Iced coffee is a popular drink year-round, but it's a ubiquitous beverage during spring and summer when the weather is warmer and a steaming hot cup of coffee sounds somewhat unappealing. As an alternative to buying iced coffee or cold brew from a coffee shop, why not make it yourself at home? Whether you simply chill freshly-brewed coffee or make your own cold brew, doing so will save you money and serve as a fun project in the kitchen.
Part of the coffee shop experience is customizing your iced coffee with flavored syrup and different types of milk or creamer. You can still enjoy those options when you make iced coffee at home. Here, we're sharing our top tips for making a flavorful cup of iced coffee and serving it in an eco-friendly way to boot.
Replace the Ice Cubes
Most iced coffee or espresso-based beverages are poured over regular iced to make them extra cold. They will melt extra-quickly on hot days and water down your beverage. To maintain a concentrated coffee drink, make coffee iced cubes by simply pouring cold or room temperature freshly brewed coffee into an ice cube tray ($4.99, amazon.com) and freezing. Once frozen, add some coffee cubes to your glass, then fill it with iced coffee for a beverage that will stay cold and fully caffeinated until the very last drop.
Make Your Own Creamer
Store-bought coffee creamers may taste great, but they're often loaded with sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives. If you want to achieve that same silky texture and sweet flavor without the harmful ingredients, try making your own. Our recipe for Cinnamon Coffee Creamer is made with just three ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, unsweetened rice milk, and a pinch of ground cinnamon. As an added bonus, you can make it in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week, which means that you'll have it on hand whenever you need a kick in your step.
Add Some Sweetness
When you order an iced coffee or cold brew coffee at your local coffee shop, you usually have your pick of adding simple syrup or flavored syrups. While you can purchase vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, or other popular flavors from brands such as Monin ($13.29, amazon.com), you can also make your own unflavored or flavored simple syrup at home. In a saucepan, heat ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of granulated sugar and cook until the sugar has fully dissolved and the liquid has transformed into a thickened syrup. Add as much or as little syrup as you like for a hint of sweetness or steep whole vanilla beans or cinnamon in the warm syrup to infuse the mixture with even more flavor.
We love this method because the syrup will seamlessly blend into iced coffee, unlike granulated or raw cane sugar, which doesn't fully dissolve in a cold beverage.
Take It to Go
Getting an iced coffee while you're on-the-go is a delicious way to give you a boost of energy in the middle of the afternoon or to perk up a long road trip. However, single-use plastic coffee cups and straws are not eco-friendly. If you want the benefits and pleasure of drinking an iced coffee while you're out and about without harming the environment, consider investing in reusable or earth-friendly products, such as stainless steel straws ($5.89, amazon.com) or durable biodegradable bamboo straws ($5, publicgoods.com). Pour your iced coffee in your own reusable tumbler, such as this bestseller from Amazon ($22.92, amazon.com), and take it to go.