A nice, hot cup of coffee is a blessing in the winter. When the temperatures start climbing, though, it would be nice to have an alternative drink. Not an alternative to coffee, of course, but an alternative to a hot beverage: iced coffee! Despite what you may think, iced coffee isn't even that hard to make. If you do it right, it shouldn't be bitter or acidic, and it definitely shouldn't taste burnt.
A nice, hot cup of coffee is a blessing in the winter. When the temperatures start climbing, though, it would be nice to have an alternative drink. Not an alternative to coffee, of course, but an alternative to a hot beverage: iced coffee! Despite what you may think, iced coffee isn’t even that hard to make. If you do it right, it shouldn’t be bitter or acidic, and it definitely shouldn’t taste burnt.
If you go to a restaurant or supermarket and see “cold coffee” for sale, it likely has very little to do with real coffee. Those drinks probably contain little to no actual coffee (and the coffee that it does include is usually low quality), plus the drinks are packed with a staggering amount of sugar and chemicals. Legend has it that the recipe for a frappuccino comes straight from the Devil himself. There’s nothing worse than instant coffee, other than if you take instant coffee and add a bunch of sugar to it. Don’t worry, though, because none of the recipes in this article include sugar, and of course they’re all made with freshly brewed coffee.
Table of Contents
- Ways to Use Hot Coffee to Make Iced Coffee With a French PressWith an AeropressWith a Pour-Over DripperCold Brewed Coffee
- Recipes Iced Latte (Caffè Latte)Iced Black EyeIced Bulletproof CoffeeEspresso on IceWith Vanilla Ice Cream
- Tips and Tricks Can I Use Milk Foam?What Kinds of Coffee Work Well with Iced Coffee?Combining with Citrus Fruits
Ways to Use Hot Coffee to Make Iced Coffee
There’s a good chance you can already make hot coffee, so let’s start with some techniques that will let you use that hot coffee to make iced coffee. These will work if you have a French press, an AeroPress or a pour-over dripper. Personally, I normally use a French press to make iced coffee because it lets me make more of it at once than some of the other techniques, which means I can share my coffee with others. I also generally don’t mind if my iced coffee has any extra grittiness or coffee particles that often come with making coffee in a press.
How to Make Iced Coffee with a French Press
I’ve already talked a lot about how to make coffee with a French press. The only real difference between making hot coffee and iced coffee with a press is that you will need to adjust the amount of water you use. When making coffee in a 1-liter (34 ounce) French press, you should use about 55 grams (4 tablespoons) of coarsely ground coffee and 1 liter of hot water. However, in this case, we will serve the coffee iced, which will dilute it some.
We don’t want our coffee to be watery, though. Even though it’s cold, it should still be strong, full-bodied and tasty. So to get it that way, we will use the same amount of ground coffee in the French press, but only add half a liter of water (17 ounces). Then we will pour that coffee over another half liter of ice, giving us the perfect iced coffee for purists.
Ingredients for 1 Liter of Iced Coffee:
- 0.5 liters of hot water
- 0.5 liters of ice cubes
- 55 grams (4 tablespoons) of coarsely ground coffee
How to Make Iced Coffee in a French Press
- Freshly grind the coffee using a coarse setting.
- Use around 55 grams of coffee for a 1-liter press.
- Pour very hot (but not boiling) water until you fill HALF the container (i.e. about 0.5 liters of water).
- Stir it once.
- Let the coffee steep for four minutes, then push down the press.
- Pour the coffee over 0.5 liters of ice cubes; stir.
How to Make Iced Coffee with an AeroPress
The AeroPress is another of our favorite coffee gadgets here at Coffeeness. The good thing about the AeroPress is that it lets you make nice, strong coffee at home. That also means that you’re less likely to get watered-down coffee when you ice it, which can happen with a pour-over dripper or French press.
To start off, I recommend using the AeroPress the same way you always do. If you decide that you want something a bit more powerful, you can then increase the amount of ground coffee you use. You can press the coffee from the AeroPress directly onto the ice waiting in your cup. Just use around 150 grams (about 3/4 cup) of ice and then press the coffee directly over it.
Ingredients for a large cup of iced coffee:
- 22 grams (2 tablespoons) of ground coffee
- 150 grams of ice cubes
- Hot water
- Insert the plunger into the top of the brewing chamber.
- Flip the two connected parts (so the numbers are upside down).
- Fill the AeroPress with 15 to 22 grams (1 to 2 tablespoons) of ground coffee.
- Put the filter into the filter cap, then soak the filter with hot water.
- Fill the cylinder with hot water to the upper mark. The water should be 90 degrees Celsius (190 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Stir well for 10 seconds.
- Let the coffee steep for another 30 seconds.
- Screw the filter cap (with filter) onto the brewing chamber.
- Fill a cup with 150 grams (3/4 cup) of ice; place the AeroPress on top.
- Slowly push down on the plunger until the rubber seal almost reaches the ground coffee.
How to Make Iced Coffee with a Pour-Over Dripper
I’m a huge fan of making coffee with a pour-over dripper. It’s even part of my morning routine. However, how can you use a pour-over dripper to make iced coffee?
Just like with a French press, I recommend that you simply use half the water you normally would. The ice cubes will then be what regulates the strength of your drink. I’ve often seen and read that many people let the coffee drip directly onto the ice cubes in their coffee pot. I don’t think that’s such a good idea, though. Instead, I recommend filtering the coffee into a pot as you usually would (just twice as strong) and then pour it onto the ice cubes. I’ve found that this technique better releases the coffee’s taste and flavor than the “direct to ice” method.
- 150 milliliters (5 ounces) of hot water
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) of ice cubes
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) of ground coffee
- Freshly grind the coffee.
- Fold the filter along its seam and then place it in the dripper. Completely soak it with water to rinse it, then pour out the water.
- After the water has come to a boil, let it cool for a few seconds.
- Put the ground coffee into the wet filter. Tap the side of the dripper so that the grounds form a flat surface. Next, slowly and evenly pour the water over the grounds until the coffee is completely wet — but it shouldn’t be floating in the water. Let it steep for a moment. All the grounds should be evenly damp. Wait about 30 seconds.
- Now begin to pour the rest of the water into the filter. Use a circular motion and pour until it’s just below the top of the filter. Stop there; if you still have water left, wait until the water from the first pour has flowed through completely.
- Pour the coffee from the pot onto the ice cubes.
Cold Brewed Coffee
When we talk about “cold brewed coffee” or “cold brewed drip coffee,” we’re talking about a technique that uses cold water for the extraction process. This gives cold brewed coffee a unique taste. I’ve started making my cold coffee this way a lot of the time.
I’ve also written a complete article just about cold brewed coffee, where you can find everything you need to know about different ways of making cold coffee. It also includes recipes, and I explain exactly what you need to make them.
Recipes for Coffee on Ice
Now you know three ways to make tasty iced black coffee. It has zero calories, it’s refreshing, and it’s perfect for a summer day at the beach. However, what if you are more of an iced latte kind of person, or if you want to make other cold coffee drinks? I have a few recipes for you here, but they all follow two rules: the fewer ingredients, the better; and no chemicals or refined sugar.
Iced Latte (Caffè Latte)
Many people love lattes, cafe au laits, macchiatos or cappuccinos. I’m the kind of barista who makes cold coffee drinks without milk foam, so I therefore don’t talk about iced cappuccinos or iced macchiatos. However, I do use regular, non-foamy milk, and you can make an iced latte with all different kinds of milk. I always recommend using fresh whole milk with high fat content. The more fat in the milk, the better your coffee drink will taste.
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) of ice cubes
- 250 milliliters (8.5 ounces) of milk (you can adjust this as you like)
- One double shot of espresso
If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can whip up a “caffè au lait.” This means that you use coffee from a pour-over dripper or French press instead.
- 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) of coffee
- 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) of milk (or as much or as little as you like)
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) of ice cubes
- Get your glass ready (for best results, use a pre-chilled glass).
- Make a double shot of espresso (or prepare the coffee).
- As quickly as possible, mix the ice, the milk and the shots of espresso. (The same goes for if you make coffee, but it’s especially important to not let the espresso sit around).
Iced Black Eye
It’s early morning and you need to wake up, but it’s a hot day. You’re already dragging, and you’ve just gotten out of bed. What can help perk you up right away for work or a workout? The answer: an iced black eye — an absolute caffeine bomb! A black eye is drip coffee that’s spiked with a double espresso. It tastes good and certainly wakes you up. One advantage of drinking an iced black eye is that you can drink it quickly, if you need to.
- 200 grams (1 cup) of ice cubes
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) of coffee (from a French press or pour-over dripper)
- One double shot of espresso
- Make the coffee.
- Make the double espresso; put the cup with ice directly underneath the espresso spout.
- Add the coffee to the ice and espresso.
Iced Bulletproof Coffee
I’ve already written a longer article about Bulletproof Coffee. It’s an interesting drink with lots of power, energy and calories. You can check out the article to learn more about the drink’s history, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. Here, I’ll just quickly list the ingredients and tell you how to make an iced version.
- 150 milliliters (5 ounces) of good black coffee — brew it strong!
- 12 to 24 grams (1 to 1.5 tablespoons) of fresh butter
- 12 to 24 grams (1 to 1.5 tablespoons) of coconut oil
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) of ice cubes
- Make the coffee with your French press or pour-over dripper; use twice the amount of ground coffee as usual.
- Mix the butter, coconut oil and coffee in a blender until they are completely combined.
- Pour the mixture over ice cubes.
Espresso on Ice
Admittedly, you probably don’t need a recipe for this one. You simply need to pour the espresso onto a number of ice cubes. For most people, one cube is enough. Another good option is to make a ristretto because it already has a little extra water.
Iced Coffee with Vanilla Ice Cream
I’m not an ice cream expert, but if you happen to have the time and the know-how, I’d recommend making your own ice cream. Then I’d recommend using that ice cream to make a coffee drink. Follow my recipe above for a latte, only substitute part of the ice cubes with vanilla ice cream.
- 100 milliliters (3.5 ounces) of coffee
- 100 milliliters of milk (more or less to taste)
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) of ice cubes.
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) of vanilla ice cream.
- For best results, use a chilled glass.
- Make a double espresso (or prepare the coffee).
- Quickly mix the espresso with the milk.
- Pour in the ice cubes, then float the ice cream on top.
Tips and Tricks
Can I Use Milk Foam with Cold Coffee Drinks?
I mentioned earlier that I don’t use milk foam with cold drinks. Based on my experience, it never combines well with the rest of the drink, and you just end up with a bunch of gunk at the bottom of your glass. Obviously, though, it’s completely fine if you want to add milk foam to any of the drinks I’ve mentioned here — it will look cool, but the taste will stay the same. Freshly made whipped cream can also make any drink that much dreamier. If you’re not worried about maintaining your beach body, then go ahead and add a generous dollop of whipped cream (with cinnamon, but no sugar) on top of your drink.
What Kinds of Coffee Work Well with Iced Coffee?
That’s a good question, but it’s not an easy one to answer. Basically, I can say that you can tell how good a coffee is by how it tastes when it has cooled down. Good coffee will still taste good when it’s cold. However, if your coffee tastes acidic when it’s cool (you can tell if your face scrunches up when you taste it), then the coffee contains too much chlorogenic acid.
I’ve had especially good experiences with washed-processed coffees from several African countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya or Tanzania. These often have a lively, pleasant acidity, and they work well in summer and taste excellent when cold (as long as you get the high-quality stuff).
Combining Citrus Fruits with Iced Coffee
I’ve already said that frappuccinos are a tool of the Devil, and that sugar and artificial flavors are like my kryptonite. However, there comes a time when you just feel like messing around and changing things up for fun.
Here’s my idea: citrus fruits. Coffee can taste surprisingly good when combined with lemon, kumquat or grapefruit. Of course, it’s best to use fresh, organic fruit. Also note that I only recommend trying this with the above recipes that only use pure coffee and ice. Citrus and milk are difficult to combine. The African coffees I mentioned work especially well with citrus, but you should always try it in small amounts before going all-in. It may taste like a dream, but it may also taste like sipping a compost heap.
To add a citrus kick, you have two options: either use drops of juice in the finished iced coffee (like a squeeze a lemon), or you can eat the citrus (kumquat or a slice of grapefruit) with your coffee. You now have the perfect low-calorie beach drink. Yummy!
I hope you’ve learned something new and interesting, or picked up some ideas. I’d love to hear how you enjoy your cold coffee, or hear what you think if you try out any of my recipes. I’m always happy to get your comments!