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How to Make Iced Coffee and Cold-Brew Coffee

Cold-brew coffee is the newest coffee trend…and iced coffee is pretty awesome, too. There’s a difference between the two, and they’re both easy to make.

Remember when cold coffee was a bad thing? A beverage that’s supposed to be served hot succumbs to room temperature, and something—notably flavor—gets lost in the translation. Of course, the same is true for warm beer or soda. Maybe the problem is that middle ground of room temperature: not too hot, not too cold, and certainly not just right. While we would not recommend hot beer or orange juice, some normally hot beverages are delicious when served cold. Iced tea has been a favorite for decades, and in recent years iced coffee has all but overtaken it in popularity.

Two glasses of iced coffee with straws on a wooden table.

How to Make Iced Coffee

How do you make iced coffee? Just brew coffee and let it get cold, right? Um, no. That kind of cold coffee is still a bad thing. Fresh-brewed is the key to flavor. So how about brewing coffee and pouring it over ice? You’re getting closer…but remember, that ice is made of water, and water dilutes things. What you need to do is brew a stronger coffee, to begin with.

If you’re using a standard drip coffeemaker or French press, it’s simple: just use twice as much coffee when you brew, then pour it over a glass full of ice. But what if you have one of those super-convenient single-serve coffee brewers? Fear not—the same principle applies, and it couldn’t be easier.

Every machine has settings that allow you to choose the size of your cup, and a single-serve pod contains enough ground coffee to brew a pretty sizable mug. (Some frugal folks have been known to hit a lower setting twice in order to brew more coffee than they would get on a higher setting, or even reuse a pod…but unlike chili, coffee is not better the second time around.) So simply brew a stronger (smaller) cup of coffee, then pour it over ice. Voilà—normal-strength iced coffee!

Ginny's Coffee Brewer

Iced Coffee Recipe

Here are the details:

  1. Fill an 8- to 12-ounce glass with ice cubes and place under the brewer.
  2. Insert your single-serve coffee pod, and select the smallest cup setting. (Some brewers make it super-easy by providing an “iced beverage” setting.)
  3. Once your coffee is brewed, you can add a couple of tablespoons of half & half or evaporated milk and sweeten to preference, or just enjoy it straight up.

The type of sweeter that you use does not matter – whether sugar, flavored creamer, coffee syrup, or artificial sweeter. For a more health-conscious option, try stevia or xylitol (birch sugar).

On the other hand, for those with a sweet tooth, doctor up your iced coffee with whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles and top it with a cherry for a truly decadent indulgence!

See how easy that was, iced coffee lovers? Enjoying a delicious iced coffee at home isn’t difficult.

Now, of course, there will always be those who find fault with any technique. Some coffee fanatics will say that once something has been heated (or brewed hot), it must be served that way—and that heating and then cooling damages the flavor. This is why a relatively new method of brewing has come into popularity in recent years…

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

In this method, heat never touches the ground coffee to wreak havoc on the flavor molecules. (At least that’s what many purists are now saying.) But heat is what helps extract all those yummy flavor compounds, right? Well, sort of. It turns out that water—as science has known all along—is a pretty effective solvent (the “universal” one, in fact). Heat merely speeds up the extraction process. So to make up for the absence of heat, just crank up the time.

No, you won’t be able to use your single-serve coffeemaker or the pods it uses. This is a more old-school method involving quality ground coffee and a pitcher.

Cold-Brew Coffee Recipe

  1. Combine 1 part ground coffee to 5 parts water in a pitcher or French press. Stir to combine. Cover with plunger lid, but don’t press plunger down yet.
  2. Let steep at room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Strain through fine mesh into a clean container, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.
  4. To serve, pour one part concentrate and one part milk or water over ice. Sweeten to taste.
Coffee and Sweat Cream

If you want to take your iced coffee Vietnamese-style, stir in a little sweetened condensed milk. Or “Thai it up” by doing the same and adding some cardamom. Cardamom is also the flavoring of choice for coffee in the Middle East.

Coffee Cake with two slices cut next to a cup of coffee in a glass cup and coffee beans.

What to Serve with Iced & Cold-Brew Coffee

Now that you know how to brew a great iced drink, what do you want to eat with it?

Actually, this is no big deal. Anything you would normally enjoy with your hot coffee will be fabulous. The only difference is that—since you’re probably making iced coffee because it’s hot in the first place—you’re probably not making the typical hot breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, and all that comfort food.

A nice coffee cake will be an excellent accompaniment, especially if you don’t have to turn on the oven and bake it yourself. Baklava is the perfect choice, especially if you’ve flavored your iced coffee with cardamom. Now you’re cool and caffeinated and ready to face the day!

Cinnamon Buns and Coffee

History of Iced Coffee

Iced coffee has a long and fascinating history that spans several continents and cultures.

One of the earliest examples of iced coffee can be traced back to the 17th century in Algeria, where people would mix coffee with cold water and sugar to create a refreshing drink during the hot summer months. This drink was known as “café glacé” or “café frappé”.

In the early 19th century, iced coffee became popular in Europe and America. In 1840, a Frenchman named Monsieur de Quervain created a machine that could produce large quantities of cold coffee. This invention made it easier for cafes and restaurants to serve iced coffee to their customers.

In the United States, iced coffee became popular in the late 19th century, especially in the southern states, where it was served with cream and sugar. In the early 20th century, iced coffee began to appear in advertisements for coffee companies, and it became a staple of American coffee culture.

In the 1960s, a new form of iced coffee emerged in Japan, called “Mizudashi coffee”. This method involved steeping coffee grounds in cold water for several hours, which produced a smooth, rich, and less acidic coffee that could be served over ice.

Today, iced coffee is enjoyed worldwide, and there are many different ways to prepare it. Some popular methods include cold brewing, pour-over, and espresso-based drinks like iced lattes and cappuccinos. Iced coffee has become a staple of coffee culture and a refreshing drink enjoyed by millions of people every day.

History of Cold Brew Coffee

The history of cold brew coffee dates back to at least the 1600s in Japan, where it was known as “Kyoto-style” coffee. This method involved steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time, usually overnight, to produce a smooth and flavorful coffee concentrate.

In the 1800s, Dutch traders in Indonesia developed a similar method of brewing coffee using cold water, called “Dutch coffee”. They would mix coarsely ground coffee with cold water and let it steep for several hours before filtering it through a cloth.

Cold brew coffee became more popular in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in New Orleans, where it was known as “iced coffee concentrate”. The method involved steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for 12-24 hours, and then diluting the resulting concentrate with water or milk.

In the early 2000s, cold brew coffee gained renewed popularity, particularly in specialty coffee shops and among coffee aficionados. Many coffee shops began offering cold brew coffee as a specialty drink, and companies started producing ready-to-drink bottled cold brew coffee for consumers to enjoy at home.

Today, cold brew coffee is a popular method of brewing coffee all over the world. It is loved for its smooth, rich flavor, low acidity, and high caffeine content. Cold brew coffee can be made using a variety of different methods and equipment, including French presses, Toddy systems, and mason jars. It has become a staple of specialty coffee culture and a favorite of coffee lovers everywhere.


Iced coffee and cold brew coffee are two popular ways of enjoying coffee. Iced coffee is a refreshing drink made by mixing coffee with cold water and sugar. It became popular in the United States in the late 19th century and is now a staple of American coffee culture. Cold brew coffee, on the other hand, involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time to produce a smooth and flavorful coffee concentrate. It gained renewed popularity in the early 2000s and is now a favorite of coffee lovers everywhere. Both iced coffee and cold brew coffee offer a refreshing way to enjoy coffee, but cold brew coffee is known for its smooth, rich flavor, low acidity, and high caffeine content.

Comments (6)

If you want great iced coffee just do this wether it is decaf or reg for 12 cups put in 6 rounded Tsps( coffee tsp) of your favorite coffee + 1/2 more then brew Waite till cool stick it the fridge, wait again pour over ice serve with half and half and Splenda or sugar or a sweet n low ( no twin) (no pku here) you can add cinnamon or what you add after that. It’s the only way I have a 17 0z when I am thirsty.

Thank you for sharing! That sounds like a great recipe 😊.

“Doctors Reveal You Can Enjoy Up to 5 Cups of Coffee Per Day – If You Drink the Right Kind…”

Great ideas for cold brewed and iced coffee!

Great ideas for cold brewed and iced coffee!


Thanks a lot for the Coffee Recipe. Looking to enjoy my holidays with great coffee. You too Enjoy the Holidays !

A Very Happy New Year ! Cheers

~ Donna

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