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How to Make Iced Coffee at Home (2 Recipes)

iced coffee espresso

As the weather starts heating up and people start heading to the beach and enjoying the warmth, hot coffee loses some of its appeal. Many people turn to iced coffee during the warmer months as a way to cool off and still enjoy the flavor and energy-boosting effects of coffee. Unfortunately, making iced coffee at home isn’t as easy as throwing some ice cubes in your coffee and calling it a day.

In this article, we’ll show you two easy ways to make iced coffee at home. A few pitfalls are important to avoid if you want to make good-tasting iced coffee that isn’t weak and watery. If you’ve tried to make iced coffee at home with disappointing results, this guide is for you.

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Brewing Tips: Stronger is Better

The most important factor for making good iced coffee at home is strength. A common error people make when brewing iced coffee is using the same recipe they would use to brew hot coffee and then adding ice at the end. The problem with this method is the ice cubes melt and water down your coffee resulting in a weak, bland cup.

One way to avoid weak iced coffee is to make coffee ice cubes, but another way – that we prefer – is to make your coffee stronger from the start. Most hot coffee recipes recommend using between a 15:1 and 17:1 water-to-coffee ratio. For iced coffee, we like to use more coffee and typically aim for between a 12:1 and 15:1 water-to-coffee ratio.


How to Make Iced Coffee: 2 Easy Methods

Method 1: Brew Directly Onto Ice

We’ll start with our favorite way to make iced coffee at home using a pour-over brewer. Pour-over iced coffee is, in our opinion, the best way to make flavorful iced coffee at home without worrying about getting watery coffee.

Chemex iced coffee

Ingredients
  • 20 g coffee, medium grind
  • 150 g water
  • 150 g ice
Equipment
  • Pick your favorite pour-over brewer. We like to use a Hario V60, but you could use a Chemex or Kalita Wave with similar results.
  • Put 150 g of large ice cubes in your mug if you’re using a V60 or in your Chemex if you’re using one instead.
  • Rinse the paper filter away from the ice cubes. This can be a bit tricky to do, so be careful not to burn your hand. It’s helpful to have another mug nearby to use to catch the rinse water.
  • Fill your brewer with 20 g of coffee.
  • Pour 60 g of water over the coffee. Make sure to wet all the grounds evenly. Wait for 30 seconds.
  • After 30 seconds, slowly pour the remaining 90 g of water over the coffee.
  • Give the pour-over a quick spin when you’re finished pouring to unstick any grounds that might be clinging to the filter.

The key to pour-over iced coffee is splitting the water between ice and liquid. Our recipe uses a 50-50 split, but you can adjust it to suit your taste. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure the ice just barely melts when the last bit of water is poured. If you have lots of ice leftover at the end, try using less ice and more water. Conversely, if the ice melts halfway through the brew, use more ice and less water.


Method 2: Brew Coffee, Then Pour It Over Ice

Our second favorite way to make iced coffee at home is with a French press. We like this method because French press coffee is bolder and more full-bodied than other methods, making it well-suited for iced coffee. French press iced coffee is naturally more flavorful and robust and, therefore, less prone to being weak and underwhelming.

Iced coffee_French Press
Image Credit: Anshu A, Unsplash
Ingredients
  • 25 g coffee
  • 175 g water
  • 175 g ice
Equipment
  • Add 25 g of coarse-ground coffee to your French press.
  • Bring 175 g of water to a boil.
  • Pour 50 g of boiling water over the coffee and let it bloom for 1 minute.
  • After 1 minute, pour the remaining 125 g of boiling water over the coffee and stir the grounds gently. Wait 3 minutes.
  • While you’re waiting, fill a coffee mug with 175 g of large ice cubes.
  • Once 3 minutes pass, press the plunger slowly and evenly.
  • Pour the coffee slowly over the ice. Try to take at least 1 minute to pour the coffee. The slower you pour, the faster the coffee will cool off, and the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy your iced coffee.

This method shares some similarities with the first method but will produce a bolder, rounder flavor profile with chocolatey and nutty notes.


Chemex iced coffee pouring

How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

Our favorite way to make iced coffee at home is using a pour-over brewer like the Chemex, Hario V60, or Kalita Wave. Pour-over iced coffee is, in our opinion, the best way to make flavorful iced coffee at home without worrying about getting watery coffee.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 drink(s)
Calories 5 kcal

Equipment

  • Pour-over brewer (Chemex, Hario V60, Kalita Wave, or Melitta)
  • Paper filter
  • Tall glass

Ingredients
 

  • 20 g coffee medium grind
  • 150 g water
  • 150 g ice

Instructions
 

  • Pick your favorite pour-over brewer. We like to use a Hario V60, but you could use a Chemex or Kalita Wave with similar results.
  • Put 150 g of large ice cubes in your mug if you're using a V60 or in your Chemex if you're using one instead.
  • Rinse the paper filter away from the ice cubes. This can be a bit tricky to do, so be careful not to burn your hand. It's helpful to have another mug nearby to use to catch the rinse water.
  • Fill your brewer with 20 g of coffee.
  • Pour 60 g of water over the coffee. Make sure to wet all the grounds evenly. Wait for 30 seconds.
  • After 30 seconds, slowly pour the remaining 90 g of water over the coffee.
  • Give the pour-over a quick spin when you're finished pouring to unstick any grounds that might be clinging to the filter.
  • Pour your iced coffee into a tall glass. Add a few more ice cubes if your drink isn't cold enough. Enjoy plain or with cream and sugar!

Notes

The key to pour-over iced coffee is splitting the water between ice and liquid. Our recipe uses a 50-50 split, but you can adjust it to suit your taste. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure the ice just barely melts when the last bit of water is poured. If you have lots of ice leftover at the end, try using less ice and more water. Conversely, if the ice melts halfway through the brew, use more ice and less water.

Nutrition

Calories: 5kcal
Keyword how to make iced coffee at home

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Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed these iced coffee recipes! With summer just around the corner, now is the time to practice whipping up batches of delicious iced coffee so you can be ready when the beach beckons.

Iced coffee isn’t too hard to make, and with these two recipes in your pocket, you’ll be able to make delicious, flavorful iced coffee that will satisfy your craving for cold coffee. If you prefer fruity, bright coffee, we recommend the pour-over iced coffee recipe and for people who love bold coffee with chocolate and earthy flavors, go with the French press version.


Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Sean Brennan

Sean’s obsession with coffee started when he received his first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, his love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets he owns – has grown considerably. A scientist by training, there is no stone he has left unturned in the never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee. He has spent many hours tuning his pour-over technique, thinking about how to best compare grind quality, and worrying about whether the Nicaraguan or Kenyan beans will make the best cold brew. These days he favors the Hario V60, and starts each day by hand grinding his coffee before enjoying a cup prepared with care and attention to detail.

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