Here’s how to make iced coffee at home! Save money and time and have iced coffee whenever you want.
Coffee is one of life’s little joys. I love coffee in multiple forms ~ hot, cold, blended and iced. Although I’ve been drinking hot coffee daily, it has been so warm this summer that I’ve also been drinking a lot of iced coffee. I don’t like pouring hot coffee over ice because it becomes too watery. I decided to try making a large batch of iced coffee to keep in my fridge so that it is easy to make whenever the urge strikes I started by making a full pot of strong coffee. I put the coffee in a glass pitcher and added the coffee grounds. I put the pitcher in the fridge overnight. The next morning I strained the coffee to get rid of the grounds. I stored the strong, cold coffee in the fridge. When I want an iced coffee, I add ice to a cup. I pour the cold coffee over the ice. Then, I pour creamer into the coffee. I give the coffee a stir and it is ready to drink! Doesn’t that look delicious? I can change the flavors by adding different creamer or by adding coffee syrup.
What is Japanese Iced Coffee?
In Japan, iced coffee (アイスコーヒー aisu kōhī) has been served in coffee houses since the Taishō period (that’s roughly the 1920s in American temporal measurement, or “freedom time”). Strong, hot brewed coffee was poured over ice and diluted, paving the way for what would become generations of Japanese figuring out how to do things other nations do, better.
To make at home, you’ll just need to adjust the ratios. For instance, a single cup of coffee using the pour over method usually calls for 30 grams of beans to 500ml(g) of water. However, with iced coffee, you would brew with only 335 ml(g) of hot water and make up the rest (165ml) in ice. Here’s a great video from Counter Culture detailing the process.
Also, Peter Giuliano has a great video in which he explains scientifically the benefits of the Japanese method. The interaction of the coffee with hot and then cold water promotes certain chemical processes by which…well, you take it from here, Pete:
“So the science tells us: to fully extract flavor? Brew hot. To protect flavor and prevent development of off-flavors? Cool instantly.”
Check out the full argument for Japanese-style iced coffee here.
What About Cold Brew?
Cold brew is coffee brewed with cold or room temperature water over 12 to 24 hours.This takes time, but the method produces a really awesome iced coffee that’s low in acidity.
While the Japanese method is best for a more immediate cup, cold brew is great when you’ve got some time to kill and/or want to make a large batch. With the OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker, you can make enough for about 10 20 oz glasses of iced coffee in a few days.
The Ideal Iced Coffee Roast Profile
The Japanese method tends to highlight lighter and fruitier notes, so we suggest brewing with a lighter roast coffee. African coffees like Yirgacheffe and most Kenyan beans are ideal. Yirgacheffe in particular has the fruity and chocolaty flavors that are perfect for iced coffee.
You can also try lightly roasted Latin American beans, like Honduran or Guatemalan.
Iced Coffee Grind Setting
As for the grounds, different sizes work best with different brewing methods whether you’re brewing for cold or hot coffee, so feel free to experiment. Generally speaking, these are the guidelines for grind size by method:
- Pour Over: Medium Grind
- Chemex: Medium Coarse Grind
- Aeropress: Fine Grind
- French Press: Coarse Grind
How to Brew Iced Coffee in a Large Batch
For a single cup, check out this video. For a large batch, we like to use the OXO Cold Brew mentioned above, but a simple Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker is a great alternative. Here’s how it works:
What You Need
- A Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker
- Drip coffee filters
- Freshly roasted coffee beans of your choosing
- Burr Grinder
- Kitchen scale
1. Collect The Water
Fill the pitcher with water up to the indicated water line (use filtered water if possible). Then, pour the water into the reservoir on the Iced Tea Maker.
2. Collect The Ice And Add The Filter
Now, fill the pitcher with ice up to the indicated ice line. Place the steeping basket on top of the pitcher and insert a fresh coffee filter.
3. Measure and Grind The Coffee Beans
To make 2 quarts of iced coffee, measure 210 grams of whole beans or 14 tablespoons of ground coffee to the steeping basket with the filter. If you’re grinding the beans yourself (you are grinding the beans yourself, right?), use a medium coarse grind.
4. Set Up The Machine
Once the steeping basket and pitcher are ready to go, put on the steeping lid..
Make sure the lever on the steeping basket is in the up position to allow the coffee to drain straight into the pitcher.
5. Brew and Serve
Plug it in, turn it on and watch it brew. The maker will brew it hot, then filter it through the ice to cool it quickly. The machine will turn off automatically once the coffee is finished brewing.
Be sure to let the machine cool down before cleaning!
The Perfect Creamers and Sweeteners
Full disclosure: I used to drink iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts. A lot. I’m not proud of my past, but 12 hour days in the summer humidity made DD a more tempting prospect than it really is. Even then, though, I noticed that DD used table sugar that didn’t dissolve, floating to the bottom like so much sugary silt. If I didn’t remember that this bed of crystal meth was lying at the bottom of my cup, the last sip was teeth-searingly sweet.
Nowadays, I’ll either use simple syrup or maple syrup, the latter most preferable for the plethora of antioxidants it contains, and for the fact that I don’t have to make it (Note: if you prefer simple syrup, just boil a cup of sugar in a cup of water until it dissolves).
As for creamer, I always use grass-fed half and half. It’s the healthiest, and it’s the best consistency and flavor. I’ve never understood half-and-half; if you don’t want too much cream, just use less.
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PIN Homemade Caramel Vanilla Iced Coffee
Coffee snobs, errr CONNOISSEURS, LOOK AWAY.
To you, this caramel iced coffee might be ADULTERATING your beloved cup of joe. But to me?
COFFEE ANGELS ARE SINGING.
When someone asks if I “like coffee.” I have to preface with “I like MY coffee.” AKA. I only like the coffee I drink at home.
AKA, the sequel: it has to be flavored coffee grounds and then I add (an embarrassing amount) of this homemade caramel sauce. This is how I start my morning and it makes me SO happy about rolling out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5am.
But, fancy-people beans that are toasted and roasted JUST to the perfect amount and may even be from the droppings of a cat (have you seen that expensive coffee?) JUST NOT FOR ME.
I mean, I’m still drinking white Moscato sangria over here and pretending I like wine because – HI – I have the taste buds of a 5-year-old.
This vanilla iced coffee though.
Considering it’s eleventy million degrees outside, I wake up and my face is basically already melting off my head, and I CANNOT DO hot coffee even though I want it SO BAD, the frosty-cold sensation of this homemade caramel vanilla iced coffee? MHM MHM MHM . I DIG IT.
And, I feel like you wake up with the same FACE METLING BADNESS as I do which means you are gonna be ALL UP IN ITS BUSINESS, slurpety-slurp-slurping, just like meeeeee.
Unless you are too fancy and just like your iced coffee BLACK.
Iced Coffee at Home
How To: Iced Coffee at HomeSave Recipe
Dump 16 ounces ground coffee into the bottom of a 1-gallon pitcher.
Fill it up to 1/2-gallon mark with cold water and stir. Continue filling to the 1-gallon mark.
Stir again to combine grounds and water.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
Place a fine mesh strainer in a second clean 1-gallon pitcher. Put a coffee filter in the strainer.
Pour in the coffee grounds mixture and let it drip through the strainer. Once the liquid has dripped through, throw away the coffee filter and replace with a clean one. Repeat process until you are only left with grounds in the first pitcher.
Iced coffee concentrate will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Remember to dilute with cream or water before drinking.
For more coffee recipes, check out these posts:
Moroccan Spiced Coffee
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Portuguese Mazagran Iced Coffee Lemonade
Brew coffee according to your usual method. While coffee is brewing, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water.
Stir sugar into hot coffee until dissolved (about 1 teaspoon per cup of coffee for not-too-sweet). Pour into a large freezer bag, seal, and immediately submerge in the ice bath. Chill about 10 minutes, until cool, replenishing ice as it melts.
Open zipper top, and pour coffee into ice-filled glasses. Top with milk, if desired, and stir.