How To Make the Best Iced Coffee

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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It's hot. The kind of hot that makes you not even want to go outside. The kind of hot that makes you consider a mesh top as work-appropriate attire. It's OK though. I got your chill pill. It's a cold brew French press recipe that makes the best iced coffee, and it can be your new morning breeze.

If you are determined to kick the coffee shop habit and make your own iced coffee at home, flavored the way you like it, strong and heady and above all cold, I'm here to help. Here is how you make the best iced coffee you've ever had. 

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Let's get one thing out of the way: Great iced coffee is not had by plunking ice cubes into a glass of hot coffee. Not at all. If you've ever tried that, you know that the coffee is immediately diluted by all that ice, and it never achieves true chilly nirvana. 

Instead, the best iced coffee is made by changing the coffee brewing process itself. Instead of using hot coffee, fresh from the pot or the French press, I make a cold-brewed coffee, steeped and chilled overnight in a French press. It emerges from the refrigerator extra-cold and extra-strong, ready to be diluted just a little by your ice and milk. 

As you may imagine, making a cold-brew French press means using cold water. It also means more time, as the coffee grounds need more time to steep. But this extra time and cold-brew process also means a more delicate flavor and a less bitter finish. 

This is how many coffee shops make their iced coffee, that stuff you crave this time of year. They make an extra-strong, extra-smooth cold-steeped brew that is just as good as hot coffee, but in its own special way. 

Here's how to get all that cold specialness at home, for lots less money, and finished however you like. 

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Speaking of a finish, I always enjoy adding a final ingredient or two to the French pressed brew. Try sea salt, try caramel, try chocolate sauce or fudge (or heck try them all at once).  It's hot out there, remember — your day deserves a sweet beginning.

How to Make a Cold Brew French Press

adapted from NYTimes

Makes 1 drink

What You Need

Ingredients

1/3 cup whole coffee beans
1 1/2 cups cold water, preferably filtered
Ice, to taste
Milk, to taste
Sweeteners such as flavored syrups, caramel, or melted chocolate, optional

Equipment
Coffee grinder
French press

Instructions

  1. Grind the coffee beans: Grind 1/3 cup of coffee beans until they are coarse enough to be filtered by the French press, yet fine enough to infuse well. On my burr grinder, I grind right in between middle and fine.

  2. Combine the ground coffee and water in the French press: Pour the ground coffee into the French press and top with 1 1/2 cups of water.

  3. Stir to incorporate: Gently stir the coffee with the water until well blended.

  4. Put on French press lid: Make sure the plunger is in the up position.

  5. Place the French press in the refrigerator and steep overnight: Leave the plunger in the up position so the grounds infuse the water overnight.

  6. Plunge to separate the coffee from the grounds: The next morning, plunge the French press to separate the coffee from the grounds. 

  7. Make your iced coffee: Fill a glass with ice cubes and fill partway with milk. Fill the rest of the glass with iced coffee. Stir to combine and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Large Batch Iced Coffee: If you have a larger French press, you can make a larger batch of iced coffee using the same ratio of ground coffee to water. Plunge and transfer any unused coffee to a new container. Iced coffee can be kept refrigerated for about a week.

  • Iced Coffee Variations: If you have a sweet tooth like me, you may want to stir in a spoonful of cajeta caramel or chocolate fudge. Sea salt or cinnamon also make a nice touch.

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(Images: Chris Perez)

Per serving, based on 2 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
112
Fat
0.3 g (0.4%)
Saturated
0.1 g (0.4%)
Carbs
20.3 g (6.8%)
Fiber
5.1 g (20.5%)
Sugars
0.7 g
Protein
7.9 g (15.7%)
Sodium
12.5 mg (0.5%)