If your idea of ”iced coffee” is to “let my hot coffee get cold” then we have to talk, honey – you deserve it better. It’s not difficult to make excellent iced coffee or cold brew – you just have to follow a few simple rules.
It can seem like a huge production to make the stuff fresh for yourself at home, but once you’re an ice master (and it’s easier than it sounds), not only will you maximize your coldness, but suddenly you will have one delicious toolkit that lets you float on a wave of taste bud bliss through the hot months.
There are countless ways to make iced coffee, but if you want to do something well, you need to narrow down your options and really focus: hone your skills with one or two techniques rather than dealing with a dozen different brewers.
I recommend learning two main cooking styles: pouring over ice and brewing cold. Think of it as the poached egg and the scrambled egg of iced coffee. Pouring ice on is easier, more sensitive, more nuanced and takes more attention when preparing. Cold brew is great for getting ahead, and is good either straightforward or beefed up.
Whether you’re improving your cool caffeine skills or just want to take your morning chug to the next level, here are some things you need to do before brewing.
Do you know how much time you have
If you’re in a hurry, pouring ice on is 100% the way to get you out of the door: making this type of iced coffee takes about three to four minutes, because you’re basically making a hot concentrate that drips right on ice. (The ice has a double function, dilutes the concentrate perfectly and cools it down at the same time.)
This method is ideal for sipping directly – it lets finer flavors through in coffee – and is a quick way to prepare iced coffee in a flash. You can even use the principles of manual brewing technology to make iced coffee that drips automatically. Calculate the ice-water ratio a little, put the ice in the brewing carafe and off you go. Try this Japanese iced coffee recipe.
Cold brew, on the other hand, can be portioned in take-out to take away after completion, but it takes about 12 to 24 hours. The stronger, chocolatier taste of this iced coffee style generally withstands add-ons, mix-ins, and other fun variations better than pouring iced coffee over it. Try this simple cold brewed coffee recipe.
Remember that ice cream is an ingredient
In fact, ice cream is one of the few ingredients. And if you’re an absolute purist (or an advocate of fixed definitions), this is one of only two ingredients in iced coffee – namely coffee and water. However, the solid-state H2O that gets into your brew can actually have a make-or-break effect on your finished drink.
So be sure to use good, drinkable water and ice cube trays that are clean and don’t smell. Also make sure you have a fresh freezer. If you have last month’s lentil soup, your iced coffee will taste like last month’s lentil soup.
I love a completely flawless, clear cube in mine because it’s so easy to lift the glass. Every coffee should feel like a special occasion, you know what I mean? Get this perfect ice cream recipe.
Do not be afraid to get lust
Speaking of ice, who says it just has to be water? Feel free to add a little Pizazz to your iced coffee by making special ice cubes: mix some simple syrup with the water or vanilla syrup; try some fresh herbs (mint is really nice with certain delicate iced coffees); Freeze frozen condensed milk or chocolate milk for a sweet treat. Live big
A few more ideas: This vanilla ice cube recipe combines almond milk, sugar and vanilla beans; Chowhound’s frozen spike coffee recipe (see above) could also work as a meta ice cube, as long as you don’t sip your drink on a working day morning (on the other hand, the Kahlua portion isn’t The high).
Do some simple calculations (and I mean simplement)
Look, I understand. Every iced coffee recipe around the world seems really complicated and mathematical. Really good coffee is actually a bit complicated and mathematical, but frankly, once you’ve learned the basics, you can pretty much cut it down.
To pour ice on, take the amount of iced coffee you want in the end – say you want to brew 20 ounces to share with a friend – and divide it into 2/3 (the amount of hot coffee) on water with which you brew) and 1/3 (the amount of ice). Cold Brew’s math is much simpler because there are only two ingredients. (No annoying ice cream!) In either case, you shouldn’t get stuck in arithmetic. Just brew it.
Continue reading: How to create a coffee station at home to make your morning better
Now on top of it
Once you’ve brewed your iced coffee, you don’t have to stop here: Did you know that “iced coffee” always contains ice in Australia? It lives the way you mean it. Take your cue from down under and throw a small ball into it. Or add some fresh whipped cream as this should be the best. The best of you Life. Or get on the trend train and make it fluffy.
Or shake it
Not in whipped cream? (What’s wrong with you?) We’re still striving for size here, and size can be achieved in many ways. Pour your iced coffee of your choice into a cocktail shaker, try sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk or light cream, fill it with ice and shake out the Dickens. Immediate fulfillment success unlocked.
Boozy Alternative: Make this Porter cold brewed coffee recipe (which shouldn’t be shaken).
Or really mess it up
You can also use iced coffee to inform and infuse a whole bunch of the best drinks of your life: make half a half by combining the perfect iced coffee with a little lightly sweetened fresh lemonade. Start with a lightly roasted, floral-flavored coffee and trust me, it’s heavenly.
Almost everyone raises an eyebrow when they hear “iced coffee lemonade,” but when you think about why is iced coffee stranger than iced tea? And this combination is sometimes referred to as “Laura Palmer”, alluding to Arnold Palmer (after whom the famous combination of iced tea and lemonade is named) and Twin Peaks.
Read more about Chowhound: 5 unusual coffee drinks you have to try
Or use cold brew concentrate instead of some of the bitter substances in your favorite cocktail: maybe a little Upper / Downer Manhattan? Cold brew goes very well with the warm oak and vanilla tones in bourbon, scotch and whiskey. Try this cold bourbon cocktail recipe.
But don’t sweat it
No matter how you choose to brew, remember that iced coffee should be cold in several ways. Relax, enjoy and stay caffeinated, my friend.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about an illness or health goals.