Need A Boost? Here’s How To Make Iced Coffee Quick
Heads up: this content is reader-supported, which means that we may earn a small commission if you click on some of our links.
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.
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:
- We will never recommend that you make iced coffee, or any coffee, using instant coffee. No matter what you read online, iced coffee made with instant coffee is not tasty.
- Brewing hot coffee and allowing it to cool to room temperature over several hours or overnight is never a good idea. As we’ll discuss 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 take a closer look at this popular drink to know what exactly we’re brewing.
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 one reason it’s so popular. It’s delicious on its own or served with your milk of choice and a little sweetener.
One of the best attributes of iced coffee is that it can be ready in mere 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 quick:
1. Pour Over
One of our favorite methods for brewing coffee is the pour over method. This brewing method takes a bit more patience and finesse than the other coffee brewing methods on this list; however, it still yields a superior batch of coffee in a matter of minutes.
2. French Press
The french press is another fantastic way to brew delicious coffee at home. It is effortless to use and requires less hands-on work than the pour over. The french press also works beautifully for cold brew coffee.
I don’t often use my Aeropress to brew coffee at home, but it sure comes in handy when 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.
Perfect for robust single-cup brewing when you want a great cup of coffee but don’t have a scale handy.
4. Drip Coffee Maker
Of course, you can always use a drip coffee maker to brew if that’s your preference. Is french press coffee better than drip? Yes. Is pour over coffee better than drip? Absolutely.
In fact, 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)
All of these brewing methods for how to make iced coffee quick 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).
Now that you’ve learned how to make iced coffee quick, let’s look at how long that speedy brew will last.
Hot brewed coffee begins to deteriorate when it starts to cool (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 last you a few hours tops, 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.
Other Iced Coffee Brewing Methods
If you’re not in a huge hurry (which we understand undermines the point of this article), there are a few techniques you may employ 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 over ice.
The trade-off here is that the nuances of the coffee 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).
What’s 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.
What makes cold brew different from other cold coffee drinks lies mainly in the brewing process.
The term “cold brew” actually refers to the brewing method and not to 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, which is why 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 extraction of the fruity, bright notes from the coffee grounds without bitterness.
It’s a time commitment for sure, but cold brew remains the best iced coffee to make at home because it is so easy, and the result is so delicious.
One of the coffee brewing methods we use least frequently for iced coffee, but still deserves an honorable mention, is the Moka pot.
While it brews delicious coffee without a doubt, this particular method yields a strong stovetop espresso rather than a 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.
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 at an even faster rate. Iced coffee will last a few hours at most, after which it will start to 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 hot coffee that is poured over ice and consumed cold. The ice dilutes the coffee. An iced latte, on the other hand, 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.
Is iced coffee just coffee with ice?
Yes, yes, it is. However, the term “iced coffee” has become synonymous with many different 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 can also refer to Japanese-style iced coffee, which is hot coffee brewed directly over ice.