20 Iced Coffee Drinks to Jump-Start Your Day
Bored with your daily brew? Wake up to these iced coffee recipes from around the world! From fun flavor combinations to iced coffee cocktails, find a new cup of iced Joe that speaks to you.
I've been a fan of coffee ever since Friends was first on TV in the early '90s, back when hanging out at coffee shops and drinking vanilla lattes out of a cup as large as my head was a thing. Fortunately, coffee drink options only continued to grow exponentially from those Central Perk days.
Thanks to the popularity of Starbucks, seasons are signaled by pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas. And with an increasingly global perspective on food, our world has opened up to include the coffee drinks of other cultures.
If you're a regular iced coffee drinker and are looking to switch up your routine and your drink, here are some of the best iced coffee recipes around, from flavored options to boozy ones.
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Iced coffee Q&A
Everything you want to know about iced coffee is right here, from how to make it to whether it can go bad.
What is iced coffee?
The quick and easy definition is that iced coffee is brewed coffee cooled and then poured over ice. But since the ice will dilute the coffee, it's best to first brew it strong. Or you can make ice cubes out of coffee to chill the drink and supercharge it at the same time.
How to make iced coffee?
There are actually many ways to make iced coffee besides pouring brewed coffee over ice. You can use any method to make your coffee, such as pourover, Aeropress or French press, and then pour over ice. Or to make an Italian shakerato, pour brewed espresso in an ice-filled cocktail shaker with some simple syrup and sweetened condensed milk, shake, and strain into a glass.
How to make iced coffee with instant coffee?
Measure out the recommended amount of instant coffee and stir it into a glass of water until it's completely mixed in. Then add ice and your choice of sweetener and/or creamer.
How long does iced coffee last?
A few reasons you'd want to drink iced coffee as soon as you make it is that the ice will dilute it and the longer it sits, the more bitter it will get. If it's made without milk, drink it within 12 hours if it's kept at room temperature or three to four days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. But if there is milk in it, consume it right away just to be safe.
What is the difference between cold brew coffee vs. iced coffee?
For one, the brewing methods are different. Iced coffee is brewed coffee (French press, pourover, etc.) that is then poured over ice. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarse-ground coffee in cold water for at least 12 hours. Unlike brewed coffee, the cold brew method uses time instead of heat to extract the coffee from the grounds. Cold brew coffee can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, unlike brewed coffee, which only lasts a few days. Cold brew coffee is also less acidic than brewed coffee and therefore kinder to your stomach.
Can iced coffee go bad?
Brewed coffee oxidizes and starts to taste off and more bitter after a half-hour. Bacteria can start to grow on old coffee left out at room temperature after four to seven days, while old iced coffee with milk isn't safe to consume after two hours sitting at room temperature.
Can iced coffee drinks be made out of decaf coffee?
You can make iced coffee drinks out of any coffee beans you want, including decaf coffee. Just use your preferred method to brew the coffee.
Iced coffee variations
Looking for something outside the usual iced coffee method of pouring hot coffee over ice? Try these very different but easy recipes.
Let's face it, the only real "healthy iced coffee" is one without any creamer or sweetener. But this iced coffee recipe is for those who need that little something in their java. Here it's sweetened with your choice of honey, maple syrup, agave, or Stevia and mellowed out with low-fat or skim milk.
This iced coffee recipe takes a different approach by having you freeze your coffee into ice cubes. Perfect use of leftover coffee, if you happen to have any for some reason. And with this method, melted coffee ice cubes simply means more coffee versus overdilution. Make sure to use silicone ice cube trays, which you can find on Amazon, for easy removal.
If an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) just doesn't do it for you on a hot day, try this iced coffee recipe. Combine coffee, lemon, and sugar together, then pour it over tonic or sparkling water for a refreshing effervescence. For this one you'll need cold brew concentrate, which you can either DIY or pick up at the grocery store — or you can simply use cooled coffee.
Supercharge your cola with a tablespoon of instant coffee. In Brazil, they enjoy this combination with the addition of chocolate milk. But here, half-and-half provides the perfect amount of creaminess. Keep in mind, this cola drink is definitely not for kids unless you don't mind their bouncing off the walls.
Sate that frappuccino craving with this keto diet-friendly treat. While a 16-ounce Starbucks frapp can contain as much as 50 grams of carbohydrates, this recipe claims it only has less than 2 carbs. In addition to coffee, it's made with unsweetened almond milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and keto-friendly sweetener.
Flavored iced coffee
Why have plain iced coffee when you can add fun and delicious flavors to the mix?
The great thing about this easy recipe, which would be perfect for a hot summer afternoon, is that it allows you to customize it according to your sense of adventure. Play around with chocolate, cardamom spice or vanilla extract.
If you want to cut back on your sugar intake, try this spiced iced coffee drink. The only "sweet" component is a bit of grated dark chocolate. Still, with that mix of coconut cream, cinnamon, and chili, it makes for an enticing pick-me-up that's also so easy to throw together.
For an extra decadent coffee drink, whip up this liquid dessert recipe, which makes enough for five servings. Here, there's no cheating with store-bought salted caramel. You make your own! But it's super easy and worth it, providing just the right ooh-factor when you serve the drinks to your guests.
Amazingly this recipe was created by someone who doesn't like sugar or cream in her coffee. But made with chocolate coffee ice cubes, cold brew coffee, and honey-sweetened vanilla coconut milk, it'll win any coffee lover over. And it is estimated to have 76 kcal.
Can't make it to the coffee shop for your daily mocha run? You probably already have the fixings to make an iced mocha coffee at home. Best part is you can make it as sweet (or not sweet) as you want, adjusting the amount of brown sugar or chocolate syrup to your tastes.
Iced coffee around the world
Coffee lovers can be found everywhere the world over, with every country claiming they have the best version of a coffee drink. But with such an array of options to choose from, we're all winners.
This whipped coffee gorgeousness, which is popular throughout the Middle East and Asia, was the It drink in early 2020. Beware that although it seems simple enough to make with only three ingredients of instant coffee, sugar, and water, it takes a frenzy of hand-whipping (a reported 400 stirs) to get that smooth, fluffy, camera-ready texture. Or you can use a hand blender.
Fun fact: Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer behind Brazil and therefore takes its coffee rituals seriously. And a popular way to drink it is to balance out strong, bitter coffee with sweetened condensed milk. The traditional way to brew the coffee in Vietnam is by using a French drip filter, a remnant from the French Colonial days.
In Australia, "iced coffee" means "coffee topped with ice cream and whipped cream." Unlike the coffee-ice cream drink known as the affogato, which uses hot espresso, this method incorporates cold coffee. It's also extra creamy with the addition of whole milk, which you can swap out for the milk alternative of your choice, be it almond milk or coconut milk.
Earthy, warm cardamom spices marry with the floral notes of rosewater in this beautiful Persian-style iced coffee drink. Preparing it takes some cooking: Heat whole milk, crushed cardamom, and rosewater in a saucepan so they're thoroughly incorporated. You'll then strain out the cardamom and chill the mixture to be mixed with coffee over ice.
"Es Alpukat" translates to "avocado juice" in Indonesian, but in this coffee drink it replaces milk as the creamy component, making for a rich, creamy shake that you can enjoy with breakfast or after dinner. If you want a little something extra, drizzle it with chocolate syrup.
Put your cocktail shaker to good use with this iced coffee variation. The Italian original calls for espresso but you could easily sub in your favorite strong coffee. Then add sugar and ice and shake a good 20 seconds. Even though there's no alcohol involved, you strain it into a cocktail glass, no ice.
Iced coffee cocktails
Transition to nighttime or day drinking with a little spirit in your iced coffee.
Even a summer day can be St. Patrick's Day with this delicious Irish Iced Coffee. You basically make it the same way you'd make a regular Irish coffee but add it to an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake, and then strain into a pint glass over fresh ice.
Spike your iced coffee with a tropical flair in this super easy recipe. All you need is coconut-flavored vodka to add to your tall glass of coffee, cream, and ice. Then top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted coconut.
Turn your favorite coffee cookie into a boozy concoction. Amaretto liqueur and Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur, combine to recreate the flavor of biscotti. This recipe, which makes eight servings, is perfect as an after-dinner treat.
Bourbon with maraschino liqueur, demerara syrup, and a few dashes of absinthe combine with cooled brewed coffee for a cozy and well-crafted iced coffee cocktail.