Making iced coffee is not as simple as pouring a pot of coffee over ice. If you’ve ever tasted that kind of “iced” coffee, then you’ll know it’s usually a bitter, watery mess.
Fortunately, there are lots of easy ways to brew great iced coffee at home! Below are three of my favorites.
- In a French Press
Brewing iced coffee in a French press is similar to brewing hot coffee; it just takes longer! If you want to try this method, be sure to start it about 12-24 hours before you plan to drink it. Simply double the amount of coffee you would use for a traditional French press, and leave the grounds to steep in the fridge overnight. In the morning, depress the plunger, and pour your coffee concentrate over ice!
The good thing about iced French press coffee is that you already have the perfect, coarsely ground coffee for the job. There are two methods to use for your cold French press, and which you choose depends on how acidic you like for your coffee to be.
If you like a more acidic bite, you can use hot water to “bloom” your grounds first. Blooming simply means wetting the grounds with boiling water and letting them steep that way for about 30-45 seconds before you finish slowly pouring the water into the press. This helps to release more of the flavorful oils present in the grounds, giving your brew more acidity.
For a low-acidity alternative, just swap out the hot water for room temperature. You’ll still get plenty of flavor, but it will have a different and mellower taste.
- Overnight Cold Brew
This is the most popular iced coffee brewing method. I like it because it’s easy to make a large batch of concentrate in one shot (I drink a lot of iced coffee), but you can adjust the amount up or down according to your needs.
The basic recipe is a 1:3 ratio of coarsely ground coffee and filtered cold water. So, for every cup of ground coffee, you’ll use about 3 cups of water. You can make it in any large container (pitcher, plastic bucket, Tupperware bowl…seriously, whatever’s handy), and all you need is time and some cheesecloth!
You’ll pour the grounds into the container and slowly pour your water over them (like the French press method). Then, you give it a good stir (so all the coffee gets wet) and let it steep in the fridge for 24 hours.
The final step is to separate the coffee from the spent grounds, which is why you need the cheesecloth. (You can also use a fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towels, but it’s slightly messier!) Slowly strain the coffee through the cheesecloth into a clean container, and voila! Cold brew concentrate that’s rich, full-bodied, and ready for you to enjoy.
- Japanese-style Pour Over
As with so many other things, the Japanese have their own unique and wonderful iced coffee brewing method. It involves using a pour-over setup to brew a double-strength batch of hot coffee, but the twist is that the brewed coffee is immediately cooled by filling the carafe with ice.
This method is best if you don’t drink a lot of coffee or prefer to have a freshly brewed cup every time. Click here for a detailed brewing guide via Roasty Coffee for specific instructions!
How do you brew? Tell me your favorite way to enjoy your iced coffee in the comments below!