How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

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iced coffee at home

Iced coffee is the go-to drink for millions of people looking to get their caffeine fix on a daily basis.

As simple as it sounds, iced coffee is somewhat of a complicated drink to make. Many people have tried – and failed – to make iced coffee at home because they wrongly thought that it’s as easy as brewing a cup of grocery store-bought coffee and pouring it over ice.

In short, there is a method to the madness, and in this article, we’re going to show you how to brew the perfect cup of iced coffee at home.

Why Should I Home Brew Iced Coffee?

Before we get into the “how,” we need to first look at the “why.”  On the surface, it seems much easier to hop in the car, drive a few miles from where you live and walk into a coffee shop and order an iced coffee, but are several downsides to this method.

First off, price. A medium sized cup of coffee (cold or hot) runs about $5.00 with tax (and tip).  And if you’re like most iced coffee fans, you probably drink at least one cup a day throughout the week, which can quickly add up.

If you are one of those people that has to have a cup of coffee every morning, your love affair with iced coffee can cost you upwards of $100/month – not including gas and weekend coffee stops.  

If you’re the sort that doesn’t mind spending over $100/month on iced coffee, then let’s look at the health aspects.  Without mentioning names, lets take a look at the iced coffee ingredients for a major coffee chain in the U.S.:

  • Sugar
  • “Natural flavors”
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Syrup (more sugar)

That’s 22 grams of sugars alone, which your body is not going to like you for. In fact, a recent article by stated that the American Heart Association suggests that men limit their daily sugar intake into to 37.5 grams and women to 25 grams. So one cup of iced coffee from this location and you’re already almost at your daily sugar intake, if you’re a woman.  

Simply put: when you buy iced coffee from a coffee shop, you’re not in control of what goes into the concoction nor are you in control of how it’s brewed. Coffee shops are all about profits first and quality control last.

How to Brew the Perfect Iced Coffee

Here’s how we recommend that you brew the perfect cup of iced coffee at home:

1. Large Bowl – Find, borrow, or buy a large glass (preferably) or plastic bowl. It doesn’t have to be see-through or have any special properties. Just something that can hold around one pound of coffee.

2. Kona Coffee – This is the most crucial step in brewing the perfect cup of iced coffee. The quality of your brew is entirely dependent upon the type of coffee that you use. This is why we strongly recommend you completely avoid grocery store coffee. It’s most often stale by the time it reaches store shelves and doesn’t have a very good taste when brewed.

Ideally, you should select a dark, rich Kona coffee such as the Captain’s Roast from Carta Coffee.  Kona coffee is some of the very best coffee that you can buy, and it will make your iced coffee taste out of this world.

3. Grind and Pour – Grind your coffee beans with a burr grinder (ideally) and then pour the entire 1lb of coffee into the large bowl.
4. Water – Pour in 8 quarts (2 gallons) of cold water. Ideally, we recommend using filtered water as your tap water could contain chemicals that might alter the taste of the coffee. Premium bottled water usually doesn’t contain a lot of natural minerals and could have a different flavor than filtered water. Experiment and see what you like best.
5. Stir & Wait – Using a wooden or plastic spoon, stir the water into the coffee until it’s evenly mixed. Then put a lid on the container, and then put the container in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
6. Strain – After 12 hours have passed, grab another glass or plastic container and a mesh strainer. Put a couple of layers of cheesecloth inside the strainer.
7. Pour – Pour the coffee/water mixture slowly over the cheesecloth making sure you don’t spill any. It may take anywhere from 5-6 minutes for the water to seep through the cheesecloth.
8. Press – Using a metal or wooden smaller spoon, gently press down on the remaining coffee grinds that are on top of the cheesecloth. The idea is to get every last bit of water strained through. Take your time and don’t rush the process.
9. Store – Find a glass jar with a spout and pour the liquid from the 2nd bowl inside. Store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to make a fresh cup of iced coffee, move on to step 10.

10. Iced Coffee – Take a large glass and fill it with ice all the way up to the top. Then pour the liquid coffee from the glass jar over the ice until it’s ¾ full. Add skim milk or half-and-half to your taste. Then add a few pumps of vanilla or hazelnut syrup to taste as well. 

We can’t give you exact amounts because each person is different. What is too sweet to one person is just right to another. After you’ve added the syrup, stir everything up and voila! A delicious cup of gourmet iced coffee!

Premium Kona Coffee from Carta Coffee

When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of iced Kona coffee, we recommend experimenting a bit by trying different syrup and milk combinations. Eventually, you’ll achieve nirvana and discover the perfect iced coffee brew that you’ll savor time and time again. Keep in mind that the quality of your iced coffee depends entirely on the quality of the coffee beans that you use.

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