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Here’s how to make iced coffee at home

Upgrade your home brewing experience with this golden ratio.

Here’s how to make iced coffee at home Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

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As we head into summer and temperatures rise, you might be looking to switch up your morning cup. If you like your coffee hot, then this situation might not bother you much. A kitchen scale, a durable coffee grinder, and a coffee maker of your choice are all you need for the perfect pot. But if you're anything like the people in my neck of the woods (New England) and can't live without your iced coffee, you might have to get more creative.

The most straightforward (and arguably best way) to make iced coffee is to use a cold brew maker, but it takes planning and patience to develop the most nuanced flavors. If you prefer standard coffee to cold brew, there’s still a way to make sure you’re preparing the best cup over ice.

The Specialty Coffee Association has the Golden Cup Standard, which calls for 9 to 11 grams of coffee per every 6 ounces of water. This ratio helps us better understand coffee extraction, which lays the framework for making a strong, flavorful cup, even when it’s ice cold.

After adjusting the water to ice ratio several times, here’s how I learned to make the perfect iced coffee at home.

How to make iced coffee at home (4 cups)

Here's the best way to make iced coffee without watering it down.
Credit: Getty Images / Viennetta

This method can chill your hot coffee drinks without diluting them.

With this drip coffee method, I recommend the ice to water ratio to be in the 35% to 45% range—the more hot water, the better the extraction. I find this ratio creates the smoothest, coolest, and most flavorful coffee that's still chilled. In case you find the coffee still too weak for your taste, you can add more coffee beans at 5-gram intervals to find the sweet spot for the best brew.

If you don’t want to measure everything out when you make coffee every morning, we also like this specialty coffee brewer that tells you exactly how much ice, coffee, and hot water it needs for the perfect brew.

What You Need

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 Tbsp (33 grams) freshly roasted beans or fresh ground coffee
  • 1 1/2 cup (374 grams) water
  • 1 cup (249 grams) ice

Tools:

Time Needed

20 minutes

Difficulty

Easy


Step-by-Step:

Step 1: Prepare the beans

Although we recommend using freshly roasted beans, ground coffee can work as well.
Credit: Reviewed / Valerie Li Stack

Although we recommend using freshly roasted beans, ground coffee can work as well.

Measure 33 grams of freshly roasted coffee beans using a kitchen scale. Then, finely grind the beans using a coffee grinder. To increase extraction for iced coffee, you may want to grind your beans more finely than you normally would for hot drip coffee. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the machine

Insert the paper filter into the brewing head. If your coffee maker has a pre-rinse setting, run it with the paper filter inserted. If not, quickly rinse the paper filter, filter cone, and carafe using hot water. Discard the rinse water.

Step 3: Measure the water and ice

Use a kitchen scale can help you precisely control the strength of your coffee.
Credit: Reviewed / Valerie Li Stack

You can use a kitchen scale to measure the water and ice.

Using a kitchen scale, measure the water and ice. Set aside.

Step 4: Add the ice, coffee grounds, and water

This De'Longhi brewer can tell you how much ice it needs to make the perfect iced coffee.
Credit: Reviewed / Valerie Li Stack

This machine can tell you how much ice it needs to make iced coffee.

Add the measured ice into the carafe and pour the water into the brewing head. Then add the ground coffee into the filter cone.

Step 5: Brew and enjoy!

Enjoy your iced coffee with a splash of milk or cream.
Credit: Reviewed / Valerie Li Stack

Enjoy your iced coffee with a splash of milk or cream.

If you’re using an electric drip coffee maker, simply press the button and wait till your coffee is ready. For the pour over method, boil the measured water. Then slowly pour the hot water into the dripper. Let sit for five minutes and enjoy your coffee!

Alternatively, you can freeze cold coffee into ice cubes for making iced coffee later. By adding coffee cubes into your drink, you’re less likely to end up drinking diluted coffee.

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