Get the lowdown on how to make iced coffee and discover the difference between iced coffee and cold brew coffee. Today I'm going to share my top tips on how to make sure whatever you brew is a winner in both flavour, ease and keeping you cool.
The weather has finally picked up and now suddenly we’re in the middle of a heatwave! Don’t worry, I know it won’t last long, so I’m making the most of it. And it does give me an excuse to switch over to cold brew and iced coffees (not that I really need an excuse!).
How to Make an Iced Coffee - Quick and Easy Method
If you're wondering how to make iced coffee then you might be surprised to find out how simple it can be. There are lots of complicated recipes for homemade iced coffee which require syrups, blenders and kitchen scales. You can certainly have lots of fun making complicated ice coffees but you can also get great results with no fuss.
For easy iced coffee, simply take your regularly brewed coffee, cool it down and served over ice. It’s quick and simple to make and you can chill the coffee in the fridge if you need to make iced coffee without ice. Once you pour your ice coffee, you can add milk or leave it black, to suit your tastes. If you want to make sweet iced coffee then you can stir in a sugar syrup.
Assuming you are using ice, be aware that the ice can dilute the taste. To counter this you may want to brew your coffee much stronger than normal (I tend to double the coffee in mine). The other trick to avoid diluting your coffee is to whip up a tray of coffee ice cubes – just pour your leftover, cooled coffee into the ice cube tray and pop in the freezer. Note to self – it makes a lot more mess if you spill the coffee ice cube tray as you put it into the freezer than if you just spill water ice cubes.
There you go! That's how to make iced coffee at home without a blender.
Are iced coffee and cold brew coffee the same thing?
No, although obviously they both result in delicious ice cold coffee, but the brewing method is different. I’m a fan of both, so it really depends on how organised I’ve been and if I’ve had the cold brew coffee brewing the day before.
What is the Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?
The real difference comes in the way they are brewed. Cold brew coffee is pretty simple but takes longer. Take your good quality (preferably coarse) ground coffee and soak it in water in the fridge overnight or for about 12 hours. Then filter out the grounds leaving the coffee concentrate. You can see my best method for making cold brew coffee here.
Cold brew coffee tends to have a more condensed flavour because it hasn’t been diluted with ice and, because it has been steeped in cold water instead of hot water, there is less bitterness. Hot water can bring out more bitter, acidic tastes (which is partly what lots of people love about drinking coffee) when extracting the coffee’s oils and so iced coffee can be more bitter than cold brew. The slower, cold brew method is also proven to extract more caffeine so you may want to consider if that is a good or bad thing when you’re choosing which to make.
The beauty of them both is you can easily make great cold brew and iced coffee at home, so when you need cooling down you don’t have to skip your coffee fix! If you like your coffee sweet you might need to add a little honey or a simple coffee syrup (dissolving sugar in a little hot water) instead of straight sugar as it won’t dissolve properly in ice cold coffee, or go the Vietnamese route and add some condensed milk.
What is Japanese-style flash brew coffee?
Can you make iced coffee with hot coffee? The answer is yes and it's perfect if you want to make iced coffee fast! Flash brew coffee is a third method of making ice cold coffee, and it can be made in minutes with barely any extra effort. All you need is a dripper and a pot full of ice, as well as your favourite ground coffee. Place your dripper over the carafe of ice, and pour over a little just off boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom. Then pour over the rest of your water, allowing it to drip into the jug of ice. Voilá, instant, Japanese-style flash brew coffee. The rapidly chilled freshly brewed coffee results in a bright, clean flavour and it's a great
What can you make with iced coffee?
Want to take your iced coffee and cold brew coffee further? All the talk about iced coffee and cold brew coffee got me thinking about what else I could make with it. So, with some actual preparation, I made a large quantity of iced coffee (today I've been indulging in Fancy Cat and Partied out Panda) and then scoured the internet for recipes to use it in. And there are a lot!
I’ve just spent the day trying a few out, including a delicious and healthy iced coffee, almond milk and banana smoothie, using coffee ice cubes to increase the coffee flavour, a slightly boozy no-churn coffee ice cream with hint of Baileys - check out the recipe here - and a much more boozy end to the day Dom Pedro cocktail / dessert using the ice cream, fresh cream and Kahlua.
They were all gorgeous, although I have learned that the time it takes to whisk up the ice cream is directly proportional to the time it takes to clear up after it’s spattered all over the kitchen. The only epic fail that won’t be repeated – coffee and tonic – quite a hit on the internet, definitely not a hit here.