How to Make Iced Coffee

A jug of iced coffee next to a glass on a table

Iced coffee is a gift on a hot summer day, cool and delicious. And really, there’s no need to buy it at a coffee shop. Making your own means you’re taking a positive step for environmental sustainability — and your wallet. Plus, when you make your own iced coffee, you can customize the brew to suit your tastes.

 

Iced coffee the fastest way possible

The quickest way to make iced coffee is to brew it hot and then bring down the temperature with ice. First, prepare a strong cup of regular ol’ joe using your favorite method — a French Press, a pour-over dripper, your office’s single serve pod machine. It’s important to brew the coffee strong because the next step will cause some dilution. Pour the hot coffee into a glass of ice to cool it. The ice will melt – you may need to add more to your iced coffee before you sip.

That’s it! Voila! You’re done.

Get our general brewing tips for a better cup.

Refrigerated iced coffee: Almost as fast, but less diluted

Is your iced coffee turning out too watery? Allowing time for it to cool in the fridge means less melted ice – and a less watery cup. For this method, brew a cup of coffee, or a whole pot. Next, let your coffee rest in the refrigerator — or even in the freezer — until its temperature drops. The cooler the coffee gets, the less it will melt the ice.

Once you feel coffee is cool, pour it over ice and get sipping.

Two glasses of iced coffee next to a bag of organic coffee

 

Iced coffee 2.0: Slow and delicious cold brew

Cold brewed iced coffee may seem like just a trend, but we’re pretty sure this delicious method is here to stay. Instead of using heat to extract flavor from the beans, the cold brew process utilizes time. That means you’ll need to plan ahead a bit.

The good news is, you can make this iced coffee at home without any special equipment. Cold brew is ridiculously easy! Just take coarse-ground coffee, add cold or room-temperature water and stir. Then allow the mixture to steep for at least six hours, or overnight. Finally, strain with cheesecloth or a filter. Ta da!

The magic ratio is 1:4 – four cups water for every cup ground coffee.  The finished cold brew concentrate will be double-strength, so make sure to add equal parts water before you sip.

Learn to make cold brew from a barista!

 

Iced coffee bonus points

• Use good quality coffee! To us, that means organic coffee sourced from small-scale farmers who are paid fairly for their work.

• What specific kind of coffee makes the best iced coffee? Anything you like hot will probably taste good cold. (French Roast fan? Try an iced French Roast. Prefer decaf? Make iced decaf.) That said, our coffee experts enjoy the fruity notes of natural process African coffees like Equal Exchange’s Organic Ethiopian and our special Cold Brew blend.

Read more about natural process coffee.

• Always use fresh filtered water, and make sure the beans you’re using are freshly ground. Your iced coffee will taste better!

• Like it sweet? If you’re using a hot-brewing method, try adding sugar before the coffee is cool. It will dissolve more quickly. If you’re doing cold brew, try adding simple syrup.

• Did you know you can coffee in an ice cube tray to create ice cubes that won’t dilute iced coffee? Genius!

• Utilize the power of science to cool your iced coffee quicker. Use a large container like a pan to create more surface area before putting it in the fridge. Or try a metal vessel to cool your iced coffee – metal conducts heat most efficiently.

 

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Kate Chess

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