Iced coffee is an unbeatable treat when the weather outside heats up and you’re trying to cool down. You could visit your local coffee shop, but if you know how to make iced coffee at home, you can enjoy it anytime you want and save money at the same time.
Making the perfect cup of coffee takes a bit of practice and having some tips and tricks up your sleeve can help. Next time you’re craving something to beat the summer heat, pull out this easy how-to guide and get ready to sit back and sip.
Choose the Right Coffee
Making cold coffee means finding the right beans to get the job done. Part of that means shopping for the best coffee for cold brew, which differs from that you use to make traditional hot coffee.
Keep in mind that true cold brew coffee is steeped in cool water for up to 24 hours, so you’ll want to have some going all the time or you’ll find yourself wanting a cold iced coffee and being stuck without.
Experts say that medium to dark roast coffee works best for this method, which creates a chocolatey or earthy flavor that works well with the low acidity of cold brew coffee. You can find many cold brew coffee grounds at supermarkets, but to make the perfect iced latte, consider grinding the beans yourself.
How to Grind Your Coffee Beans
When it comes to most coffee drinks, freshly ground beans are going to be your best option for the best tasting cup. Investing in a good coffee grinder is your best bet, but there are other ways to grind the beans that work just as well. Try one of these:
- Place the beans in the blender and grind them using the pulse setting.
- Put the beans in a freezer zip-top bag, wrap in a towel and use a hammer to grind the beans.
- Use a mortar and pestle.
- Use a rolling pin to grind beans in a large freezer bag.
Whichever method you choose, be sure you get the beans into a fine grind or you may wind up with chunks of beans in your coffee drink, which will make it less than perfect. If you’re not going to use all the grounds at one time, keep them in an airtight container.
Making Your Cold Brew
The next step in the process is making the actual cold brew you’ll use for the finished product. Follow these easy step by step directions and you’ll be that much closer to your perfect summertime iced coffee.
- Place the grounds in a container. The more grounds you have, the larger the container – be sure you save room for water. You can make more than you need and keep it in the refrigerator for several days. That way you’re ready to make iced coffee many times before you need to grind more beans.
- Fill the container with water, just to cover the grounds.
- Cover and let steep for 12 to 24 hours.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve or a couple pieces of cheesecloth, strain the coffee into another large container.
- Once the liquid has passed through leaving behind the grounds, use the back of a metal spoon to press as much more coffee through as you can.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
If you really love iced coffee and want to enjoy it on a daily basis, use about a pound of grounds with two gallons of water for enough to last several weeks. As long as it’s covered tightly, it should last that long.
If you prefer to use a machine, consider a single cup version, such as the singer serve machines by SoloEspresso. Or brew a whole pot and simply stick in the fridge to keep it cold.
The Best Iced Coffee Recipe
Once you get familiar with the process of making cold brew, you’ll be able to play around with your favorite recipe and make it your own. It’s a good idea to try out an iced coffee recipe or two so you have a good understanding of what you’re doing.
- Fill a tall glass to the top with ice cubes. Larger ice cubes won’t melt as fast, which will keep from watering down your coffee.
- Pour your chilled coffee almost to the top.
- Add milk, cream, or half and half to fill the glass up.
- Add a teaspoon or two of sugar if you like your iced coffee sweet.
- Use a long spoon to stir the coffee.
If you like flavored coffee, consider adding a tablespoon or two of your favorite syrup to the mix. This is where it gets really fun and you can mix and match flavors and try out new combinations every time you make your iced coffee. Hazelnut, chocolate, and vanilla work especially well in iced coffee.
Extra Tips and Tricks for Perfect Iced Coffee
Now that you’ve become your own personal barista and have enjoyed the fruits of your labor, you probably want to hone your craft even more. After all, when you’re the master of your own coffee drinks, you can sip the perfect one anytime the craving strikes. Check out these extra tips to help you out.
- Freeze some of your cold brew into ice cubes and use them to cool your drink. This stops melting plain water ice cubes from watering down your iced coffee.
- For a really decadent iced coffee, place it (along with the ice) into a cocktail shaker, add sweetened condensed milk, and shake well before pouring into a glass.
- Use a bit of your iced coffee in place of bitters in cocktails or use it to bring new life to a glass of lemonade.
- Take your espresso martini to the next level with your cold brew.
Making the perfect glass of iced coffee may take some experimentation and practice, but once you get it right, you’ll be so proud of yourself. Here’s to all the lazy summer days on the patio sipping a homemade cold brew and enjoy a little slice of heaven.
The food section of the Nationofmoms blog has plenty of terrific ideas to see you through the summer and beyond.