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Need A Boost? Here’s How To Make Iced Coffee Quick

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Looking for a quick caffeine fix on a hot summer day? We feel you.

Lucky for us, making a quick iced coffee is relatively easy and will have you sipping an ice-cold brew in about 5 minutes.

The secret to how to make iced coffee fast lies in the brewing process. Here, we’ll show you how to make iced coffee at home quickly so you can return to your day.

How To Make Iced Coffee Quick

Before we get started with how to make iced coffee quick, let’s review a couple of techniques to avoid:

  1. We will never recommend making iced coffee or any coffee using instant coffee. No matter what you read online, iced coffee made with instant coffee is not tasty.
  2. Brewing hot coffee and allowing it to cool to room temperature over several hours or overnight is never a good idea. As discussed in this post, hot coffee loses its flavor nuances very quickly and begins to taste sour after only a few hours. We do not recommend brewing hot coffee and refrigerating overnight to make iced coffee the following day.

Phew! Now that we got that out of the way let’s look at this popular drink to know what we’re brewing.

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What’s Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is just what it sounds like.

It’s coffee that is brewed hot and then poured over ice. Voila!

Iced coffee is straightforward to prepare, which is why it’s so popular. It’s delicious on its own or served with your milk of choice and a little sweetener.

Brewing Methods

One of the best attributes of iced coffee is that it can be ready in minutes.

Simply grind and brew your coffee using your preferred method and pour it over ice. Done.

But which brewing method is best for a fast iced coffee? Let’s take a look at a few techniques for how to make iced coffee at home quickly:

1. Pour Over

One of our favorite methods for brewing coffee is the pour over method. The pour over is our favorite brewing method for making a quick iced coffee.

This brewing method requires a bit more patience and finesse than the other methods on this list; however, it still yields a superior batch of coffee in minutes. 

We are big fans of Japanese iced coffee, also called flash brew or ice brew, which is iced coffee prepared by brewing coffee directly onto the ice in the carafe. The coffee is flash-chilled by the iced and retains more flavor and nuances.

Ready to learn how to make iced coffee quickly using the pour-over method? Check out our step-by-step tutorial on Japanese iced coffee.

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2. French Press

The French press is another fantastic way to make iced coffee at home. It is effortless and requires less hands-on work than the pour over. The French press also works beautifully for cold brew coffee.

We love to use the French press when teaching others how to make iced coffee at home quickly because it’s an accessible coffee maker that only takes 4 minutes to brew.

3. Aeropress

We don’t often use an Aeropress to brew coffee at home, but it sure comes in handy at the office or even camping. It is a relatively easy brewing method and gets coffee to cup in about 4 minutes, just like the French press or pour over method.

It’s perfect for robust single-cup brewing when you want a great cup of coffee but don’t have a scale handy. The bold brew also works exceptionally well for a quick iced coffee, as the dilution from the ice won’t take away from its flavor.

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4. Drip Coffee Maker

Of course, you can always use a drip coffee maker to make iced coffee at home quickly (ish).

But is French press coffee better than drip? Yes. Is pour over coffee better than drip? Absolutely. 

Most brewing methods will yield a better quality cup of coffee than a drip coffee maker, but if it’s what you’ve got at home, then you may certainly use it to make a quick iced coffee (although it is the slowest of the methods on the list. Just saying) 

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These brewing methods for making iced coffee quickly will get the job done in roughly 5 minutes or less (depending on how much coffee you’re brewing). 

Once your hot coffee is finished brewing, simply fill a glass with ice and pour the coffee directly into the glass.

Iced Coffee Flavor Profile

No matter which brewing method you choose, the flavor of iced coffee will never be particularly robust due in part to the hot extraction process and the dilution of the coffee from the ice.

It is essential to keep this in mind when preparing it. You’ll want to brew a slightly stronger batch of hot coffee when you’re planning to pour it over ice (one of the easiest methods for how to make iced coffee quick).

Adjust your coffee-to-water ratio to your liking to achieve a more robust brew, but know that iced coffee is blander than hot coffee and lacks the subtle nuances of, say, cold brew coffee.

Shelf Life

Now that you’ve learned how to make iced coffee at home quickly, let’s examine how long that speedy brew will last.

Hot-brewed coffee begins to deteriorate when it cools (hence why it tastes like garbage after sitting in the fridge for a few hours). Hot coffee is best served fresh within about 30 minutes of brewing.

So what happens when you pour hot coffee over ice to make iced coffee? 

It immediately loses flavor and begins to expire even faster. Cold coffee will only last a few hours, so don’t brew a big batch of hot coffee and think you’ll have iced coffee for days.

And if you read an iced coffee recipe online that advises you to brew hot coffee the day before and allow it to come to room temperature before pouring over ice… close the browser window and run.

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How to make Iced Coffee at home quickly: Other Methods

If you’re not in a hurry (which we understand undermines the point of this article), you may employ a few techniques to improve your experience when making iced coffee at home.

The easiest of these is to brew as described above, pour your hot coffee into a container, and refrigerate for no longer than 30 minutes before pouring it over ice.

The trade-off here is that the coffee’s nuances will fade the longer it sits in the fridge, so chill it only briefly before enjoying it over ice.

But if you’re looking for how to make iced coffee quick, wouldn’t it be fastest to wake up to a container of delicious cold coffee ready to go in your refrigerator?

Well, that dream is about to become a reality (with a bit of planning, of course).

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Cold Brew

As the name suggests, cold brew coffee is brewed with cold or room-temperature water, which is one significant difference between iced coffee and cold brew coffee.

The brewing process makes cold brew different from other cold coffee drinks. “Cold brew” refers to the brewing method (using cold water), not the serving temperature.

Cold brew coffee is also smoother and less acidic than traditional iced coffee.

Cold brew lacks the bitterness often associated with iced coffee, so many prefer cold brew vs. iced coffee.

Another defining characteristic of cold brew is brewing time. Cold brew is steeped slowly (like 12+ hours slow), allowing the fruity, bright notes from the coffee grounds to be extracted without bitterness.

It’s a time commitment, but cold brew remains the best iced coffee to make at home because it is so easy, and the result is so delicious.

No special equipment is needed to make cold brew. Our favorite method for making cold brew is the French press.

But we promised to teach you how to make iced coffee at home quickly, so let’s return to the speedier brewing methods.

Moka Pot

Although the Moka pot is one of the coffee brewing methods we use least frequently for iced coffee, it still deserves an honorable mention. 

While it brews delicious coffee without a doubt, this particular method yields a strong stovetop espresso rather than traditional coffee.

For this reason, we love the Moka pot for iced lattes and other espresso beverages but won’t typically use it when preparing a quick iced coffee.

But you can undoubtedly brew stovetop espresso using your Moka pot and dilute it with water and ice for an enjoyable iced Americano.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can iced coffee go bad?

In a word, yes. Hot brewed coffee begins to expire as soon as it begins to cool; therefore, iced coffee deteriorates even faster. Iced coffee will last a few hours; then, it will lose flavor and develop a sour taste. For best results, consume iced coffee within an hour after brewing.

What is the difference between an iced coffee and an iced latte?

Iced coffee is typically hot coffee poured over ice and consumed cold. The ice dilutes the coffee. On the other hand, an iced latte is made with espresso and milk.

Cold milk is poured over ice, and an espresso shot(s) is poured over the top to create a creamy, dreamy iced latte. Is an iced coffee or iced latte the better choice? Find out here.

Iced lattes are incredibly simple to prepare, with the right equipment, and are the preferred choice for many who know how to make iced coffee at home quickly.

Is iced coffee just coffee with ice?

Yes, yes, it is. However, “iced coffee” has become synonymous with cold coffee drinks in recent years. For example, cold brew is a type of iced coffee, but iced coffee is not cold brew. Iced coffee refers to Japanese-style iced coffee, hot coffee brewed directly over ice.

So, when learning how to make iced coffee at home quickly, it’s important to determine exactly which type you’re after.


Heather Calatrello

Heather Calatrello owner of ShedLight Coffee Roasters