The $30 Gadget That’s Making My Iced Coffee Routine a Million Times Better

published Aug 7, 2021
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Credit: The Cookie Rookie

Iced coffee sounds so simple. (Just coffee on ice, yeah?) But it’s actually a tricky drink! While coffee shops often make iced coffee with coffee that’s brewed at double strength (to account for ice dilution), at home (or, at least at my home) iced coffee is usually just leftover hot coffee that I’ve chilled in the fridge. My system isn’t the best because it requires patience. (Coffee snobs will also tell you that it results in a more acidic and bitter drink, but that’s a talk for for another time.)

If I want iced coffee and only have hot coffee on hand, my only option is to pour it over ice. But then that ice melts, so I add more ice … and wind up with essentially just coffee-flavored water. Which is why I got so excited when I found this gadget from Zoku, which promises to make instant iced coffee.

The Zoku Instant Iced Coffee Maker looks like a regular travel mug, but it’s so much more. It has a removable stainless steel inner core and a BPA-free plastic outer shell, lid, and straw. To use the iced coffee maker, you place the stainless steel inner core in the freezer for eight-plus hours (I just did it overnight). When you have hot coffee you’re ready to turn into iced coffee, you take the inner core out of the freezer, insert it into the plastic outer shell, pour the coffee in, and add the lid and straw. Then, you wait!

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

For how long? And how well does it work? I did some testing to find out!

I started with freshly brewed, hot coffee that was 169°F. After eight minutes in the tumbler, the coffee was at 39°F, and after 12 minutes, it was at 35°F — perfectly drinkable iced coffee temperatures. I loved that the coffee was super cold without any ice and stayed that way as I sipped, with no flavor dilution or that typical watery stuff you get towards the bottom of the cup.

There are a couple of drawbacks. The cup’s actual capacity is about eight ounces, which is a small iced coffee. If you like a lot of coffee, this might not be big enough. The plastic outer shell also gets pretty sweaty during use and I found it to be a little slippery to hold. That said, I think this is a fun gadget for making quick iced coffee (or tea!) at home. And I’ll definitely be keeping the stainless steel inner core in my freezer at all times — so I can have iced coffee whenever the mood strikes.

Are you a hot or iced coffee drinker? Tell us in the comments!