It wasn’t that long ago that the iced coffee served in Australian Cafes was a tall glass filled with milk, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate(?)…and instant coffee. While I love me a good old coffee-flavoured milkshake from time to time, I’m afraid that’s just not going to cut it as an ‘iced coffee’ anymore. So, what’s a barista to do? Here’s three different methods to make an iced coffee that A) tastes like coffee & B) doesn’t have 10,000 calories.

Method 1: Espresso

espresso over ice
  1. Grab a 300-350ml glass (or a clear 12oz take-away cup)
  2. Add ice up to 1/3
  3. Fill with full-cream milk, leaving a 2cm gap at the top
  4. Pour a fresh double espresso over the top
Why not ice-cream? It’s delicious, sure. But then it’s not an ‘every day’ drink you can switch to from your usual flat white, latte, etc. when the weather gets hot. For the hard core ice-cream people, you could always give them the option - in which case you replace the ice with a single scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. What about sugar? The human body perceives food as less sweet at lower temperatures, so the espresso will naturally taste more ‘edgy’ than when served hot (read here to geek out on that). Some people are quite happy as is, others will want some sweetening. Normal sugar isn’t going to dissolve in the cold liquid, so a liquid sugar is your best bet. I avoid flavour syrups as they add their own flavour to the coffee. Instead, try Agave nectar or make a simple syrup (1 part raw sugar dissolved in 1 part hot water). The alternative is to try a brewing method that naturally tastes smooth served cold…

Method 2: Cold Brew

cold brew methods Also known as cold drip or cold press. Either way, it’s simply a method for brewing coffee with cold (or room-temperature) water. The benefits: lower acidity than hot-brewed coffee. You can brew it bulk and store it in the fridge ready to go. The downside: it needs to brew overnight & it has a lower yield (i.e. it costs more). You can use a fancy, japanese-style dripper or a more practical ‘toddy’ brewer. For me, the ‘bucket’ method is the simplest, and best-tasting. You’ll need a saucepan and a paper filter bag like this or some fine muslin / cheesecloth. To make a 1 Lt batch:
  1. Weigh out 400g coffee (Blends work ok, or go for a natural-process ethiopian coffee for a deep fruity style)
  2. Grind it medium-coarse - somewhere between plunger (press) and drip filter - and add it to the filter bag
  3. Put the bag in the saucepan (at least 2.5 Lt capacity)
  4. pour 1800ml of cold, filtered water over the grinds and stir
  5. Tie off the top of the bag, put the lid on the saucepan and leave on the counter to brew for at least 12 hours (up to 24hrs)
  6. In the morning, lift the bag and squeeze out the remaining coffee
  7. bottle it up in something with an airtight seal.
You can serve it up as a shot (50-100ml) over ice, or dilute it with milk (1 part cold brew to 2 parts milk) or in any number of other creative ways. To really take it to the next level, you can even dispense cold brew using a beer tap system with Nitrogen (like a Guiness). For more on how that works, read here And, if all of that is a bit too much, you can always just buy one that we prepared earlier.

Method 3: Iced Filter Coffee

iced filter coffee This is simply filter coffee poured over ice. It can be made with a Pourover, Aeropress or even a batch brewer. When it’s made well, it lets the bright, fruity flavours of a light roasted coffee come through. Work well with washed (wet-process) coffees with plenty of natural acidity (like a Kenya, Panama, Costa Rica, etc) The trick to avoid watery, lukewarm results is to halve the amount of brewing water you would usually use. Here’s an example using an Aeropress:
  1. Weigh out 15g (roughly 1 Aeropress scoop worth) and grind it on a medium (paper filter) setting
  2. Grab a sturdy glass and fill it to the top with ice
  3. Put the brewer on the glass & pour water from the kettle over the coffee until it comes up to the top of the ‘2’ (100g water to be accurate)
  4. Give the coffee a quick stir and wait 1 minute
  5. Put the plunger onto the brewer and press down - not too hard, just let it press down smoothly
You can serve it up black, or with a small amount of milk (the amount you would use for a tea) or even better, cream.
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