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The best part of waking up is that first hot cup of coffee in the morning. But when the afternoon rolls around, I’m ready to ice down my favorite drink and add a little sweetness. I almost always have at least one cup of coffee that I didn’t get the chance to finish drinking while it was still hot. It’s one of the side effects of parenting. So, I’ll just add a bit of milk, sugar, a few ice cubes, and, voila! A mundane, tepid cup of coffee is transformed into delicious iced coffee.
However, if you don’t happen to have any cold, leftover coffee handy, is it possible to make iced coffee with hot coffee?
You can make iced coffee with hot coffee. The main problem with this method is that your ice will quickly melt. This can leave you with a coffee drink that tastes watered down and isn’t quite cold either. To prevent a watery cup of coffee, you can use coffee ice cubes to cool down your hot coffee. Or, you can choose to make your iced coffee with leftover coffee or cold brew concentrate instead.
We’ll give you the best methods for icing down your coffee and let you in on how to make the tastiest iced coffee flavor out there.
How to Make the Best Iced Coffee
You can make a yummy iced coffee drink out of hot coffee, leftover coffee, or cold brew coffee. And we’ll show you how! There are pros and cons to each method, so we’ll go through each one so you can decide which works best for you.
Making Iced Coffee with Hot Coffee
Some coffee machines are blessed with an iced coffee option. These machines can extract your coffee and keep it cool. However, if your machine doesn’t have this option, you can brew your coffee hot, and then ice it down. You’ll have to take a few steps backward to go forward, but all will be well that ends well.
The Espresso Machine
If you have an espresso machine, this can be perfect for making iced coffee. Espresso is made using a quick brew method. It doesn’t reach the same high temperatures as a drip coffee, and it also comes out stronger than your average cup of joe. This means that your brew is less likely to become watery when poured over ice. It is also one of the fastest methods for making iced coffee using hot coffee.
To make an iced coffee with espresso as a base, here are the steps to follow:
- First, you will want to pull your shot.
- If you use sweetener, add it to your espresso, and stir it in until it is dissolved.
- Using a shaker, shake your espresso with ice to cool it off.
- Fill a cup with milk.
- Then pour your sweetened shot over the top of your glass.
Your espresso will filter down into your drink, making a delicious and Instagram-worthy iced coffee.
The espresso brew method is perfect if you are making iced coffee for one or two people. However, if you are planning to make iced coffee for a crowd, a drip coffee maker may be a better option.
A Drip Coffee Maker
There are pros and cons of using hot drip coffee to make iced coffee.
On the downside, you will have to wait for the brew to heat up. Then, you will have to wait for the brew to cool down. If you add regular ice to your drip brew you will get a watery coffee.
However, there are a few positives. By brewing coffee at higher temperatures, you can extract some great flavors out of your bean, and your sweetener will melt better into a hot brew than a cold brew.
Here are some tips for making the best iced coffee out of drip coffee:
- You can take a page out of Dunkin’ Donuts’ book and double-brew your coffee to make iced coffee. We’re not suggesting you literally pour your coffee over fresh grounds and brew it a second time, though. This could block up your machine, and also, who wants to wait for your coffee maker to run two cycles?
- To make double-brew coffee you will want to add about twice as many grounds to your filter basket as usual. This way you get that nice full coffee flavor that can hold its own when you add ice and milk.
- After the brew cycle is finished, add sugar (or your sweetener of choice) to the pot while it is still hot. This ensures that your sweetener will mix evenly into your brew. Then add your milk and pour your coffee mix into individual glasses so your brew will cool off faster. (Don’t forget to leave room for ice!)
- Wait until your coffee is close to room temperature before adding ice so your glasses don’t crack from a sudden temperature change.
Pro tip: Coffee ice cubes can be a lifesaver when making iced coffee out of hot coffee. You don’t have to worry about these affecting the flavor if they melt into your brew!
Whipped Iced Instant Coffee
Whipped instant coffee uses so little hot water that you shouldn’t have to worry about your ice melting into your coffee at all! This method is basically an inverted version of a cold foam iced coffee. You’ll have your ice and milk on the bottom and coffee foam on top. The coffee foam will slowly melt down into your milk for a yummy and very strong drink.
To make whipped coffee, you will need equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and hot water. Use about 2 tablespoons of each. Whip these 3 ingredients together with a hand mixer or whisk until it forms peaks. Then pour this coffee foam over your iced milk. This simple and tasty drink packs in the energy!
Using Your Leftover Coffee
Sometimes you brew more coffee than you can drink. Reheating this brew can cause your coffee to become over-extracted and taste bitter or burned. However, the frugal streak that runs in my blood makes it hard for me to throw out something as good as coffee.
Instead of reheating your cup of coffee and compromising its flavor, there are alternative ways to use it. You can use leftover coffee to make iced coffee or turn it into coffee ice cubes.
To make coffee ice cubes, let your coffee cool down and pour it into regular ice cube trays. Keep these cubes on hand for when you make iced coffee!
Making Iced Coffee with Leftover Coffee
Leftover coffee won’t be as strong as espresso or double-brewed coffee. So you may end up with a weaker-tasting coffee flavor once you add in ice and milk. However, assuming your leftover coffee has already cooled off, you don’t have to worry about your ice melting into your brew as quickly.
To make iced coffee out of leftover coffee, add your favorite sweetener and milk. A syrup will mix in much better with room temperature coffee than sugar will. You can check out our recipe below for how to make a delicious iced coffee drink.
Cold Brew Coffee
If time is no issue, a cold brew coffee can make a delicious iced coffee. The drawbacks to this method are that you will need several hours to steep your cuppa, and you will need to use twice the amount of coffee grounds. This means you will run out of coffee faster. However, the resulting brew will be less acidic, will have a nice rich flavor, and can also pack in more caffeine than your regular drip coffee.
To make a cold brew:
- Use a measuring cup to measure out about 1 1/2 cups of coffee to 3 cups of cold water in a mason jar.
- Let the brew steep overnight (or at least 12 hours) in your refrigerator. You don’t want to steep your coffee past 24 hours as it may become over-extracted.
- Use a cheesecloth (or french press) to strain the grounds out of your coffee concentrate. This will stop the steeping process.
- You can add milk or water to this base when you are ready to drink it.
The Best Iced Coffee Recipe
We’ve shared our methods for making iced coffee using hot coffee, leftover coffee, and cold brew. And now, we’ll share our iced coffee recipe tips that will showcase your barista skills, wow your friends, and will make iced coffee your new addiction (if it isn’t already).
- To add to the flavor and aesthetic of your iced coffee, add a sugar rim to your glass. Simply wet the rim of your tall glass and then dip it into a saucer filled with sugar.
- Pop your empty glass into the freezer 30 minutes in advance. The cold glass will help cool down your coffee even faster to give you an ice-cold pick-me-up.
The Coffee Grounds:
- If you are using drip coffee, brew your coffee using up to twice the amount of coffee grounds as your regular brew.
- Freshly ground coffee beans will give you the best flavor.
- Instead of sugar, try using syrup in your iced coffee. Maple syrup, agave syrup, simple syrup, or a flavored coffee syrup will combine nicely with coffee flavors. Syrups will also mix in easier with room temperature or cold brew coffee.
- Use 1-2 tablespoons of sweetener per cup according to taste.
- You can also try sweetened condensed milk for a Vietnamese-style iced coffee.
- Pour your coffee into a carafe leaving enough room to add milk. Fill the carafe with 2 parts brewed coffee to 1 part milk. You can adjust this ratio depending on whether you like a stronger or lighter coffee flavor.
- If you aren’t counting calories, use half-and-half or your favorite coffee creamer instead of milk for a rich and creamy dessert coffee.
- For a dairy-free drink, almond milk can be a tasty choice.
Topping it off:
- To add that extra coffee shop touch, you can whip up a cold foam to top off this tasty iced coffee recipe.
I drink my iced coffee with double-brewed coffee, milk, and a splash (or more) of half-and-half, maple syrup, and iced coffee cubes. The options are open, though, so you do you!
What’s the difference between an iced latte and an iced coffee?
An iced latte uses espresso as its base while many coffee drinkers use drip coffee or a pour-over brew method to make iced coffee. Also, many baristas will froth cold milk for an iced latte, while the milk in iced coffee is not frothed.
Can I drink day-old Starbucks coffee?
As long as your Starbucks coffee has been left in the fridge, it should be fine to drink it the next day as iced coffee. However, if your Starbucks coffee contains milk and has been sitting out all afternoon, it may be a lost cause. The FDA warns against consuming perishable food items after they have been left out at room temperature for over 2 hours.
Can I store cold brew in a mason jar?
Yes, you can store cold brew coffee in an air-tight container such as a mason jar. Make sure the lid is tightened securely so your brew doesn’t go stale. Cold brew concentrate can generally last in your refrigerator for up to one week before losing its flavor.
Iced coffee is a delicious treat that is good all year round. Although coffee drinkers may have different methods for making this beverage, most agree that this drink is addicting! You can vary your iced coffee recipe by trying out different syrups and milk options. Let us know your favorite way to drink iced coffee in the comments section below.
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