Home » How to make the best iced coffee (Explained)

How to make the best iced coffee (Explained)

Those of us who enjoy our coffee hot and black as hell suffer a bit during the summer. Until the third wave of coffee, the only way to drink it cold was simply to pour the infusion freshly made or cooled on ice.

The result is a watery drink, without the aromatic complexity of coffee, which, to make matters worse, is usually past acidity and bitterness. Fortunately, there are methods to avoid this nonsense that guarantee us a refreshing drink that deserves to be part of the coffee recipe book.

Why Mixing Your Old Coffee with Ice is Not a Good idea

If already ordering an espresso in an unknown place is quite an adventure, ordering it with ice is almost jumping into the void without a parachute. We’re not talking about specialty coffee shops here, of course, we will show you every step and technique to get the perfect drink.

Because coffee is something very simple, and at the same time, extremely complex. There are many factors that intervene in the infusion process, and none should be overlooked: the origin of the beans, the type of roasting, the degree of grinding, the infusion method, the extraction… According to the final result searched, it will be necessary to choose some parameters or others.

If we want to enjoy a cold coffee with ice, with a good flavor, body, and aroma, we cannot simply add a few cubes to our usual drink, be it from an Italian coffee maker or an espresso machine. That is, we can, and many people do it without more, but if we are interested in tasting a quality drink without spoiling those specialty coffee beans that we bother to buy, they deserve better treatment.

The most obvious reason is that it will end up watery. The ice that cools the coffee is water, and when it melts it is diluted in our infusion, diluting at the same time all its flavor and aromas. And if you usually use dark roast coffee, which is highly appreciated in hot espresso, it will leave unpleasant notes when taken cold.

Three ways to make iced coffee without watering it down

Before entering the subject, it is necessary to point out the importance of using good ice. That is, with quality, clean water, frozen in suitable molds without traces of previous aromas or flavors, and in a totally clean freezer. If this is not possible, it is best to purchase professional commercial ice. Also, the larger the cubes, the slower they will melt.

The Easiest: double the coffee

If the coffee is an infusion of ground beans and water, and by adding ice we add more water, a simple solution is to increase the proportion of coffee. There are two ways to do this.

  • With coffee ice cubes. You have to plan a bit to make the first batch of coffee, wait for it to cool, and freeze it in ice buckets, but we can always make a large amount at once. Coffee ice cubes allow you to make other very refreshing beverages as well and are perfect for lovers of coffee with milk. Pouring the milk or cold vegetable drink into a glass filled with these cubes also creates a very striking visual effect.
  • With a shaker. You just have to prepare two espressos and pour them into a shaker where we have deposited a good amount of ice, and the sugar that we like. It shakes very, very well, and pours instantly, achieving a freshly brewed but cold coffee, which also preserves its foam.

Cut the water in half

It’s the same idea, but in reverse, and a technique that will work especially well with filter coffee makers. Also, super-automatic coffee machines, and almost all pods, allow you to adjust the volume of water to be used without affecting the amount of coffee, which is also usually adjustable.

The result will be a much more concentrated coffee, which we will soften when combined with ice. It is advisable to serve it fresh, so the easiest thing is to fill the space where the infusion will already fall with ice. If we use an Italian coffee maker, French press, or an automatic machine, we will put the ice in the glasses.

It is also a good idea to chill the containers in the style of cocktail glasses, stirring a few first ice cubes until they begin to release water, at which time everything is discarded. You have to use new ice to cool the coffee, which can fall directly on them as the infusion takes place.

Prepare a cold brew or cold infusion

The brew cold was the fashionable drink a few years ago, supposedly the great obsession of millennials or hipsters, the report said it was reviewing. Once the initial madness has been overcome, this specific type of coffee is already more than established in specialty coffee shops, also with numerous companies dedicated to its bottled production.

Making a cold brew at home is very simple, but it takes time. This technique is self-explanatory: it consists of cold brewing the coffee. In a process that can last between eight and 24 hours, the drink obtained is surprisingly sweet, smooth, and very aromatic, with very low acidity and not at all bitter. But be careful, it has much more caffeine than an espresso.

Unless we have a coffee maker or device specially designed for this system, we only need to buy the coffee beans and grind them at the moment, leaving a very thick texture. In fact, it should not look like ground, it is convenient to leave thick pieces of grain, like pebbles. If we were to use a medium or fine grind, we would only obtain a coffee passed from extraction, very astringent, undrinkable.

With 250 g of coffee beans, you can infuse 1 liter of water, although this preparation lends itself to making personalized adjustments. You have to mix everything, with water of the season, and leave it in the kitchen or in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours. Once well filtered, the coffee can be diluted in more water or milk, or taken as is, cold from the fridge or by adding ice, as it is so aromatic that it will not water down.

I recommend not adding sugar or sweeteners to iced coffee, as it could also make us drink more than necessary without realizing too much. In the height of summer, it is a refreshing drink that feels great, and we could exceed the recommended amounts of caffeine. It does admit a greater play with different aromas, such as a touch of juice and lemon rind, or even a little tonic, to give it a carbon touch.

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