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How to Make Iced Coffee?

Blue skies. Long days. Sumptuous sunshine. Who doesn’t long for those glorious summer mornings and sultry afternoons? 

Craving a refreshing pick-me-up on a hot summer’s day? In this guide, Presto Coffee explores the world of chilled brews and shows you how to make iced coffee; the best you’ve ever tasted. Nothing beats a delicious cold coffee when you need to cool down.

We show you how to make ice coffee - it isn't just cold coffee; it's a taste sensation! It's the ultimate remedy for beating the heat while satisfying your caffeine cravings. From bustling city streets to tranquil beachside cafes, iced coffee has become a staple in the cups of coffee lovers everywhere.

Where Does Iced Coffee Originate From

Where Does Iced Coffee Originate From?

Historians can trace iced coffee's roots back to 1840 Algeria, a country in western North Africa. The French Military discovered how to make coffee iced during the Battle of Mazagran, and it is named mazagran. It was a sweet and cold coffee drink.

During the 19th century there were many ice coffee recipes in use and it appeared on menus offering frozen coffee drinks, quite similar to the slushies we know today.

Iced coffee was made really popular by a 1920 marketing campaign by the Joint Trade Publicity Committee in the USA. Over time, large coffee chains such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King adopted the cold coffee drink in their outlets and it has now become the mass market drink we know and love today. So, when you get asked how do you make iced coffee, you now know all about its history too!

Iced Coffee Recipe Ideas

Want to know how to make iced coffee at home? We've got you covered with two simple yet satisfying recipes that will keep you cool and caffeinated all summer long. Whether you prefer the convenience of Instant coffee or the smooth richness of cold brew, these recipes are sure to hit the spot.

Simple Iced Coffee:


  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee (try Presto Coffee’s House Espresso)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cream (optional)
  • Ice cubes


  1. Brew the Coffee: In a glass, dissolve the instant coffee in 1/4 cup of hot water. Stir until the coffee granules are completely dissolved.
  2. Sweeten to Taste: Add sugar to the hot coffee mixture and stir until fully dissolved. Adjust the amount of sugar based on your preference for sweetness.
  3. Add Ice: Fill the glass with ice cubes to chill the coffee and create the classic iced coffee experience.
  4. Optional Additions: For a creamier texture, add milk and/or cream to the iced coffee. Stir well to combine.
  5. Serve and Enjoy: Give your iced coffee a final stir and sip away! Feel free to customise with additional flavours like vanilla extract or flavoured syrups for a personalised touch.

Note: if you are reading this outside of England, make sure you research how many ml in a teaspoon UK if you want to share any recipes with your friends and family.

Cold Brew Coffee Method:


  • 1 cup coarsely ground coffee
  • 4 cups cold water


  • Combine Coffee and Water: In a large jug, combine the coarsely ground coffee and cold water. Stir gently to ensure all the coffee grounds are fully saturated.
  • Steep the Coffee: Cover the jug and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. This slow steeping process allows the coffee to develop a smooth and rich flavour profile.
  • Strain the Concentrate: After steeping, strain the coffee concentrate using a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the coffee grounds. Transfer the concentrate to a clean container for storage.
  • Serve and Enjoy: To enjoy your cold brew, simply dilute the concentrate with equal parts water or milk, and pour over ice. Customise with your favourite sweeteners and creamers for the perfect iced coffee experience.

When your BFF asks you “how can I make iced coffee”, send them this blog! Cheers to homemade iced coffee done right!

Customising Your Iced Coffee

Part of the joy of knowing how to make an iced coffee at home is the freedom to tailor your brew to suit your personal taste preferences. From choosing the perfect dairy option to adding a touch of sweetness, here's how to make iced coffee, your way.

Milk and Cream Options:

When it comes to dairy options for your iced coffee, the choices are endless. Each type of milk or cream adds its own unique flavour and texture to the brew, so feel free to experiment and create your own iced coffee recipe.

  • Skimmed Milk: For a lighter and lower-calorie option, skimmed milk adds a touch of creaminess without the extra fat.
  • Whole Milk: With its rich and creamy texture, whole milk adds indulgent richness to your iced coffee, perfect for those who enjoy a decadent treat.
  • Half-and-Half: A blend of equal parts milk and cream, half-and-half strikes the perfect balance between richness and lightness, creating a smooth and creamy texture.
  • Cream: For the ultimate indulgence, heavy cream adds a luxurious richness and velvety texture to your iced coffee, ideal for those who prefer a really creamy brew.

Sweeteners and Flavours:

Show your friends and family how to make iced coffee variations. Add a hint of sweetness or a burst of flavour to your ice coffee with these delicious options:

  • Sugar: A classic choice for sweetening your iced coffee, sugar adds a simple sweetness that complements the rich flavour of the cold coffee.
  • Vanilla Syrup: Add a drizzle of vanilla syrup for a sweet and aromatic flavour that enhances the coffee's natural notes.
  • Hazelnut Syrup: For a nutty and indulgent twist, hazelnut syrup adds a rich and flavorful dimension to your iced coffee, reminiscent of your favourite coffeehouse creations.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: For a creamy and sweet addition to your iced coffee, sweetened condensed milk adds a luscious richness and caramelised sweetness that pairs perfectly with the bold flavour of the coffee.

How to make coffee depends on whether you prefer a light and refreshing brew or a rich and indulgent ice coffee. There's definitely an option to suit every taste preference. Here at Presto Coffee, we like to experiment with different combinations of milk, cream, sweeteners, and flavours to make our very individual homemade iced coffee.

With our expert tips and iced coffee recipes, you'll be sipping on café-quality iced coffee in no time. Cheers to barista-style coffee creations and endless summer refreshment!

Iced Coffee Recipe Variations

Advanced Iced Coffee Recipe Variations

Calling all foodies and coffee aficionados! We show you how to make iced coffee drinks using more experimental methods.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee:

Imagine you are on the bustling streets of Vietnam enjoying this indulgent variation of iced coffee. Here's how to create the perfect Vietnamese-inspired iced coffee at home. Try using our strong and punchy Espresso Intenso.


  • Coarsely ground coffee
  • Hot water
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Ice cubes


  • Brew the Coffee: Using a traditional drip coffee maker, brew a strong cup of coffee using coarsely Ground coffee and hot water.
  • Sweeten with Condensed Milk: In a glass filled with ice cubes, pour a generous amount of sweetened condensed milk. The condensed milk adds a rich sweetness and creamy texture to the coffee.
  • Pour the Coffee: Once brewed, pour the hot coffee over the sweetened condensed milk. Stir well to combine, allowing the flavours to merge together.
  • Serve and Enjoy: Garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or a drizzle of chocolate syrup to be extra indulgent. Sip and savour the rich and creamy flavours of Vietnamese-inspired iced coffee.

How To Make Iced Coffee Concentrate:

Looking for a convenient way to enjoy homemade iced coffee on the go? Make a concentrated coffee base that can be stored in the fridge for quick and easy use. Here are the advantages of creating an iced coffee concentrate:

  • Time-Saving: By brewing a concentrated coffee base in advance, you can save time on busy mornings or whenever you need a quick caffeine fix.
  • Customisable Strength: Adjust the strength of your iced coffee by diluting the concentrate with water or milk to suit your taste preferences.
  • Longer Shelf Life: Properly stored in the fridge, an iced coffee concentrate can last for several days, allowing you to enjoy freshly iced coffee whenever you like.

To create an iced coffee recipe concentrate, simply brew a double-strength batch of coffee using your preferred brewing method, then chill it in the fridge until cold. When ready to serve, dilute the concentrate with equal parts water or milk, pour over ice, and enjoy a refreshing glass of homemade iced coffee anytime, anywhere.

Presto Coffee’s Practical Tips and Tricks for How To Make A Coffee

Take your homemade iced coffee to the next level with these practical tips and tricks to ensure optimal flavour and top class presentation.

Best Practices:

  • Optimal Flavour: Use high-quality coffee beans and grind them just before brewing. Experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios to find the perfect balance of strength and smoothness for your iced coffee.
  • Ideal Temperature: Brew your coffee slightly stronger than usual to compensate for dilution from the ice. Alternatively, consider using coffee ice cubes to prevent dilution and maintain the perfect balance of flavour in your iced coffee.

Storage and Shelf Life:

  • Store homemade coffee concentrate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure to label the container with the brewing date for reference. To prolong shelf life, consider freezing the concentrate in ice cube trays.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Presentation is Key: Serve it in stylish glassware or quirky vintage cups or jars. Add garnishes such as fresh mint leaves, citrus slices, or chocolate shavings.
  • Creative Stirrers: Use unconventional stirrers such as cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, or flavoured straws to add a unique twist to your iced coffee presentation.
  • Layered Creations: Experiment with layered iced coffee creations by pouring milk or flavoured syrups over the ice before adding the coffee. This creates visually stunning layers that are sure to impress your guests.

Additional Tips:

  • Invest in an Iced Coffee Coffee Machine: Consider investing in a dedicated iced coffee machine or cold brew maker for hassle-free brewing and consistent results. These specialised appliances are designed to brew coffee at the perfect temperature and strength for optimal flavour extraction.
  • Experiment with Flavour Additions: Get creative with additions such as flavoured syrups, extracts, or spices to customise your iced coffee to your taste preferences. From caramel to cinnamon, the possibilities are endless!

With these practical tips and tricks, you'll be well-equipped to master the art of homemade iced coffee and impress your friends and family with your barista-worthy creations.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even the most seasoned coffee enthusiasts can encounter challenges when making homemade iced coffee. Here are some common issues and practical solutions to ensure your brew is always top-notch:

Common Mistakes:

  • Watered-Down Coffee: To prevent watered-down coffee, avoid pouring hot coffee directly over ice cubes. Instead, try brewing your coffee stronger than usual or using coffee ice cubes to maintain the desired flavour intensity as the ice melts.
  • Overly Bitter Coffee: Over-extraction or using coffee beans that are too finely ground can result in overly bitter coffee. Experiment with coarser grind sizes and shorter brewing times to achieve a smoother, more balanced flavour profile.


  • Tweak Recipes for Personal Taste: Don't be afraid to experiment with different brewing methods, coffee-to-water ratios, and flavourings to tailor your iced coffee to your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a bold and robust brew or a lighter, more refreshing option, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to homemade iced coffee.

Equipment and Tools

Mastering the art of homemade iced coffee requires the right tools for the job. Here's a rundown of essential and advanced equipment to elevate your brewing experience:

Essential Tools:

  • Jar: A large jar is essential for brewing and storing homemade iced coffee. Look for one with a tight-sealing lid to keep your coffee fresh.
  • Strainer: A fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth is necessary for removing coffee grounds or sediment when straining homemade cold brew or coffee concentrate.
  • Specific Coffee Makers: While traditional drip coffee makers can be used to brew hot coffee for iced coffee, specialty equipment like cold brew coffee makers or French Presses are designed specifically for cold brewing methods, resulting in smoother and less acidic coffee.

Advanced Equipment:

  • Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Cold brew coffee makers are designed to simplify the cold brewing process, allowing you to steep coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period to extract rich, smooth flavour without bitterness. These advanced tools often feature built-in filters and spouts for easy pouring and storage.

Coffee Bean Selection

The choice of coffee beans plays a crucial role in determining the flavour profile of your homemade iced coffee. Here's what you need to know about coffee bean selection:

Types of Coffee Beans:

  • Arabica vs. Robusta: Arabica beans are known for their smooth, mild flavour profile and slightly acidic taste, making them a popular choice for iced coffee. Robusta beans, on the other hand, have a stronger, more robust flavour with higher caffeine content, ideal for those who prefer a bold and intense brew.

Grind Size:

  • Impact on Extraction: The grind size of your coffee beans affects the rate of extraction and ultimately the flavour of your iced coffee. For cold brew and other cold brewing methods, opt for a coarse grind to prevent over-extraction and bitterness. Fine grind sizes are suitable for methods like pour-over or drip brewing, resulting in a smoother and more nuanced flavour profile.
Instant coffee Brewing

The Science of Coffee Brewing

Unlock the mysteries behind the perfect cup of coffee with insights into brewing techniques, temperature considerations, seasonal variations, cultural influences, and ideal food pairings.

Brewing Techniques:

  • Hot Brew vs. Cold Brew: Hot brewing extracts oils and acids quickly, resulting in a brighter, more acidic taste, while cold brewing produces a smoother, less acidic flavour due to slower extraction at lower temperatures.

Temperature and Time:

  • Influence on Flavor: Higher temperatures can extract more bitter compounds from coffee beans, while longer brewing times can lead to over-extraction and increased bitterness. Experiment with different brewing parameters to achieve your desired strength and flavour profile.

Seasonal and Cultural Variations

Seasonal Recipes:

  • Seasonal Twists: Embrace the spirit of the season with festive iced coffee recipes featuring seasonal flavours like pumpkin spice or peppermint. These twists add a touch of warmth and nostalgia to your iced coffee experience, perfect for cosying up by the fireplace or celebrating with loved ones.

International Varieties:

  • Global Inspirations: Take a world tour of iced coffee variations from different cultures, from the Greek frappe to the Italian affogato. Discover the unique ingredients, preparation methods, and flavour profiles that make each international iced coffee a beloved cultural staple.

Pairing with Foods

Ideal Pairings:

  • Enhancing the Experience: From sweet treats like pastries and desserts to savoury snacks like cheese and charcuterie, the right pairing can enhance the enjoyment of your food and iced coffee.
  • Ever wondered how to make iced coffee with instant coffee? Try this instead! Jamie Oliver sprinkled instant coffee over Manchego cheese along with a drizzle of honey. You’re welcome!
  • How about contrasting a warm brownie with the cool ice in your coffee? Or, a eat a buttery croissant to go with your on-the-go refreshing drink? Pack some protein in by snacking on nuts for your morning coffee break. The options are endless!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does my iced coffee taste watered down?

This often happens if the coffee isn't strong enough before it hits the ice. Try making a stronger brew or using a cold brew concentrate to prevent dilution when the ice melts.

2. How can I make my iced coffee taste as good as the one from the coffee shop?

Use freshly ground coffee beans and experiment with the amount of coffee to find your preferred strength. Also, consider adding flavours like vanilla or caramel syrup for that coffee shop touch.

3. What should I do if my iced coffee is too bitter?

If your iced coffee comes out too bitter, it might be over-brewed. Try reducing the brewing time or lowering the temperature of your brewing water. Adding a small amount of salt can also counteract bitterness.

4. Can I make iced coffee without a coffee maker?

Absolutely! You can simply use instant coffee or cold steep ground coffee in water overnight in the fridge. Strain the mixture in the morning for a smooth, chilled brew.

5. How long can I keep iced coffee in the fridge?

Iced coffee can be stored in the fridge for up to a week if kept in a tightly sealed container. Remember, the flavour might change slightly after the first day due to continued extraction.

6. Why does my iced coffee not taste as flavorful as I expected?

The flavour can depend on the type of beans, the grind size, and the brewing method. Experiment with different beans and finer grinds to enhance the extraction and flavour.

7. What's the best way to sweeten iced coffee without it being gritty?

Use a liquid sweetener, like simple syrup, which blends into cold beverages more easily than granulated sugar. You can make simple syrup by dissolving equal parts sugar and water in a pan until the sugar is completely dissolved, then cooling it down before use.

Thanks for reading our iced coffee recipe guide and tips. We love trying different Presto Coffee blends to experiment with strength and flavour. Head to our website to discover more!

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