Iced coffee is a refreshing treat that many people love. There are times when it’s just too hot outside for a regular cup of joe. Other times iced coffee is a welcomed change of pace. Then there are some people who even prefer it cold.
Contrary to popular belief, iced coffee is not just brewed coffee with ice or chilled hot coffee. Top-notch iced coffee is so much more. Let’s look at some tips and tricks for how to make iced coffee that you and your friends will love .
How to Make Iced Coffee
The best way to make iced coffee is to brew your coffee in advance and allow it to cool in your fridge. This method keeps the flavor fresh and saves it from being watered down by melting ice. When stored properly in your fridge, your chilled coffee will stay fresh for 2-3 days.
If you are short on time and need iced coffee quickly, here are some other brewing methods you can use. While these methods aren’t ideal, they can still provide you with your iced coffee in a pinch.
- Use an espresso machine to pull shots for your coffee. Shots coming from a machine are strong enough to handle some water. While this drink may technically be called an iced Americano, the concept is similar and can work if you are in a rush.
- Use a Japanese flash brewing method. This style of brewing takes the amount of ice you use into account and has you heat only the amount of water you need—sans the ice.
- Other coffee pros suggest brewing your hot coffee in one container and then putting it in one that will help cool it down, like a martini shaker that has been in the freezer. Devices like this help with the transfer of heat from your liquid without diluting the flavor.
No matter what method you decide to use, there are lots of other factors that play into making the best iced coffee possible. Let’s take a look at a few of the key ones.
What Is the Best Coffee to Use for Iced Coffee?
A great deal of what a person considers “the best” comes down to personal taste. For example, some individuals don’t like dark roast coffees and their flavor profiles. Others find blonde roasts and breakfast blends too weak for their liking. The best advice is to brew a flavor of coffee that you know you will enjoy.
If you’re not sure what you like, medium roasts are generally suggested for creating the best tasting iced coffee.
The most important aspect of making a killer iced coffee though, is the quality of the beans. If you want the best place, use the best beans that you can afford. You will want to buy local and fresh to secure a high-quality bean. Beans that sit out in large bins or tubs won’t be as flavorful because they have been exposed to air, which makes them dry. You can tell fresh coffee beans from old ones by their shinier look and strong fragrance.
Another little tip is to buy whole bean coffee instead of ground. This may take additional time for you to prep, but the result will be so much better. Ground coffee is at its best shortly after grinding. If using pre-ground bagged coffee, you have no idea how long ago those beans were ground. To make sure you get the best flavor, go with whole beans.
How Hot Should the Water Be for Preparing the Best Iced Coffee?
Some people may think the hotter the better when brewing coffee. That isn’t the case here. It is possible to have water that is not warm enough or entirely too hot. Both can wreak havoc on the flavor profile of your drink.
For example, if your water is lukewarm instead of hot, it muddles the flavor. When it’s too hot, it scorches the taste out of the grinds. Both options leave you unfulfilled.
The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit – just below boiling. Though measuring the temperature of hot water can be a challenge, it’s critical for the best iced coffee you can make. One way to solve this problem is to purchase a kettle with temperature control.
What is the difference between iced coffee and cold brew coffee?
At first glance, these two types of coffee look exactly the same. A novice wouldn’t know the difference, and many people confuse these two types of coffee all the time. However, there are key differences between the two that stem from the brewing process.
Iced coffee is brewed hot and then cooled to drink. You can cool it by using ice or placing it in the fridge. But it started as a hot substance. Cold brew coffee is brewed cold from the beginning. It is made by pouring cold water over grinds and letting them seep.
Because of the difference in brewing techniques, the flavor profiles vary between the two types of brews. Cold brew tends to be more concentrated than ice coffee, which means it has a stronger flavor. Cold brew enthusiasts love that strong flavor.
How to Make Iced Coffee is a Breeze
How to make iced coffee isn’t incredibly difficult. The key is using high quality coffee beans and water that isn’t too hot. When possible, one should try to avoid pouring hot coffee straight over ice as this can dilute the beverage. Lastly, learning what flavors you want in your coffee and what beans work best for you will help you to make the perfect iced coffee brew.