how to make iced coffee: two cups of java
Coffee Basics

How To Make Iced Coffee: Your Easy Go-To Guide

how to make iced coffee: two cups of java

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cool cup of iced coffee in the sweltering heat. The cool, refreshing flavors of java hit your tastebuds, awakening your senses and offering relief from the high temperatures. Enjoying your favorite coffee is easier than ever thanks to this guide on how to make iced coffee. We’ll show you a quick and easy recipe you can follow and give tips on how to make sure your java has the best flavor.

How To Make Iced Coffee

how to make iced coffee: woman stirring drink

Making iced coffee is quick and easy once you know the basics. Each cup starts with a batch of hot brewed coffee. You can make coffee in a normal coffee maker, espresso machine, or specialty tools like a French press or pour-over coffee. Once you have brewed coffee, you basically just add ice and enjoy. However, there are a few small tricks to making the perfect iced coffee. Below, you’ll find an easy recipe and tips for making a delicious cup of iced coffee.

Here’s how to make iced coffee:

  1. Brew coffee and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Fill a tall glass with ice. Make coffee ice cubes if you don’t want the coffee to be watered down.
  3. Pour room temperature or chilled coffee concentrate on top of the ice.
  4. Add milk if desired (whole milk, nut milk, coconut milk, condensed milk, etc).
  5. Mix in flavorings (vanilla syrup, chocolate syrup, ice cream, mocha powder, etc) and sweeteners if desired.

Iced Coffee Nutrition Information

When it comes to iced coffee, the nutrition information is the same as a standard cup of coffee — provided you haven’t added a lot of flavorings or syrups. For a more detailed breakdown, check out our guide to coffee bean nutrition. It highlights the basic makeup of coffee and how nutrition facts can change depending on the drink size and ingredients.

In general, a standard cup of iced coffee will have around five grams of carbohydrates, three grams of fat, and two grams of saturated fat. A cup of coffee also has low amounts of cholesterol and some sodium. Depending on where and how the coffee beans grew, they will also contain some amount of vitamins and minerals like calcium and potassium.

The Key To Making the Best Iced Coffee

glass of iced coffee

While making iced coffee is really easy, there are ways to ensure you’re drinking the best cup of coffee possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind when brewing a cup of coffee — whether it’s an iced latte or a piping hot espresso.

Use High-Quality Ingredients

Always start by using high-quality ingredients. That means purchasing 100% arabica coffee beans and using good water. Arabica beans tend to offer better flavor and are high-quality compared to robusta beans. 

You should also use the right amount of coffee and pick a good roast. In general, you should use a 1:15 or 1:18 coffee to water ratio. For more on that, check out our guide to the right coffee ratio for different drinks. For roasts, a light roast will offer complex tasting notes while dark roast coffee features one strong tasting note. A medium roast blends the two and is a good choice for beginner coffee drinkers. 

Use spring water or filtered tap water for the best flavor. Tap water contains chemicals like chlorine that can alter the flavor of coffee beans. Invest in a filter or use spring water for great taste and increased mineral content.

Quality also means looking for brands that promote sustainable and fair trade practices. Brands like Lifeboost, Larry’s Coffee, and Ethical Bean are great choices. These companies focus on producing coffee beans without using harsh fertilizers and toxic chemicals. That preserves the natural flavor of coffee so your beverage tastes the way nature intended.

Be Careful with Additives

It can be fun to experiment with coffee by adding new flavors and sweeteners. While you’re free to do that, be careful when adding extra ingredients. First, these new ingredients will change the flavor of the coffee. Duh, that’s why most people add them in. However, some coffee beans are carefully curated by experts to elicit certain tasting notes. By adding other flavors, you may alter these tastes and actually degrade the coffee drinking experience.

When you do choose to add other ingredients, opt for good quality. Look for natural flavorings when making coffee drinks. Artificial ingredients can cause health problems and often don; ’t improve flavor. When in doubt, stick to the classics. Half and half, simple syrup, and creamer are all go-to’s when improving the flavor of the coffee.

Don’t Use Hot Coffee

Make sure to let the coffee cool down to room temperature. Even better, use a batch of coffee that has been chilled in the fridge. If you pour hot coffee on the ice cubes, they will melt quickly. This waters down your coffee and changes the flavor. You can also choose to brew your coffee with cold water, just keep in mind that the grinds will need to steep longer than when brewed with hot water.

If you don’t want your coffee watered down at all, think about keeping ice cube trays filled with coffee ice cubes. Just pour your leftover coffee or a specific batch into the trays and freeze. That way, you always have coffee ice cubes on hand when you want a cold, refreshing java beverage.

Use Whole Beans Instead of Ground Coffee

The reality is that instant coffee and ground coffee are generally lower quality compared to whole beans. By using whole beans, you ensure the best flavor possible when making iced coffee. You can use a coffee grinder to grind your own beans or purchase a small batch from a local roaster and use it within one or two weeks.

Uncover a World of Coffee Enjoyment

woman drinking a cold cup of java

You don’t have to go to a coffee shop like Starbucks and have a professional barista make you a cup of iced coffee. In fact, this coffee beverage is one of the easiest to make right at home. With this guide on how to make iced coffee, you’re set for success — and a delicious, refreshing cup of java.

Did you love this homemade iced coffee recipe? Check out our guide to nitro cold brew coffee. It’s another great way to enjoy a chilled java drink. Don’t miss our blog where you’ll find all sorts of tips on how to make coffee in different ways and guides on how to enjoy the world of coffee.

After chasing down everything there was to know about tea on the Cup & Leaf blog, I'm now exploring the world of coffee. From different types to countries with the best brews and everything in between, I'll be your guide on this coffee discovery.