How To Make the Best Iced Coffee in a Hurry

How To Make the Best Iced Coffee in a Hurry

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Meghan Splawn
Jun 1, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

There are several great ways to make iced coffee in advance (like Starbucks-style cold brew), but what about when you want — no, need — a cup of iced coffee as soon as possible? Iced coffee in a hurry is here to help.

This iced coffee is made by making a quick pour over (don't fret — you won't need a fancy Chemex) directly over ice. With a simple setup and a few key preparations, you can have a cup of the best iced coffee in a matter of minutes. Here's how to do it.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Yes, You Can Make Iced Coffee in a Hurry

This method for quick-chilling brewed coffee is sometimes called iced pour over or Japanese-style iced coffee. Here's how it works: Part of the water used for brewing is subbed for ice, and the coffee is brewed directly onto that ice. Hot water poured over the ground coffee coaxes out much of the fats and oils that carry flavor in coffee, but rapidly cooling prevents oxidation of the coffee — preventing the funky flavor you get from hot brewed coffee that sits too long at room temperature.

Here's what you'll really love about this technique, though: It takes just five minutes to make a very, very delicious cup of iced coffee. And you don't need any special equipment.

What You'll Need for Iced Coffee in a Hurry

Besides coffee beans, water, and ice, you'll also need a pour-over setup for brewing this iced coffee. There are two ways you can do this: one with items already in your kitchen, and another with a few inexpensive tools you might want anyway.

  • Pour-over setup: For one to two cups of coffee, I love this ceramic pour-over cone from Amazon. You'll also need its matching filters. This setup should be less than $20 and you can use it over and over again — it is perfect for single-serve cups of hot coffee, too.
  • Strainer setup: If you've got a small strainer that will hold a coffee filter, use it! This hacky setup works just as well as the pour-over setup, even if it doesn't look quite as cool.

With either brewing setup, you'll want to make sure the strainer or cone sits comfortably on a cup or pitcher that holds about two cups of ice and the brewed coffee. A glass measuring cup works well for this.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Key Steps for Best Iced Coffee

  • Use the right grind. For this pour-over coffee, use a fine grind like you would for drip coffee (as opposed to the coarser grind we call for in cold brew coffee).
  • Boil and cool the hot water. Bring the water for brewing to a boil — an electric kettle is ideal for this — and then cool the water slightly before pouring over.
  • Brew slowly over 4 minutes. Here's how the actual brewing process goes: Pour a little of the water onto the coffee and let it brew for about a minute. Then slowly pour the remaining water over the coffee after about three minutes. Anytime the coffee bubbles up and threatens to spill over the cone, stop pouring.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Serving Speedy Iced Coffee

Once the coffee is brewed, there may still be bits of ice floating in the finished brew, you can strain these out if you want or simply pour the now-chilled coffee over ice. This is iced coffee you want to drink right away, so get busy drinking it (and adding your new favorite coffee creamer) rather than storing it in the fridge.

How To Make Iced Coffee - Pour-Over Method

Makes 2 (6 ounce) drinks ; serves 2

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces

    hot water (195°F to 200°F)

  • 2 ounces

    whole bean coffee, about 1/4 cup

  • 7 ounces

    ice, about 2 cups, plus more for serving

  • Equipment
  • Coffee grinder

  • Kettle or electric kettle

  • Heatproof pitcher

  • Pour-over cone and filters OR small strainer and coffee filters

  • Scale

Instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil. Boil the water in a small saucepan over medium heat or quickly bring to a boil in an electric kettle. Remove from the heat and cool while preparing the rest of the coffee. The goal is water between 195°F and 200°F for making the coffee.

  2. Prepare the pour over set up. Prepare the filter by folding to fit the cone, put the filter in the cone, and rinse with clean water. Discard this water. Put the ice in a pitcher and put the cone on top. Alternatively, you can set a strainer over a measuring cup filled with the ice and line the strainer with a coffee filter.

  3. Grind the coffee and put into the filter. Grind the coffee as you would for drip coffee, about the coarseness of granulated sugar.

  4. Brew the coffee. Pour a small amount of the hot water over the coffee and "wet/bloom" the grounds for 1 minute. Pour the remaining water over slowly in circles; the total brew time will be about 4 minutes.

  5. Strain the chilled coffee over more ice and enjoy. Use a cocktail strainer to strain the coffee onto fresh ice (this is really just to remove the last bits of diluted ice, so don’t aim for perfect straining).

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