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16 Jun 2022

How to make iced coffee (with and without an iced coffee maker)

Iced coffee is delicious and easy to make, whether you use our simple iced coffee recipe or trust your drink to an iced coffee maker

High street coffee shops are awash with cold coffee drinks from Frappuccino to cold brew coffee, but if you’re not keen on paying over the odds for your chilled caffeine fix, you might be tempted to try making your own.

Iced coffee is essentially just cold coffee and ice, and it’s a doddle to make. Here we explain two different methods for how to make iced coffee: with and without the help of a machine.


Read Best coffee machines for 2022 to find out which coffee machines we recommend.


How to make iced coffee with an iced coffee maker

Breville Iced+Hot coffee maker

A large collection of images displayed on this page are available at https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/how-to-make-iced-coffee-aZOo15M4qFvm

We recently tried out the Breville Iced+Hot (typical price £65), a coffee maker that quickly cools concentrated hot-brewed coffee over ice for a “flavorful iced coffee that’s never watered down”, according to Breville. You can also use it to make hot coffee.

Here’s how to make iced coffee, step by step, using the Breville Iced+Hot:

  1. Fill the machine’s water reservoir with water.
  2. Place the reusable coffee filter (included) or a standard five-cup basket-style paper filter into the brew basket.
  3. Using the supplied coffee scoop, pour one to two scoops of ground coffee (depending on your strength preferece) into the reusable coffee filter and close the lid. We noticed that the machine uses a larger amount of coffee to make an iced coffee than it does a hot coffee, presumably to counteract the dilution caused by the ice.
  4. Fill the supplied tumbler with large ice cubes to the ‘ice’ marking. Place it under the brew spout and and press the button with the iced coffee graphic on it, ensuring that it illuminates on pressing.
  5. Your coffee is dispensed within three to four minutes. 'Add in your favourite coffee mix-ins for coffee just how you like it', says Breville. It doesn’t suggest what these might be, but milk and sugar, coffee syrups, maple syrup or even some whipped cream are all delicious options if you’re not watching your waistline.

Breville Iced+Hot coffee maker pros and cons

So, it sounds simple to use, but is this iced coffee maker the right choice for you? Read our full Breville Iced+Hot review and these pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros

  • Convenient You don’t have to wait for your coffee to cool before you add the rest of your ingredients.
  • Consistent coffee The pre-measured scoop makes it easy to nail your perfect water-to-coffee ratio and replicate it consistently.
  • Accessories included Handy accessories such as an insulated tumbler are included.

Cons

  • Storage At 36.5cm x 29.5cm x 18.7cm it’s a small coffee machine, but you’ll still need to find a spot for it on your counter or in your kitchen cupboard.
  • Cleaning You’ll need to regularly clean and descale your machine for best results.
  • Expensive for what it is You can make iced coffee just fine without an iced coffee maker.
  • No milk frothing You'll have to buy a separate frother if you prefer a milky iced coffee.

Read the Breville Iced+Hot review to get our full First Look verdict on this machine.


How to make iced coffee without an iced coffee maker

You can also make perfectly good iced coffee without a machine - or even a cafetiere. In fact, our favourite iced coffee recipe is super simple and uses instant coffee instead of ground coffee, so you don’t even need to wait for the coffee to brew.

Not sure which instant coffee to buy? See our round-up of the best instant coffee.

  1. Mix some of your favourite instant coffee (roughly 1 tbsp, depending on desired strength) with a small amount of boiling water (and sugar, if you like) in a tall glass. Add a little boiling water and stir. Basically you’re making a small amount of really potent instant coffee, using boiling water to dissolve it.
  2. Fill the glass up to about halfway with cold water.
  3. Add lots of ice and then top up with milk.

If you prefer to use ground coffee rather than instant, you can use a cafetiere or a coffee machine to brew the coffee and allow it to go cold before you top up with milk.

If you're using brewed coffee, try making it the night before. Chill in the fridge overnight and it'll be ready to go when you are.


Try these easy iced coffee recipes, using portable coffee makers including the Aeropress Go and Bodum Travel Press.


Five iced coffee questions, answered

We've answered some of the most common questions people have about making their own iced coffee.

What's the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in room temperature water for at least six hours. The lack of heat is said to produce a smoother, less acidic-tasting coffee.

You can try making your own cold brew coffee by soaking ground coffee in water for 24 hours. Strain and use in your iced coffee recipe for a different flavour.

Can you make iced coffee using Nespresso coffee?

Yes, you can use Nespresso coffee to make iced coffee but if you're using espresso and milk, technically, you'd be making an iced latte rather than an iced coffee.

Nespresso has recently released Barista Creations iced coffee pods, a range of coffee pods specifically intended making iced coffees. 

Can you use a milk frother for iced coffee?

Diluting a cold espresso with milk and topping it off with cold foam turns regular coffee into a delicious iced latte.

We've tested popular electric milk frothers from Aldi, Dualit, Lavazza, Nespresso and more, to see which could create the most voluminous and creamy froth the fastest.  We also compared a handheld electric whisk from Ikea and a cafetiere to see whether the froth from these cheaper alternatives stood up against the big-brand electric frothers.

If you're investing in a milk frother with the idea of making your own cold drinks, do check that your choice of frother has a cold milk frothing function as not all do.

Discover which milk frothers impressed us by visiting our Best milk frothers page. 

How can you stop iced coffee going watery?

Unless you're using an iced coffee maker, achieving your perfect balance of coffee and water might take some practice. Adding ice can quickly change the coffee-to-water ratio, so you need to factor this into your personal preferences, too.

To stop your iced coffee going watery too quickly, reduce the amount of ice you're using, forgo ice altogether or make your own iced coffee ice cubes using cold coffee.

Can you make iced coffee in a blender?

More advanced blenders sometimes have an ice crush setting for making cold smoothies or frozen drinks. If you blend your iced coffee, you'll turn it into a frappe, a coffee slushy.

But before you give it a go, make sure that your blender is suitable for crushing ice - if it isn't you'll risk blunting the blades.

You can also blend your iced coffee using your NutriBullet. A post on the NutriBullet blog explains that ice should only take up about a quarter of the cup though - don't overload your machine and make sure that the pieces you're using are no larger than 2cm cubed.


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