How to Make Iced Coffee: Recipes, Tips and Tricks

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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Amidst sweltering heat waves, sips of chilled coffee trickle across my taste buds. Throughout many languid summer seasons, I have experimented with how to make iced coffee at home. And at this point I think I've got it fully dialed.

Amidst sweltering heat waves, sips of chilled coffee trickle across my taste buds. Throughout many languid summer seasons, I have experimented with how to make iced coffee at home. And at this point I think I’ve got it fully dialed.

Naturally, I’m here to share with you a cuppa of my perfect iced coffee recipes! As you can tell from that terrible pun, this year’s heat has affected my brain just a little. Still, I’ve got enough of my wits about me to give you a crash course in how to make iced coffee. Let’s do this!

Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Tantalizingly, there are a variety of ways to make a simple, delicious iced coffee at home. With only a few exceptions, we’ll begin with a fresh, hot cup of brewed coffee. To start, let us lay some ground rules for making iced coffee. Starting with what iced coffee isand what it is decidedly not.

A selection of iced coffee drinks

It is worth noting, while cold brew is a type of iced coffee, iced coffee is not a cold brew. Cold brew is actually brewed cold. Go figure, right? Anyway, I’ll tell you how to make it properly a little later.

Another thing: iced coffee is not the stale, leftover coffee that you’ve let sit out on your counter. Not even with a smattering of ice cubes thrown in. I do say, watered-down iced coffee is as useless as gum on a boot heel. And it won’t taste much better!

How to Make Iced Coffee: Basic Pour-Over Method

My best iced coffee recipe has the power to put some pep in your step when you need it! And, without stirring up a hornet’s nest, I’ll let you in on what that leftover coffee is truly good for.

Ingeniously, you may pour cold coffee into ice cube trays to make coffee ice cubes! Trust me, reserve at least one ice cube tray for a cold coffee hack.

To begin, my pour-over iced coffee recipe for two calls for the following kitchen tools:

making iced coffee with a pour-over dripper

Chances are, you already have these four ingredients on hand:

  • 16 ounces (473 milliliters) hot water

  • 8 ounces (226 grams) ice cubes or, as I recommend above, coffee ice cubes

  • 45 grams freshly ground coffee beans (medium-fine grind size)

  • Creamer or non-dairy milk

Here’s how to brew your refreshing pour-over iced coffee:

  1. Heat the water to around 203 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius).

  2. Add ground coffee to the filter-lined cone. Place atop your measuring cup or carafe.

  3. Starting at the center, slowly dampen the coffee grounds in a circular motion.

  4. Let bloom for 30 seconds. Then, continue pouring water over until you have just under 16 ounces (473 milliliters) of coffee.

  5. Fill 2 glasses with coffee ice cubes. Pour in the hot coffee until glasses are three-quarters full.

  6. Add creamer or alternative milk and stir with a spoon or a straw.

Voila! Enjoy your delicious iced coffee! Of course, do play with the potency as you fancy.

Other Preparation Methods for Homemade Iced Coffee

Cold Brew Iced Coffee Method

For those who love iced coffee and are stellar at planning ahead, here is my obligatory nod to cold brew. Incidentally, for a more in-depth exploration, check out my cold brew coffee guide 2024. Please be aware, this coffee recipe calls for a 12 hour brewing time

Taking it even further, I’d like to impress upon you my French press method for cold brew. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself there!

For this cold brew method, I recommend a medium to dark roast coffee:

  • 80 grams coarsely ground coffee beans

  • 34 ounces (1 liter) room temperature water

  • French press

  • Mason jar or tall glass

  • Oat milk or almond milk

  • Ice cubes

Cold Brew coffee from a Hario

Happily, the brewing process is wholly straightforward:

  1. Add your ground coffee beans and water to the French press and set the plunger on top. Don’t push it down!

  2. Steep your cold brew overnight, at room temperature. 

  3. After 12 hours, depress the plunger on the French press.

  4. Ready your mason jar or glass with a few ice cubes, then pour your cold brewed coffee over the ice cubes.

  5. Add plant milk or your favorite creamer.

  6. For a little extra kick, try adding a few teaspoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice to your iced coffee!

AeroPress Iced Coffee

Not on everyone’s barista radar is the AeroPress, a perfect single-serve coffee maker. Taking a fresh pot to a new level, the AeroPress consists of a brewing chamber, a plunger and a filter cap. Here’s my spin on a speedy iced coffee!

Making coffee with an AeroPress

Simple instructions for a strong coffee:

  1. Add 22 grams of finely ground coffee to the brewing chamber.

  2. Press the plunger in slightly and turn upside-down.

  3. Insert the coffee filter.

  4. Fill with hot water up to the maximum mark and stir for 10 seconds.

  5. Infuse for 30 seconds.

  6. Using gentle pressure, force the plunger to extract the brewed coffee into a thick glass.

  7. Throw in as many ice cubes as you want and enjoy!

Super Automatic Iced Coffee

When it comes to fully automatic espresso machines, quite a few manufacturers have jumped on the iced coffee bandwagon.

Perhaps the best example is the Jura Z10, which makes cold brew faster than a greased pig! I have dubbed this function with the fitting name of Swiss Iced Coffee. It’s definitely not true cold brew, but it’s mighty tasty all the same. All you bring to the table are a tall glass and ice cubes.

Other notable machines with cold extraction functions include the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus and the DeLonghi Eletta Explore. The latter even offers a cold foam function for what it’s worth.

Iced Coffee from a Drip Coffee Maker

There’s nothing to stop you from brewing double strength coffee in any automatic coffee machine and using that as your iced coffee base.

Still, some models in my drip coffee maker guide 2024 have built-in iced coffee functions. This takes the guesswork out of the equation, and these machines adjust their brewing parameters accordingly.

Notable examples include the Ninja CM401 and the DeLonghi TrueBrew. There’s even the Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker if hot coffee just isn’t your thing.

How to Make Homemade Flavored Iced Coffee: 3 Recipes

Now, you might say I have a bee in my bonnet when it comes to iced coffee cocktails. To follow are a few artful ways to add flavor and sweetness to your iced coffee. Adding vanilla syrup, vanilla extract, citrus juice or cinnamon sticks lends irresistibly sweet tones. 

Iced Latte Macchiato

Be my guest; take it easy on your pocketbook without licking the red off of your candy! Oh, and if you don’t have a home espresso machine, you can get away with using strong coffee from a moka pot. Here’s all you’ll need for my vanilla iced coffee:

  • Single ristretto espresso shot 

  • A dash of vanilla extract or maple syrup

  • 8 ounces (237 milliliters) cold milk

  • Crushed ice

  • Mason jar with lid

  • Tall glass

An iced latte macchiato

To stir up any preconceived notions, our mason jar is going to become a cocktail shaker:

  1. Pour milk, vanilla syrup or maple syrup and crushed ice into a mason jar. 

  2. Close tightly. Shake, shake shake your money-maker!

  3. Pour the shaken ice milk into a tall glass.

  4. Drizzle the espresso shot slowly into the center of your ice milk.

  5. Enjoy your iced latte macchiato!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Cà Phê Đá)

Homemade Vietnamese iced coffee is traditionally made using a specialty coffee phin. This resembles a metal pour-over filter with a cup. Who knew strong coffee and condensed milk could float your boat?

  • 15 grams dark roast coffee, coarsely ground

  • Two tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

  • 8 ounces (237 milliliters) boiling water

  • 4 ounces (113 grams) ice cubes 

  • Vietnamese phin filter

  • Stainless straw

  • Heat-resistant glass

  • Tall serving glass

A delicious Vietnamese iced coffee

If you love iced coffee, you haven’t truly lived until you’ve tried this version. Still, you’ll need to be patient – the brewing method takes a while. Here’s how to make iced coffee the Vietnamese way:

  1. Pour condensed milk into heat-resistant glass.

  2. Add coffee grounds to the coffee phin cup.

  3. Tightly screw the metal disk over the phin cup.

  4. Place the coffee phin over the glass of condensed milk.

  5. Carefully pour boiling water through the filter in a slow trickle.

  6. Once a drip is achieved, pour in the rest of the boiling water and put a lid on it. Like, literally.

  7. Next, simmer down by adding ice cubes to your tall glass.

  8. Once the coffee is brewed, stir it with the condensed milk using your stainless straw.

  9. Pour mixture over ice, stick a straw in and cool your beans!

Affogato al Caffè

You don’t have to be completely sinful to enjoy a love affair between espresso and gelato. And yet, for a truly wicked flavor, start with a generous scoop of vanilla or pistachio:

  • Double espresso shot (2 ounces)

  • One or two scoops of gelato (vanilla or pistachio works best)

  • A wee tot of amaretto

  • Wide tumbler, pre-chilled

Preparing an affogato al caffe

The trick is to be faster than a barefoot jackrabbit and enjoy this before it melts:

  1. Make espresso and let sit.

  2. Scoop gelato into your chilled, wide tumbler.

  3. Gently drizzle the semi-cooled espresso in a thin stream over the gelato.

  4. Add a splash of amaretto.

  5. Sit pretty and sip/scoop swiftly!

Final Thoughts

Essentially, learning how to make iced coffee is as simple or complex as you want it to be. Suit your fancy by preparing a two-minute drip coffee from an “Over Ice” function! Or plan ahead for a 12-hour French press cold brew.

Either way, there’s nothing quite as refreshing and invigorating as iced coffee on a hot afternoon. For more ways to flavor iced coffee, I invite you to delve into my cold alcoholic coffee drinks. Any of those will rock your world on a steamy evening!

If you love iced coffee, please share your favorite recipes with the Coffeeness community. I’d be happy as Larry to read your comments below!

How to Make Iced Coffee FAQ

To make homemade iced coffee, fill a tall glass with ice and pour cooled coffee up to 3/4 of the way full. Fill the remaining quarter with cream or a non-dairy alternative.

You may use a French press, an AeroPress or a pour-over funnel to make iced coffee.

Making iced coffee is more nuanced than cold coffee poured over ice. The best iced coffee methods will prevent oxidation or an acidic taste.

Chilled coffee is more likely to taste like water with a coffee tinge. I recommend my cold brewed coffee recipe above for coffee purists.

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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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