How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

How many hot summer days have you bought iced coffee at a drive-through only to have the ice mostly melt by the time you got it home? You don’t have to waste your time or money anymore when you can make tasty, fresh, and low-cost iced coffee at home. How do you do it?

To make iced coffee at home, follow these steps:

  • Grind coffee beans
  • Boil the ingredients
  • Bring the coffee to room temp
  • Refrigerate the coffee
  • Add ice
  • Stir in milk and vanilla syrup if you’d like

Wait, it’s really that simple to make your own iced coffee? That’s right, it certainly is! This article will be your guide to brewing café-quality iced coffee from the comfort of your home. Ahead, we’ll talk about what you need to brew iced coffee, elaborate more on the above steps, and recommend some awesome coffeemakers. 

Let’s begin! 

What Is Iced Coffee?

With dozens upon dozens of different coffee drinks out there, we want you to be clear on exactly what you’re making when you brew iced coffee at home. Thus, we thought we’d start with a brief description.

Iced coffee is a caffeinated beverage that’s served over ice, hence the name. You have the option to brew your coffee while it’s cold and then add ice, or you can follow traditional coffeemaking techniques and use ice to cool the hot coffee.

Most iced coffee is sweetened with sugar or vanilla syrup, but you can also drink it black if that’s how you like it. 

Iced coffee is prepared in various ways all over the world, which is truly fascinating. Here’s a brief overview.

  • United States: In the US, you can use cold brew coffee as the base for iced coffee. Since the beverage has to steep for at least 12 hours, the coffee can be quite strong. Double-strength hot coffee brewing, which requires twice the brewing using one set of coffee grounds, can also produce strong iced coffee. 
  • Thailand: Thailand’s iced coffee is always black but includes cardamom, heavy cream, or sugar for a sweetener. Rather than use hot or cold brew coffee, Thai iced coffee may include espresso. 
  • Japan: Iced coffee has been a staple in Japan since the 1920s, which was the Taisho period. The beverage is made using milk and gum syrup, a simple syrup with a rich texture. 
  • India: If you drink iced coffee in India, it includes frozen milk and instant coffee as the base. The ingredients get blended to give the beverage a smoothie-like texture. Indian iced coffee also includes ice cream to beef up the consistency. 
  • Germany: India isn’t the only country that makes iced coffee with ice cream. Over in Germany, coffee with ice cream is called Eiskaffee. One variation of Eiskaffee is filtered coffee that’s brewed hot, then cooled. After adding vanilla ice cream, the drink is topped with whipped cream. 
  • Australia: Iced coffee in Australia is different still. The coffee includes lots of milk and even more sugar and is often served with whipped cream and/or ice cream on top.

We’ll talk about American iced coffee for the remainder of this article, FYI.

An eight-ounce serving of iced coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine, which is a little more than average but not crazy high. 

We should note that even though you can use cold brew coffee to make iced coffee, the two beverages are not the same. We just published a post on how to make cold brew coffee at home that highlights the differences rather well. 

Cold-brew coffee requires multi-day brewing. You must allow the coffee grounds and water to steep for at least 12 hours. Then, later in the preparation process, you want to give the coffee a week in the fridge.

You can make iced coffee much, much faster by comparison. 

What Do You Need to Make Iced Coffee?

You’d love to try making iced coffee at home, as to you, nothing is more refreshing on a hot day. Before we share the recipe, make sure you have the following supplies ready. They’ll make brewing iced coffee quick and convenient. 

Tall Glass

You know how cafés are all about drink presentation, right? Who says you have to sacrifice that element of your coffee just because you’re serving it at home?

To make your homemade iced coffee Instagrammable, find your nicest-looking tall glass for serving. 

Long Spoon

If you’re using a tall glass, then most of the spoons in your cutlery drawer won’t work for stirring. You need a long-handled spoon that can reach all the way to the bottom of the glass and ensure the ingredients are well mixed. 

Coffeemaker or Shaker

Can you make iced coffee in a shaker? Yes. For the best depth of flavor though, we’d suggest using a coffeemaker. 

You don’t necessarily need a fancy machine for making iced coffee; what you have in your kitchen should suffice.

If you were thinking of buying a new coffeemaker anyway and making iced coffee at home seems like the perfect excuse, make sure you keep reading. Later in this guide, we’ll share our favorite coffee machines for brewing iced coffee, complete with shopping links. 

Measuring Cups

You want to get that coffee-to-water ratio right, and that requires measuring cups. Don’t worry, you can use the measuring cups you already have in your kitchen pantry. 

Ice Cube Tray 

Iced coffee without the ice is just coffee. An ice cube tray is integral to making this beverage the right way. 

How to Make Iced Coffee at Home – A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have your supplies, you’re all ready to go. Here are the recipe quantities for iced coffee at home:

Ingredients needed to make iced coffee at home. 
Vanilla syrup [Optional]
Ice cubes
Milk (50 milliliters) [Optional]
Boiling water (200 milliliters)
Freshly ground coffee (2 tablespoons)

Now follow these steps.

Step 1 – Grind the Coffee Beans

Some people who make coffee at home prefer doing every last step of the process, and that includes grinding coffee beans. If that’s you to a T, then you’re free to grind coffee beans in a grinder.

For those who would like to save time and effort, you can always purchase ground coffee. Be sure to use the grounds relatively soon after buying them to get that maximum fresh flavor.

We should take a moment to discuss which types of coffee beans you can use when brewing iced coffee. Honestly, it’s all up to your taste buds and how you take your coffee. 

Medium and dark roasts are recommended for a strong, rich flavor. If you like a bit of fruitiness in your iced coffee so you can skip all that sugar and syrup, then try a Kenyan or Ethiopian roast. 

For notes of chocolate with a creamy and sweet flavor, use medium-roast Costa Rican, El Salvadoran, or Guatemalan coffee beans. 

Step 2 – Boil Water and Add the Coffee Grounds 

In a pot, pour in 200 milliliters of water. Turn your stovetop on high and allow the water to sit on the pot until it begins boiling. 

As soon as that happens, pour in the freshly ground coffee. Using a wooden spoon or stirrer, mix the ingredients. The coffee grounds should have dissolved entirely with no chunky residue left floating in the water by the time you’re done. 

Step 3 – Bring the Coffee Down to Room Temperature

Turn your stovetop off and transfer the pot of coffee and water to a cooler part of your stovetop. You can leave the coffee there or place it on your countertop to cool all the way. 

Step 4 – Chill the Coffee

If you like your iced coffee on the colder side, then transfer it to a glass jar and allow it to cool in your fridge for at least 60 minutes. This step is optional though, as allowing the coffee to come to room temp on the counter does suffice. 

Step 5 – Fill a Serving Glass with Ice

Now it’s time to ready your serving vessel, which is that nice, tall glass you had set aside earlier. Take the glass and fill it all the way to the top with ice. 

Step 6 – Pour in the Coffee

Take your coffee off the counter or from the fridge and slowly pour it into the serving glass. Since there’s ice, fast pouring can cause the coffee to deflect off the ice and splash back at you. It’s not hot so it won’t burn, but it’s still not fun!

Step 7 – Add Milk

If you want milk in your iced coffee, then pour it in immediately after. As you did when adding the coffee to the glass full of ice, you want to go ultra-slowly as you pour. Take even more time now, as the glass is full of both ice and coffee. 

Step 8 – Add Sweeteners

If you like vanilla syrup, sugar, or any other sweetener in your iced coffee, pour it in after the milk has gone in. 

Step 9 – Stir

To allow the ingredients to properly incorporate, stir everything together using your long-handled spoon. The color of the coffee will look tan and beautiful. 

Step 10 – Serve and Enjoy!

Your iced coffee is officially ready for consumption. Drink straight from the glass or sip from a reusable straw. That’s your choice! 

What Are the Best Coffeemakers for Making Iced Coffee?

As we said we would, we now want to present a list of 5 excellent coffeemakers that can brew a mean cup of iced coffee. All coffee machines are courtesy of Amazon.

Ninja Dual Brew Pro System

Make all your coffee-brewing dreams come true with the Ninja DualBrew Pro System.

This coffeemaker can whip up all sorts of caffeinated beverages, including classic coffee, rich coffee, over ice (iced coffee), or specialty coffee.

With included Thermal Flavor Extraction technology, the Ninja DualBrew is compatible with K-Cups and other coffee pods as well as ground coffee. 

Water in the coffeemaker warms to the optimal 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, TriNeedles and an XL shower head spread the water consistently and evenly across the grounds.

A 60-ounce water reservoir with dual temperature settings (boil and hot) can adjust positions in several different ways. The frother can add milk to your iced coffee and then folds down and away when you’re done with it.  

You can select from nine brew sizes.

Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker

You trust Mr. Coffee for brewing hot coffee, so why not iced coffee as well? The Mr. Coffee iced coffeemaker is small, streamlined, and available for under $50.

With RapidChill brewing, this coffeemaker can take hot coffee and cool it down after adding ice. The flavor concentrates so that every last drop of iced coffee is utterly delectable and flavorful. 

Using this coffeemaker couldn’t be any easier. All you have to do is add your freshly ground coffee, water, and ice. Then the Mr. Coffee iced coffeemaker will take care of the rest. You can add milk and other flavorings as you wish too. 

The scoop and tumbler are both reusable, and the straw, lid, and tumbler are BPA-free. 

Goodful Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker

An even lower-cost solution for making iced coffee at home is the Goodful cold brew iced coffee maker.

This Amazon’s Choice product, as the name says, can make both iced coffee and cold brew coffee. Insert your coffee grounds into the coffeemaker’s brew core, then insert the brew core into the machine. 

Pour water and allow the coffee to cool down in the fridge. Then add ice to your beverage and serve. It’s that simple when using the Goodful coffeemaker.

The pitcher can make up to nine cups of coffee at once. With a fine mesh filter brew, you don’t have to worry about coffee grounds getting stuck. 

The silicone inset handle makes using the Goodful iced coffeemaker easy and convenient. 

An airtight lid with a silicone gasket will keep your drink fresher for longer. According to Goodful, you can store your coffee in the fridge for up to two weeks after making it. 

BPA-free and dishwasher-safe, the Goodful iced coffeemaker is certainly an option to consider! 

Braun Multi-Serve Coffee Machine 

One of the best coffeemakers on the market by far, the Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine could be just what you’re looking for.

Its exact brew system will determine the optimal brewing speed and water flow temperature to ensure that whether you’re making iced coffee or hot coffee, it always comes out delicious. You can also make cold brew coffee using this machine.

Exclusive heating technology in the MultiServe machine allows for fast brewing without a watered-down or bland taste. Braun promises the MultiServe can brew a pot of coffee in eight minutes or fewer.

Up to three different sensors across the coffee machine read the temperatures as the MultiServe brews coffee to ensure they’re up to the standards established by the Specialty Coffee Association of America or SCAA.

Plus, the MultiServe comes with a freshness indicator display so you never have to drink stale coffee again! 

Mr. Coffee Iced + Hot Coffee Maker

Here’s another recommended ice coffee machine from Mr. Coffee, the Iced + Hot coffee maker.

This low-cost Amazon’s Choice product allows you to make 16 ounces of coffee at once in the single-serve filter. 

Included with your purchase are a dual-sided scoop, a reusable coffee filter, and even a recipe book for making all sorts of iced coffee and other caffeinated beverages. The tumbler and lid are both reusable too. 

With an integrated measuring system, you won’t get those critical measurements wrong when making iced coffee. Once you turn on the Mr. Coffee Iced + Hot coffee maker, Mr. Coffee promises that the coffee should be brewed and ready for drinking in four minutes or less. 

Tips for Making Delicious Iced Coffee

Finally, here are some awesome tips for making café-worthy iced coffee at home!

Use Freshly Ground Coffee Beans

One of the fastest and easiest ways to instantly elevate the quality of your coffee is to only use freshly ground coffee beans, which we touched on earlier. 

When we say fresh, by the way, the fresher, the better. It only takes 30 minutes after grinding for the intensity of both flavor and aroma in coffee beans to gradually decline. The rate of decline only continues from there. 

Add Flavoring and Sweeteners After Cooling the Coffee

Iced coffee is usually served with flavoring or a sweetener to make it tastier to drink, but when you add in the sweetener matters. Wait until after the coffee has cooled. 

Pouring in sweeteners and flavorings when the coffee is too hot will cause them to rapidly dissolve. You won’t taste much if any sweetness! 

Don’t Put Sugar Straight into Cold Coffee

Sugar is technically water-soluble, but the granules will not dissolve in cold coffee. You’ll end up with gritty coffee with every sip you take, and that’s no good.

If you’ve already cooled your coffee and you still want granulated sugar in there, heat the sugar up with hot water first so it’s partially dissolved. 

Make Coffee Ice Cubes

We recommended this tip in our article about how to make cold brew coffee at home, as it comes in handy, especially when making iced coffee.

Since iced coffee has so much ice in it, as that ice begins to melt, you seriously risk having a watered-down beverage. By using coffee ice cubes instead, the coffee flavor can prevail even as the ice melts. 

Final Thoughts

To save money and customize the flavor exactly to your liking, you should make iced coffee at home. With all the information in this guide, you can make great-tasting iced coffee and have fun when doing so! 

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