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How to make iced coffee at home: a comprehensive guide

Looking to up your iced coffee game? Whether you’re a fan of cold brew, iced Americanos or iced lattes, we’ve got the best products and tools for the perfect coffee every time.

Published Dec 12, 2023
6 min. reading time
coffee products on a cream and brown collage background

There's nothing quite like a refreshing iced coffee to kickstart your day or provide a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. 

But why spend money at a coffee shop when you can make iced coffee at home? 

Here, we'll introduce you to the best products for making iced coffee, each with its unique features and benefits. 

Find out how to make an iced coffee and become your barista!

Read more: The 8 best coffee grinders for perfect coffee every time

Iced coffee essentials

De'Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine in silver
De'Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine
$136.99 at Target
Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi in Gray
Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee Maker
$134.25 at Target
nespresso aeroccino 4 milk frother
Nespresso Aeroccino 4 Milk Frother
$119 at Nespresso
asobu cold brew maker with copper carafe
Asobu Coldbrew Portable Cold Brew Coffee Maker
$74.99 at Amazon

What types of iced coffee are there?

There are numerous types of iced coffee, all with different tastes and caffeine levels — and knowing which type is your go-to is an important step in your coffee journey. 

The most common types of iced coffee are:

  • Espresso-based iced coffee

  • Cold brew

We’ll show you everything you’ll need to make all these drinks, from the tools to fancy syrups to add a little more flavor.

milk being poured over coffee with ice
Photo: Unsplash / pariwat pannium

Espresso-based iced coffee

Espresso-based iced coffee is the most popular kind — this includes iced lattes, iced cappuccinos and iced Americanos. If you already have an espresso machine (which we definitely recommend every coffee lover have in their kitchen), then you already have everything you need to make the perfect iced latte. 

For an iced latte, simply brew your single or double espresso, pour over your milk, syrups and ice, and stir and shake. 

For an iced Americano, brew your espresso and pour over chilled water and ice. 

For an iced cappuccino, it’s the same method as making an iced latte, except you’ll add cold foamed milk to the top. 

If you have the time, we recommend shaking or stirring your espresso with a few ice cubes before pouring over your drink. This means that when you pour over your drink, the espresso will already be chilled and won’t melt the ice in your drink. 

iced latte on table
Photo: Unsplash / Demi DeHerrera

When it comes to espresso machines, why not go for one that can do it all? 

Not only can this compact espresso machine make single and double espressos, but you can also steam your milk — making it ideal if you like to switch it up between hot and iced coffees (you can even make hot chocolate or a chai latte!). 

Its 15-bar pressure ensures that you’ll get a quality brew every time, and there are numerous customization options, so you can alter everything to your taste. The removable water tank and drip tray also make this super easy to clean, and it can even be put in the dishwasher.

Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi in Gray
Photo: Target

Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee Maker

You save $45.04 (25.02%)

When we think of espresso, we think of Nespresso. 

Exclusively compatible with Nespresso Vertuo pods, this machine is a great option if you like to experiment with your coffee, both in taste and origin. With this machine, every espresso will have that beautiful, thick crema you can typically only get in coffee shops, and the one-touch brewing system makes it remarkably easy to use. 

This comes with a complimentary pack of Nespresso Vertuo capsules, so you can instantly find your favorite.

For iced cappuccinos, a milk frother is an essential piece of the kit — and it doesn’t get much better than this one from Nespresso. 

There are four different types of milk you can make; hot milk, two types of hot foamy milk and cold foam. There are also fill lines within the jug to guide you (you never want hot milk spraying everywhere!) and it looks sleek on our kitchen counter. 

Results obviously vary depending on what kind of milk you’re using, but we’ve used cow, soy and oat milk and found that we’ve been satisfied with the results.

Cold brew

If you’re wondering, “What is cold brew?” — don’t worry, we’ve had that thought at one point. Cold brew is essentially the process where coarse ground coffee is soaked in cold or room-temperature water for about 18-24 hours. 

This leads to a very strong coffee (both tasting and caffeine-wise), that is not for the faint of heart. It’s usually enjoyed black or with cold foamy milk and sometimes with syrups to sweeten. 

You can either brew your own cold brew yourself using a machine or use a cold brew concentrate, where you simply pour some in a glass with water.

glass of cold brew with ice on an orange background
Photo: Unsplash / Wade Austin Ellis

With this coffeemaker, it’s never been easier to brew your cold brew. All you have to do is fill the vessel with ground coffee and slowly pour water over it until the entire tube is filled.

Wait for around 24 hours, press the button to release the cold brew into the portable carafe and serve! 

This is our go-to method of making cold brew, as it’s super easy to clean, portable and relatively compact — if you’re looking to make your cold brew at home, we can’t recommend this enough.

If you prefer a quicker method, we recommend using a cold brew concentrate. You can choose from multiple flavors (we recommend the black if you're starting out), but the Madagascan Vanilla or Caramel Dolce are great options if you have a sweet tooth.

This is the perfect grab-and-go coffee option — simply fill your glass with ice, and use equal parts coffee concentrate and water (or less or more if you’re looking for different-strength coffees).

tim hortons original blend ground coffee
Photo: Walmart

When you’re making cold brew, you’ll need ground coffee — so you can either buy beans and grind them yourself, or simply use preground coffee (this is what we recommend). 

This ground coffee from Tim Hortons is the perfect, balanced blend. Made with 100% Arabica beans, this medium roast is perfect for those who want a strong-tasting black coffee, but it also pairs well with sweeter syrups like vanilla or hazelnut.

Peet's Coffee, with its dark roast ground coffee, encapsulates what it feels like to kickstart your day the right way — and it’s the perfect choice for a strong cold brew. This 100% Arabica coffee is not simply coffee, but a rich, flavorful, and robust experience that fills your space with an invigorating aroma. 

They have a bunch of other flavors such as vanilla, caramel and their 2023 holiday blend — which are all great options if you’re looking to jazz your iced coffee up.

cold brew being poured into glass
Photo: Unsplash / Wade Austin Ellis

Syrups and accessories

Consisting of four tempting flavors - vanilla, salted caramel, classic hazelnut and Irish cream - this set indulges your taste buds, instantly upgrading your regular iced coffee. These syrups work great in all your iced coffees, whether you’re making a latte, iced flat white or even a cold brew. They’ll work in your wintery, hot coffees too. 

This set is the perfect choice if you can’t stick to one flavor, and makes a great gift for any budding baristas in your life.

Made from superior-quality glass, these cups are a robust choice for any drink — hot or cold. 

The bamboo lids add an earthy, contemporary touch to your iced coffee and quite frankly, are aesthetically pleasing. The cups have a 16-ounce capacity, making them perfect for that quick hit of caffeine. Each comes with a glass straw, and two cleaning brushes. 

The glasses themselves are microwave, oven and dishwasher safe so they’re an incredibly versatile addition to any kitchen. 

When talking about iced coffee, you can’t forget the ice! 

With this ice cube tray, once the cubes are frozen, you can simply pop them into the tub and refill them soyou’ll likely never run out of ice. The two trays can produce up to 64 ice cubes at a time, which is the perfect solution for families or those with roommates who go through a lot of ice. 

If you don't have an integrated ice machine in your fridge freezer, this is the next best thing. 

Our verdict: Which iced coffee products get our stamp of approval?

With all the methods available for making iced coffee, it can be hard to pick our favorite products. But if we had to narrow it down, our top three would be:

  • Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine: Making the perfect espresso every time, this is your best bet if you’re passionate about coffee — we also love that Nespresso has such a wide range of coffee with different flavors and origins, so you’re more likely to find a hidden gem. 

  • Asobu Coldbrew Portable Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Our personal favorite, this is perfect if you like cold brew — it’s easy to use (basically foolproof), easy to clean and gives great results every time. What’s not to love? 

  • Ice Cube Trays for Freezer: Ice is an essential ingredient in every iced coffee, so having a healthy stock of it in the freezer is important. That’s why we love these trays. You can freeze them, pop them in the tub and scoop them out whenever you need them! 

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Prices updated on 12/12/2023. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

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Written by
Phoebe Davenport

A book aficionado, you will always be able to rely on Phoebe Davenport for the best book recommendations. On the weekend, you’ll probably find Phoebe at a bottomless brunch in London, at a museum, or chilling at home with her two cats.