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Iced coffee time

Iced coffee topped with milk foam (Credit: Wikipedia)

Iced coffee topped with milk foam (Credit: Wikipedia)

Many years ago I used to go to a little lunch spot in Denver where I didn’t really like the food but loved the iced coffee. It had such a rich, roasted flavor but very little in the way of acidity or bitterness. The trick, they told me, was to cold brew the coffee.

It’s very easy. You mix freshly ground coffee with about four times as much water (by volume), stir well and stick it in the fridge overnight. The next day you strain the coffee and dilute it to taste. Chill this mixture very well before adding any ice.

That’s it. I like to use spring water, which gives it a clean flavor.

This iced coffee is really a treat if you mix it with some milk and top it with a cap of milk foam. (We’ve got a handy-dandy frother called the “Aeroccino,” which is made by Nespresso.)

Are there other iced coffee fans out there? Do you make it at home, or go out for it?

44 comments Add your comment


June 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

aurora in L5P makes a rockin iced americano. Their trick is to add the room temp water and then the ice so not to shock the espresso. MARGE RULES!

Angela Frechette

June 30th, 2010
12:50 pm

When I lived up north, I loved Dunkin’s iced coffee, but they seem to have a really hard time getting it right down here. I make my coffee at home with my Senseo machine, and when I want it iced, I pop it in the fridge for awhile after making it then pour it over ice – voila!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erica Endicott and John Kessler. John Kessler said: Iced coffee time [...]


June 30th, 2010
12:58 pm

I’ve tried the cold brewing before, but never found a good straining method. How do you strain yours without making a crazy mess? And how long will this keep in the fridge?


June 30th, 2010
1:01 pm

Atlanta Coffee Roasters cold brew their iced coffee and puts coffee ice cubes to keep it chilled. Brilliant. Among the best iced coffee I’ve had.


June 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

I just brew extra in the morning, put it in the fridge to enjoy later. Love it!

jack trent

June 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

Vietnamese coffee is the best. DRINK IT


June 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

I am with Angela…for some reason, Dunkin’s down here just isn’t the same! I often make coffee at home, keep it in the fridge until I am ready to drink it, and then add the ice. Then, it doesn’t become water logged from advanced icing. Splash of 1/2 and 1/2, no sugar. Cheers!


June 30th, 2010
1:41 pm

Don’t forget to start with a high quality, freshly roasted, coffee, otherwise it’ll just be cold drek.


June 30th, 2010
2:00 pm

How could you do it with Nespresso coffee. That’s the only kind of coffee I know how to make. Should I bust open the capsules and do the same? I like the idea of making coffee ice cubes.

Mark C.

June 30th, 2010
2:05 pm

I do a 5:1 water to coffee (by volume) ratio or about 10g/2TB/1 oz of coffee to 5 oz. of water. I either do it in a plastic pitcher and then strain it with a fine-mesh strainer -or- I use a french press if I’m making a smaller amount (ours holds about 24oz of water). We then add water to taste–sometimes 1:1 ratio, sometimes less.

It’s a staple in New Orleans; there you can buy the coffee concentrate in the store and simply add cold water. We also use this recipe in the winter and just heat the coffee with water in the microwave; saves time in terms of having to grind, heat water, steep, etc….

I followed the instructions in this NYT article from last year:


June 30th, 2010
2:47 pm


June 30th, 2010
2:49 pm

I love iced coffee and drink it cold more than hot in the summer. Years ago I learned from Martha Stewart Living the trick of saving my leftover coffee and pouring into ice cube trays so that my iced coffee doesn’t get diluted. I pop them out of the trays and store them in a ziploc bag.
I don’t do anything special to make iced coffee; I just let the pot cool (we use organic French Roast beans, ground every morning), add coffee cubes and splash of half and half. I even have a cold drink tumbler from Starbucks for my iced coffee.
Generally, I find that leftover coffee that sits in the fridge for more than a few hours starts to taste bitter. I don’t like to drink it that way, but for coffee cubes it is fine.


June 30th, 2010
3:13 pm

Make a pot of coffee (Bustelo, Santo Domingo, Cafe Britt) and once it cools down stick it in the fridge til morning – love the idea of the ice cubes – some milk w/vanilla in it and it is great. And yes miss the Dunkin Donuts from the northeast!!!

Voice of Reason

June 30th, 2010
3:45 pm

Ahhhh…… Dunkin Donuts coffee ….Providence, RI.

Husband even has a pic of himself & the ‘Time to make the donuts’ guy (RIP) standing outside DD near our college campus. Hilarious.

Oh yeah, and, you strain it with WHAT?


June 30th, 2010
4:03 pm

Toddy Cold Brewer is sold at San Fransicso Coffee.

Leftover Coffee Man

June 30th, 2010
4:19 pm

I add a little chocolate syrup to my iced coffee (or kahlua or chocolate liquore if it’s the weekend) and a few teaspoons of sugar.

74 Dawg

June 30th, 2010
4:22 pm

mmmiced- use a French Press. You can get one at most coffee shops, they’re not expensive. You can use it to make regular hot coffee also,with no paper filter changing the taste.


June 30th, 2010
4:35 pm

What grind do you recommend – coarse or fine? I’d assume french-press level coarse … right?

Wired & True

June 30th, 2010
4:43 pm

Rev on Spring Road in Smyrna (& on Saturday mornings at the Sandy Springs Farmer’s Market) has iced coffee that will make you slap John Kessler if not yo mama. It’s that good. It’s better than anything at the corporate coffee mega-chains and has some good nosh, too. Some of the nicest baristas in town, also. Just go!


June 30th, 2010
4:44 pm

A certain praise is rather self promoting and quite hypocritical.


June 30th, 2010
4:51 pm

Thai Iced Coffee is the best.


June 30th, 2010
5:00 pm

Murphy’s. They use coffee ice cubes so that as the ice melts the coffee doesn’t get diluted, their iced cappuccino is the way to go.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stephan Bral, coffeetag. coffeetag said: [delicious] Make iced coffee at home the right way | Food and More with John Kessler [...]

true that

June 30th, 2010
5:59 pm

Rev is indeed an excellent iced coffee purveyor

Ramona Clef

June 30th, 2010
6:02 pm

Yall are so fancy! I use what’s left after my morning pot. Ice, skim milk, something sweet, voila!


June 30th, 2010
7:29 pm

I’m heading up to Fall River, Mass next month with the other half to spend time with his family. I’m sure our first stop will be at Dunkin’ Donuts for an iced coffee. He’s turned me on to it. They make it up north to serve it iced. They even have the instructions to make it at home on little tear pads laying on the counter.


June 30th, 2010
8:25 pm

I bought a Toddy cold brew system at PJ’s in New Orleans. Well worth it.

Quint in ATL

June 30th, 2010
8:43 pm

I use coffee ice cube, too, that way the coffee doesn’t dilute when the ice melts. I have found it is best to fill the ice trays to about half-full and have a couple of trays on hand. I put everything in the fridge overnight including my insulated travel tumbler. It last’s so much longer and tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the average coffee shop.


June 30th, 2010
9:38 pm

Mark C, posting at 2:05, I saved that recipe from the NYT and tried it – truly wonderful!

Innocent Bystander

June 30th, 2010
9:38 pm

I brew my coffee twice as strong, then fill half of my pot with ice cubes. The ice melts and it brings the concentration down to a normal level, then I stick it in the fridge for awhile. Once it’s cold I sometimes put flavored creamer/sweetener (hazelnut international delight is a good one) and serve it over ice.


June 30th, 2010
10:03 pm

I have been making the coffee concentrate by cold brew for a few years. I found the recipe online and it is called “Iced Storm”. Great secret is to use Cafe DuMonde (coffee with chickory) to have added layers of flavor. And to give it a great flavor, add Amarula Liqueur from South Africa. Like Baileys Irish Cream but not so sweet. I keep the concentrate in the fridge , pour over ice in a tall glass. Delicious.


June 30th, 2010
10:29 pm

I occasionally buy the caramel or vanilla flavored Starbucks drinks in the little bottles at the grocery store and have found it pretty easy to make them myself. Using the same bottle and lid, I pour in hot coffee to about 1/4″ above the green Starbucks logo. I then put in 4 teaspoons of sugar and swirl it around to dissolve. Next I add half and half to raise the level to where it would normally be if you bought it already made. I then add two good splashes of vanilla. For the caramel I use a syrup I found at Sam’s Club (using two good splashes of that). I put the cap on and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. My family says they are as good as or better then the Starbucks brand. Only concern is they won’t last as long as the store bought and should be used within a few days. =)


July 1st, 2010
7:55 am

I just use 2x as much coffee as I would for hot coffee. While its hot I mix in sugar, then add milk and ice cubes to bring the temp down. Delish!


July 1st, 2010
8:38 am

Brings to mind the time, over 10 years ago, where I ordered an iced coffee at my hometown donut shop. Lady looked at me like I was crazy. “You want COFFEE?” “With ICE in it?”. *sigh*

I’ve been meaning to try the home cold press method (without buying yet another kitchen gadget) for years but would also like guidance on the best/least messy straining method. Ditto on the leftover-coffee-for-ice-cubes-and-iced coffee method at Casa MissV. It works fine in a pinch. I also use the chilled leftover coffee for milkshakes, or to pour over vanilla ice cream. My favorite, properly prepared iced coffees in town are Dancing Goats (they even do it right at their Peachtree Road Farmers Market booth Saturday mornings!), San Francisco Coffee and Rise-n-Dine (where they’ll even give you free refills – breakfast bliss!).


July 1st, 2010
11:01 am

San Francisco Coffee has delicious ice brewed coffee.


July 1st, 2010
11:16 am

Yeah, San Fran Coffee’s iced coffee is the best. I take mine with a splash of soy. quite addictive. And they sell the brewers for it.


July 1st, 2010
5:30 pm

I am a huge fan of the Toddy Cold Brew System, I like to describe it as, coffee that tastes like it smells. It is so smooth and delicious, it has no bitter flavor and doesn’t upset my stomach because it has 67% less acid than the hot brew method. I too like to make cold brewed coffee ice cubes to keep the coffee cold without it becoming watered down. The Toddy website has lots of great recipes you can try using the the Toddy Concentrate, including desserts, breads, and even meat dishes, It’s great!

Ford's poppa

July 2nd, 2010
10:34 am

The best iced coffee I ever had was at a diner (whose name I cannot remember) on Pawley’s Island, but a close second is the iced coffee at PJs. Wish the PJs coffee shops had survived here in Atlanta.


July 2nd, 2010
5:07 pm

The system we use is called the Filtron. I found it at Star Provisions. It looks pretty similar to the Toddy Cold Brew System mentioned above. It is wonderful coffee, and the concentrate keeps for 3 months (not that it has ever lasted that long) in the fridge. It can even be made into hot coffee from the concentrate if you want. This is the way they make iced coffee at Star Provisions so if interested, you can check it out.


July 5th, 2010
10:19 pm

Jack Trent is right on. Vietnamese iced coffee (ca phe sua da) is the best iced coffee drink, period. Rich, deep, strong, sweet, silky, creamy… I want one right now, but it’s 10 at night. I’ll have to wait until morning.

Anyway, to make it properly, you need a Vietnamese coffee brewer (google it) and Vietnamese coffee, preferably Trung Nguyen. Both can be purchased at the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market, if you’re in the Atlanta area. While you’re there, get some sweetened condensed milk. I find the fat-free stuff works fine, but if you want max indulgence then go for the real deal. Put about 3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a rocks glass. It should come 1/2 – 3/4 inch up the side of the glass. Unscrew the top filter from the inside of the brewer, and put a generous 2 Tbsp coffee in the bottom of the brewer. Gently tap it to distribute evenly, then screw the top filter back into the brewer, gently compressing the grinds. You want firm pressure, but not hard pressure. Pour in about a Tbsp of water to let the grounds swell a bit. Place the brewer on the rocks glass and, once the water has absorbed fully, fill with boiling (anything over 185 degrees) water. Place the lid on top to keep the water hot, and wait about 5-10 minutes, or as long as it takes all the water to go through. Stir the milk and coffee together until fully mixed, the coffee should be the color of lightly tanned leather. Pour over ice, stir until cold, then try to restrain yourself from just chugging it down all in one greedy go.


July 14th, 2010
4:28 pm

Go to Mighty Joe Coffee in Tucker for the BEST iced coffee!!! Ask for a Japenese drip iced coffee. Mmmmmmmmmm!!!!

Monica Ricci

July 17th, 2010
2:16 pm

That’s how they do it at The Funky Monkey, a cute new place some friends of mine opened in the Irwin Street Market just off Boulevard & Freedom Parkway. The King of Pops sells out of there, as well as Jake’s Ice Cream and Candi’s Cafe. (It’s a co-op space)

The Funky Monkey has an iced coffee drink I believe they call a Mint Chocolate Chimp which tastes just like a icy cold Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint. Mmmmm… now I want one.

Some Like It Hot

August 2nd, 2010
12:00 pm

Iced Coffee?!?! THAT SOUNDS HORRIBLE! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of something like this? BTW, the best coffee is totally Chock Full ‘o Nuts brand. I make mine every morning using enough water, and a coffee maker. Sometimes, though, I feel lazy and just go out for some Sbucks. It’s like crack… if crack were coffee flavored and legal to buy in Georgia. Also it’s cheaper (so I hear!). :=) Enter your comments here