ice to Make Iced Coffee?

You can absolutely make iced coffee by pouring hot coffee over ice cubes. This is one of those instant methods that will have your drink ready in practically no time at all (and no refrigeration required). You’ll just need lots of extra ice.

Extra Instant Iced Coffee

If you have no time to spare, even for your drink to chill, there’s an even quicker method to get your drink ready. Make a doubly strong hot brew, pour it in a glass, and stir in a load of ice. The ice will melt and cool down your coffee without diluting it too much. Keep adding ice until the cubes stop melting. At this point, your iced coffee is ready to drink.

Make a Fancy Brew

Instead of buying a delicious chilled coffee drink, you can make one at home. Add some vanilla to your cold coffee, or swap out the ice for ice cream for a fancy treat.

You can even make your own simple syrup like your favorite cafes – combine sugar, a small amount of water, and your preferred flavor (like vanilla or a little cocoa), and heat it on the stove until the mixture is a thick syrup; perfect to jazz up your coffee blend.

Make your own Simple Syrup

All you need to make delicious sugar syrup is quickly outlined in the reference guide below:

  • Add sugar into a sauce pan
  • Add a small amount of water
  • Add flavoring (vanilla, cocoa, almond, etc.)
  • Heat if on the stove until it forms a thick syrup
  • Use in your cold coffee and enjoy!

Making Iced Coffee with Milk

Making iced coffee with milk is more or less the same as making it with water. If you’re using coffee ice cubes or the instant coffee method, top off the glass with chilled milk instead of water.

When you’ve brewed your coffee, you can milk (or half-and-half) to the blend before chilling it and follow the rest of the steps as mentioned above.

How to Make Iced Coffee with Instant Coffee

This quick-fix will get your iced coffee ready in practically no time at all. Just combine instant coffee with water in a ratio of 1:2 respectively. If you’re making more than one glass, divide the mix evenly in all of them.

Once you’ve added the coffee, fill the glass with ice. The final step is to pour in chilled water or milk (depending on your personal preference). Stir everything together in the glass and drink it straight away.

Here is the step-by-step guide to brew instant iced coffee:

  1. Add instant coffee powder into your glass
  2. Fill up the glass with ice cubes
  3. Pour chilled water (or milk) over the instant coffee and ice cubes
  4. Stir and add sugar or sugar syrup (flavored or unflavored)
  5. ENJOY!

How to Make Iced Coffee with Nescafe

You can use brewed or instant coffee for Nescafe iced coffee.

Using the Brew

If you have a coffee machine that uses the Nescafe pods (or capsules), just brew your Nespresso coffee regularly using the hot brew method. Add less water since you can’t add 2 pods at once to keep the flavor strong and undiluted.

Refrigerate until chilled, add ice, and you’re ready to go. This method is certainly exactly the same if you use a Keurig brewer instead of a Nespresso machine!

Using Instant Nescafe

If you have one of Nescafe’s instant blends on hand, the entire process will be quite easy – simply combine the instant coffee granules with hot water (in a ratio of 1:2) until they dissolve completely. Add them to a glass filled with ice (you can add more ice if it melts). Top it off with chilled water or milk, based on whether you prefer a creamy or non-creamy drink.

Just a few steps and you have great-tasting cold coffee made from instant coffee. If you want to up the game, then make yourself a Frappe. This version, coming from Greece, uses instant coffee with cold water.

How to Make Iced Coffee at Home with Hot Coffee

If you’re not using hot coffee over ice, then you’re probably going to use the cold brew method:

Remember, you’ll need to wait around 24 hours for your cold brew to be ready. Grind the coffee coarsely (for around 6 cups, you’ll need roughly 1.5 cups of coffee) – a French press is best for this stage, but you can also grind the coffee beans at your local grocery store if you don’t have one. Dark roast gives the best flavor in a cold brew.

Stir the ground coffee with filtered water and refrigerate it for 24 hours to make delicious cold brew. The coffee grounds will continuously be exposed to the water and eventually give off their aroma and color. When you pull it out of the fridge, strain, and filter the coffee mix. Stir in plenty of ice and your drink is ready!

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Final Thoughts

Making iced coffee at home can be quite rewarding. Whether you make a cold brew overnight or a hot brew for an instant coffee fix, make sure to use high-quality coffee beans for a delicious tasting drink. Coffee ice cubes are also a nifty way to keep your drink undiluted, even when the ice starts melting.

If you want to make a fancy treat like the kind you’d have to wait for in line at Starbucks, make your own simple syrup, add a little dollop of whipped cream, and you’re in coffee heaven. Take any of the recipes and guides from the article above to make a delicious coffee at home and enjoy it in the am or pm.

Spice up your brew!

If you’re wondering what the best way to make cold, iced coffee is then the answer is simple. The way you enjoy it being served is the perfect way. You like it stronger? Or served with more water? Make it with iced coffee cubes? With cream? With simple syrup? With sugar? The possibilities for serving iced coffee and cold brew are endless. There is no single best way to make iced coffee or to enjoy your cold brew. There’s only the one way you enjoy it best! You’ll find thousands of different recipes online and the awesome thing is – it’s easy to make this delicious brew and try those different recipes.

A quick tip if you want a stronger tasting iced coffee is to use espresso instead of regular coffee grounds. You’ll be enjoying the strong espresso and coffee flavor and it’s a great tasting drink that you can easily brew at home! Or make it with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top. You can find this version of a treat in many European coffee shops and it’s easy to make at home.

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