How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

We thought we would give you a few more reasons to think about ice coffee differently. And since you can enjoy ice coffee in so many ways, we’ll list a few more methods you haven’t heard of before. But a lot of people are still trying to determine what actually constitutes ice coffee. As you’ll soon find out, every coffee recipe has an interesting story about how it all started.

What is Ice Coffee?

Ice Coffee and beans

If you ask most people these days where ice coffee comes from you might get a variety of answers. In fact, most folks might think iced coffee was invented in some coffee shop. But if you ever thought that the French had anything to do with this, you would be surprised. Some things that happen during wars can actually be a good thing as we’ve seen with the invention of Torrefacto coffee beans.

A Lil’ Ice Coffee History

French invasion of Algeria

It was during the Battle of Mazagran in Algeria way back in 1840 that the French Army was fighting Arab and Berber forces. This military occupation was part of a 17-year operation that helped to liberate the Algerians from two separatist groups that finally surrendered to the French in 1847. Yet, some supply issues had affected the French when they couldn’t add milk to their coffee.

This forced the French soldiers to drink the coffee when it got cold and then added water to their coffee to get a refreshing effect. To sweeten the coffee, the soldiers would also add sugary syrup, which became popular in the heat of Algeria which is exactly how iced coffee was invented. When soldiers returned to France, those who went to Paris brought this trend with them.

It became common that many soldiers would ask cafe owners to add their new drink to the menu and serve it in a tall glass to make it look fancy. The name that it was given was obvious since Mazagran was where it was invented. From that point on, most respectable coffee shops will list the Mazagran on their menu. But for most who haven’t heard of this drink, it’s simply known as Iced coffee.

Joint Coffee Trade Publicity Committee 1920 Ad

Now there’s a reason that you don’t hear about the Mazagran across America, and it has a lot to do with the coffee industry. It wasn’t until 1920 that the Joint Coffee Trade Publicity Committee started promoting coffee with very inventive and witty marketing ads that included enjoying cold coffee with ice. Perhaps the biggest push happened with Starbucks way back in 1995 when they started to market their Frappuccino.

People seem to forget that Dunkin’ Donuts was selling iced coffee and cold brewing kits all the way back in 1965. In the last 20 years, ice coffee has aligned itself with all of the top energy drink names and is just as popular.

What makes iced coffee different?

Ice cubes and coffee in glass

Aside from iced coffee being cool to drink, literally- the icy blend of coffee and ice makes hot days surprisingly refreshing. The added selection of flavored syrups can also create an infinite number of coffee blends.

The downside to ice coffee is that you can expect the price will be more expensive than hot coffee. This is obvious because it costs money to make ice cubes and cups need to be stronger. After all, there is more liquid to drink. Additionally, ice dilutes the flavor unless you make the coffee more concentrated. In Japan, they counter this problem by making their coffee stronger so the ice will blend down the flavor as you drink it. Other people make coffee ice cubes so the taste is constant from the start to the finish. Even when ice coffee doesn’t have any more ice, it’s still slightly sweet and thirst-quenching at the same time.

Cold Brew Coffee Vs Ice Coffee

Cold Brew vs Ice Coffee

Despite cold brew coffee and ice coffee being served when they are cold, there are major differences in taste and flavor profiles. Cold brew coffee is brewed in a container and allowed to steep overnight. The taste that comes from cold brew coffee is much-more mellow with a tiny acidic bite. Even the grind ratio is typically coarse to medium-coarse to keep the sediment from making the coffee cloudy.

Ice coffee is regular coffee that is brewed using any method that makes hot coffee or espresso. This is allowed to cool off and then is chilled further with ice cubes. There are some slight differences if the coffee is served fresh to preserve the flavor better by cooling the coffee down with ice. This can weaken the flavor unless you make the coffee stronger.

Cold Brew Vs Ice

Brewing cold coffee in jar

Cold brew coffee is easy to add flavors that tend to be more obvious these newly added syrups will be easier to spot. This is because the smooth flavor that increases the intensity of the coffee when it steeps in cool water. This allows the flavor molecules of the coffee bean to be more obvious. Since there will be little acid and bitter flavors that come from regular brewed coffee, you get all of the benefits of that pack-in flavor.

When cold brew coffee has ice added then this can dilute the flavors somewhat unless you pre-freeze some of the cold brew to use as ice cubes.

Can you just Pour-Drip Coffee over Ice?

Pour drip coffee over ice

Pouring drip coffee over ice is what most people have been doing for decades and decades. It seems that cold brewing is relatively new that many people either love or hate. If you’re a coffee drinker, the acidity and brightness of coffee are what give each cup its own appeal. The best method is to immediately chill freshly brewed coffee in a metal carafe that is placed into icy water so it cools down faster.

This makes it easier to enjoy ice coffee without watering it down with ice cubes. You can also use plastic cubes that are freezable that won’t water down your pour drip ice coffee.

Making Ice Coffee

The best thing about making coffee at home is you could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Well, here is the amount you’ll probably be spending on average over the next 30 years.

This was published in Vanguard Blog for Advisors post by Frank Kinniry.

Kinniry also said, “By pocketing the $3.50 for coffee each day and investing it instead in a low-cost, diversified Roth IRA, you’d have an estimated $106,000 after 30 years, and I don’t think anyone would pay $106,000 for coffee!”

With that making you satisfied that you are probably saving a whopping $100,000, here are some four different ways to make iced coffee at home.

iced coffee in a glass

Coffee jars in fridge

The most practical method for making ice coffee is the method that everyone is using very often. This is simply brewing a fresh pot of coffee and then letting it cool down before adding ice. This is not such a great idea since old coffee starts to lose flavor after 30 minutes have passed. It’s not so noticeable at first but the lack of aroma and bitterness will set in because of the oxidization.

Cooling the coffee in your fridge does help chill the coffee faster but can affect the flavor of regular brewed coffee. The best practical step is to pour fresh coffee into a large jar and screw on a lid. This will prevent air from ruining the flavor.
Enough of those facts.

1: Iced Coffee With French Press

Don’t get confused – If you have a French press at home, it can be used to brew a delicious cup of iced coffee.

  • Take coffee grinds (I prefer fresh ones) approx. A quarter of a cup and add it at the bottom of the French press machine.
  • Next, pour cold water in the French press.
  • Allow the coffee grinds to sit in the water and put it in the fridge overnight, unpressed.
  • When you wake up, take out the French press and press the grinds down and pour over ice.
  • That’s it; you are all ready to enjoy your delicious iced coffee.

2: The Container Iced Coffee

This method requires two containers. One will be used for infusing and the other for storing your cold brew coffee.

We also need a coffee filter, ground coffee beans and purified water.

Ok, we are all set and ready to brew.

The best ratio for coffee and water ratio is one part of coffee beans and four parts of purified water. If you prefer a strong brew, either increase the coffee while keeping the same water ratio or cut one part of water.

To begin, use an electric grinder to grind the beans at coarse setting. Not necessary if the beans are already ground. Make sure you buy pre-ground coffee which is no older than two weeks.

In a big container, add the coffee and purified water. Stir it using a wooden spoon until all the coffee is saturated with water.

Now, cover this mixture with a towel or a lid and let it infuse at room temperature for 18-24 hours. After 18-24 hrs. Line up a strainer with a coffee filter and place it over a large bowl.

Strain the coffee slowly by pouring it on the filter into the new container.

Finally, pour this coffee over ice and serve immediately. That’s it; your iced coffee is ready to sip.

If it tastes too strong, you can dilute it with water or cream.

iced coffee with cream

3: Cold Coffee Without Ice Cream

I love the cold coffee without ice cream recipe, and it takes a few simple ingredients, a bit of your time and patience.


Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Coffee – 1 tbsp.
  • Chilled milk – 1 ½ cup
  • Powdered sugar – 2-3 tbsp. or as per your taste
  • Ice cubes – 4
  • Chocolate sauce – 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh whip cream – 2 tbsp. but it is optional


Firstly, add milk, coffee, sugar and ice cubes in a mixer or a blender. I prefer an electric blender with a regular blade.

Blend it well until it becomes dense and frothy.

Take a serving glass, squeeze in 1 tbsp. Chocolate sauce and pour it into the glass.

Next, pour the blended coffee and top it with whipped cream or simply decorate with more of chocolate sauce.

Serve yourself, sip and enjoy.

4: Ice Coffee Hack Busted

So far we’ve learnt some simple iced coffee recipes.

Well, you’ve probably heard of coffee cubes, but the method might be shady.

The usual concept is pouring leftover coffee into ice cube tray and freezing it. Not a good idea.

What you do is, brew fresh and strong coffee, pour it into ice cube tray and refrigerate it for 4-5 hours approx.

Before you take out the ice cube tray, brew another fresh cup of coffee iced coffee and finally pour the ice cubes.

This will keep your coffee flavour-rich as it melts and gives you a whole new experience.


Tips for Brewing Ice Coffee

You’ve heard some general methods that work but some lesser-known methods will be better for making ice coffee taste better. What you want to do is always consider that oxygen will make any iced coffee start to degrade in flavor unless you stick to these rules.

Airtight containers

What happens with coffee that’s exposed to oxygen is very simple. The mixture of hydrogen and oxygen starts to raise the pH levels in the coffee and make it taste bitter and stale. You want to find a container that’s dedicated to coffee. It needs to be sealable so air doesn’t start to get to it.


One of the oldest methods for storing coffee that helps keep your coffee hot is a thermos. They have many versions now that aren’t insulated like they were in the old days. These thermos containers are a lot like fancy water bottles. These can be placed into the fridge, but sadly the cold won’t make the contents cold too, so you need to chill your coffee beforehand in a separate container.

Whipped cream canister

Not only is using a whipped cream canister good for making your own fresh whipped cream, but these canisters have also become popular for making Nitro Brew. Now- the reason that this method is mentioned is because of the Nitrogen. Commonly, coffee roasters use nitrogen for freshly roasted beans that will be packed and stored. Not only does this help to preserve the coffee flavor, but it will also help remove the oxygen that will ruin flavors.

You can find whipped cream canisters that hold as much as 1.5 liters of coffee. If you want to store more than this amount, you can look for mini-kegs used for making Nitro Brew. The nitrogen canisters help removes the oxygen from the container. As long as you don’t shake this mixture, you won’t get ice coffee starting to taste like Nitro Brew.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need a special coffee maker for iced coffee?

A. Not really! Iced coffee may or may not require a coffee maker. It depends on how you brew it. Ideally, a container, a coffee filter, coffee beans and purified water is all you need to brew iced coffee with no special kitchen equipment.

Q. What’s the correct coffee: water ratio for iced coffee?

A. It is the same as for a hot brew coffee. One part of coffee grounds and four parts of water. If you want to make it strong or light, increase or decrease any part. Read a little more on dialing in your perfect ratio by reading a little about ratios and French press coffee here.

Q. Do I need to dilute before drinking?

A. This is a common question coffee lovers ask about iced coffee, “Do I need to dilute before drinking?” Well, it depends on your drinking habits. If you are someone who drinks plenty of coffee throughout the day, you may want to dilute it, so you don’t get caffeine overdose.

Q. Can I add mix-ins?

A. If you don’t care much about the caloric intake or fats, you can always add syrups, creamers, chocolate, caramel, sweeteners, etc. I’d recommend adding in moderate quantity.

Leave a Comment