How to make real iced coffee at home
August may be at an end, but summer is still going strong and an iced coffee still makes a welcome addition to the day.
With professional coffee machines and commercial kitchen espresso machines finding their way into many people’s homes, there’s every reason to try making iced coffee at home.
With good-quality coffee, fresh milk and your choice of syrups, plus plenty of ice, you can have a refreshing beverage with all the flavour and caffeine punch of freshly brewed coffee, anytime you like.
How to make iced coffee with an espresso machine
Making iced coffee with an espresso machine is easy. Simply make 1-2 shots of espresso in the usual way, depending on the size of your glass and the strength of iced coffee you prefer.
If you’re making up a pitcher of iced coffee for a party, just increase the amount of espresso accordingly – it’s all a matter of personal taste, so experiment with different proportions until you find the flavour you like best.
Pour the hot espresso over ice, or let it cool first, and lengthen the drink with water for iced coffee, or milk for an iced latte (you can make iced coffee with water and add a little milk at the end, if you don’t want a full milk-based latte).
Iced coffee is often sweetened, so add your preferred flavour of syrup to give it a nutty, vanilla or caramel flavour, or whatever you like best.
How to sweeten iced coffee
When tackling that acidity, you might find granulated sugar will not stir into iced coffee, as it needs hot water in order to dissolve – so how do you avoid a gritty texture?
The simple solution is to use syrup to sweeten iced coffee. You can use shop-bought agave syrup or make your own simple syrup by melting sugar in a little water in a saucepan, which should store for weeks in a clean, airtight container in the fridge.
As mentioned above, flavoured syrups let you change the taste of your iced coffee, and having several syrups to choose from can make parties even more fun for guests.
Are iced coffee and cold brew the same thing?
No – as the name suggests, iced coffee is coffee brewed in the normal way, and then cooled and served over ice. Cold brew is ground coffee steeped in cool water, literally brewed cold.
This means that you can make iced coffee in a percolator or espresso machine in the normal way. It’s what you do with the espresso shots once they’re made that matters.
Cold brew has a naturally sweeter taste, as the cold water creates less acidity, whereas iced coffee is normally served sweetened and with optional milk.
Does iced coffee go bad?
All food and drink will spoil eventually, but if you want to prepare iced coffee in advance, there are a few ways to make it last longer.
When you make iced coffee with a French press, percolator or espresso machine, you’ll get the longest shelf life if you store the espresso in an airtight refrigerated container without mixing in the other ingredients.
The next best option is to add the water to make black iced coffee, and store this. If you’re planning a party, for instance, you can make the lengthened black coffee first and chill it in jugs. It should keep for hours with no problems, but may start to taste acidic over 2-3 days.
Last of all is to store iced coffee with milk in it. This is the least good option, as the milk will spoil faster than the coffee. If you need to do this, it’s best to make the iced latte on the same day it will be consumed, or at the very most store it overnight.