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Can You Make Iced Coffee with Hot Coffee? Brewing Tips!

close up iced coffee on a glass

Many people like to drink iced coffee, especially during the warm summer months. However, if you’ve already made hot coffee, you might wonder if it’s possible to turn it into a refreshing cup of iced coffee.

While some people think you need a special type of coffee or brewing method to make iced coffee, that’s not true. Yes, you can turn your hot coffee into a tasty cup of iced coffee, and we’ll provide more details about that throughout our article.

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Ingredients in Iced Coffee

Although it may seem that iced coffee contains more ingredients than hot coffee, it’s just hot coffee mixed with ice. Of course, you can play with flavors and add other elements such as creamer, milk, and sugar per your liking.

However, you should know that iced coffee is not the same as a cold brew, so you’ll need to turn to a completely different preparation method if that’s your craving.

pouring ice of brewed coffee
Image Credit: Kaffee Meister, Unsplash

Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew

Although many people consider them the same, iced coffee is different from cold brew, but they are both popular coffee beverages. While you can make an iced coffee by adding ice to a hot coffee, cold brew requires a timely process.

It’s all about the preparation method rather than just the coffee’s temperature. If you want to drink a cold brew, you need to grind the coffee beans and steep them for an extended period at room temperature. It typically takes between 12 and 16 hours to get a cold pot of coffee with an even, smooth taste.

On the other hand, to turn your hot cup of coffee into an iced coffee, you can brew the hot coffee to your liking and add ice to cool the beverage and slightly dilute the taste without eliminating the coffee flavor.

Can You Turn Hot Coffee into Iced Coffee?

You can use hot coffee to make iced coffee, and the final product should turn out pretty good. However, if the hot coffee is too hot, or you add too much ice, it could quickly melt, turning your beverage into a watered-down coffee which can be unsatisfying.

Still, if you know the most significant differences between iced and hot coffee and some tips and methods for turning hot coffee into iced coffee, your beverage will be very tasty.

how to make coffee ice cubes

Iced Coffee vs Hot Coffee

One of the most apparent differences between iced and hot coffee is their temperature. However, there are other things that make these two coffee beverages distinctive.

  • Iced coffee can become watery: It can be tricky to make the perfect cup of iced coffee as it can become watery because of the ice. Once you perfect your brewing method, it should eliminate the watery taste.
  • Iced coffee can taste bitter: Although you’re turning your hot coffee into iced coffee, they won’t taste the same. Many people feel that iced coffee can taste slightly bitter. However, it’s not actual bitterness but a lack of acidity you commonly feel in hot coffee.

Tips for Making the Best Cup of Iced Coffee

If you want to know how to make that perfect cup of iced coffee, it’s helpful to know some tips that will enhance its flavor. Before we provide some methods to make iced coffee from hot coffee, check out these quick tricks to make your iced coffee taste wonderful.

  • Add milk: Even if you’re not a fan of milk in your hot coffee, adding it to your iced coffee can significantly improve its flavor. The milk will eliminate the slightly bitter taste you can get when drinking iced coffee and add creaminess to the beverage.
  • Make it stronger: Another helpful way to make your iced coffee taste better is to prepare your hot coffee much stronger than you typically would. That way, even if your coffee waters down once you add the ice, it will remain strong enough and won’t lose its flavor.
  • Allow the coffee to cool: It’s also helpful to allow your hot coffee to cool for a bit before adding ice. Even if you leave it on the counter or inside the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes, it will become cold enough to prevent the ice from melting fast, making your iced coffee less diluted.
  • Make coffee ice cubes: If you want to drink iced coffee frequently, it’s a good idea to make coffee ice cubes that you’ll add to your hot coffee. By doing that, you’ll always have them nearby, and if you add them to the hot cup of coffee, it will cool down without diluting, and its taste will stay almost the same.

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How to Make Iced Coffee Using Hot Coffee

While some coffee machines have an option for iced coffee, it’s not something every coffee machine has. If you lack such an option and want to drink iced coffee, you can make your regular hot coffee and turn it into iced coffee. Below are some of the best ways to make iced coffee, depending on the type of machine you own.

Whipped Iced Instant Coffee

instant coffee powder 3 in 1
Image Credit: Alp Aksoy, Shutterstock

When making instant coffee, you don’t need a lot of hot water, so the ice won’t melt as quickly as in other hot coffee beverages. To turn your coffee into a whipped instant iced coffee, add ice and milk inside the cup, and place some milk foam at the top of the drink. The foam will slowly melt into the drink, making it strong and creamy, and you’ll have a nice cup of tasty iced coffee.


Espresso Machine

Nespresso coffee
Image Credit: Helena Yankovska, Unsplash

An espresso machine is an excellent tool for making iced coffee. Making a shot of espresso won’t be as hot as regular brewed coffee, and it will taste stronger, which will benefit you for making iced coffee. This is one of the fastest techniques to turn your hot coffee into a refreshing iced coffee drink.

If you have an espresso machine, follow these steps to turn your espresso into iced coffee:

  1. Prepare a shot of espresso and add sweetener if needed.
  2. Grab a shaker, and pour in the espresso.
  3. Shake until your espresso cools down.
  4. Pour milk into a cup and add ice per your taste.
  5. Pour the espresso inside the glass and stir.

This is a great, simple way to make a fantastic cup of iced coffee that will be strong and creamy.


Drip Coffee Maker

dripping coffee inside the coffee pot
Image Credit: Vasin Hirunwiwatwong, Shutterstock

You could also use a drip coffee maker to make iced coffee, although this method has some pros and cons you should consider before you begin. You’ll first need to wait for the brew to get hot enough, while you’ll need to wait for it to cool down afterward.

On the positive side, brewing coffee inside a drip coffee maker will make the coffee taste better, and your sweetener or sugar will melt easily. If that’s something that works for you, here’s how to make an iced coffee from hot coffee made in a drip coffee maker.

  1. Turn on the drip coffee maker and make your brew. If you want a more robust flavor, you can make a double brew instead of a single one.
  2. Once you finish brewing, add sugar or sweetener while the coffee is still hot. That will allow it to dissolve faster, adding more sweetness to your drink.
  3. Afterward, add milk per your liking, and pour into multiple glasses to allow the brew to cool off more rapidly.
  4. When your coffee is at room temperature, add ice per your taste.

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Final Thoughts

To sum it up, if you want to know if you can make iced coffee with hot coffee, the answer is yes. There are various methods you can use, so it’s best to try out as many as possible to determine which works best for you. Either way, none of the methods is challenging, and the finishing iced coffee will have a satisfying, refreshing taste that will help you cool off.


Featured Image Credit: K8, Unsplash

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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