4 Ways to Make Iced Coffee

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Nina Nelson)

When the days warm up, it can only mean one thing: iced coffee season.

But what iced coffee method should you be using? There’s always the Pop Some Leftover Brewed Coffee in the Refrigerator method, but maybe this is the summer for stepping up your iced coffee game.

(Image credit: rfong)

The Cold Brew Method

Cold brew is a coffee brewed with cold water. Because you are brewing with cold water, you need a much longer time for the extraction, which is why making a cold brew takes some planning ahead. Brewing in this way is also great for brewing big batches at once. This is helpful if you always want to have a little cold brew on hand, or if you have friends you want to share with. Making a cold brew concentrate is your best bet if you are planning on keeping it in the fridge for a bit, then you can dilute it with a little water when it comes time to serve.

There are a variety of devices out there to help you perfect the cold brew method, but it can also be done with not much more than a large pitcher or mason jar. Combine cold water and grounds and let sit for about 12 hours, then when you’re ready, pour the steeped coffee through a filter, or a strainer lined with cheesecloth, and into another container to get all the grounds out. If you have a nut milk bag on hand, that works wonders as well, and you don’t need to filter out the grounds when you are finished brewing.

→ Good for: When you want to make iced coffee for a crowd.

The French Press Cold Brew Method

This is my preferred method of making iced coffee because of its simplicity. Grind your beans, add cold water, and let infuse in a French press overnight. Then the next day you plunge, pour over ice, and voila, tasty cold brew.

You can play with the ratio of coffee beans to water depending on how strong you want your cold brew, or if you want a cold brew concentrate that you will dilute with water when you serve it.

→ Good for: When you want a simple cold brew.

(Image credit: counterculturecoffee)

The Japanese Iced Coffee Method

The Japanese have a robust coffee culture, and many of the coffee world’s favorite coffee accoutrement are made by Japanese brands, like Kalita and Hario. So it should come as no surprise that they know a thing or two about brewing iced coffee. The idea with this brew method is to brew the coffee and chill it right away, which can be done by doing a pour-over over ice. A lot of coffee lovers argue that this makes the best iced coffee, as cooling the coffee right away helps to keep all its aromatics. Here is a great instructional video to get you started.

→ Good for: When you want to geek out on your iced coffee brew method.

(Image credit: jamieanne)

Used Coffee Iced Cubes

This isn’t a brew method, but a little tip for keeping your iced coffee nice and strong. If you don’t want to dilute your iced coffee, consider making ice cubes out of coffee. This way, as your ice cubes melt, you’re only getting more coffee.

Happy iced coffee season!