Coffee is an incredibly versatile beverage. That’s why there are more than one ways to elevate iced coffee. A steaming cup of coffee is perfect for warming you up when the temperature drops. But what if you’re addicted to iced coffee? Nothing beats iced coffee if you’re looking for some unique refreshment.
Are you pouring a cooled hot brew over ice and calling it iced coffee? If so, the result will probably be a weak, watered-down drink with messy puddles of ice. When you do it right, though, the result will be creamy, flavorful, and aromatic to boot!
So, what happens if you don’t find your cold brew as rich, chocolatey, and refreshing as you’d like? Just read on; here’s how you can elevate iced coffee right at home.
How to Elevate Iced Coffee at Home: Tips to Excel Your Coffee Game
By now, you must be tempted enough to wonder how to elevate iced coffee without leaving home. These tips seem the easiest to start with.
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Invest in some syrups
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One reason why those fancy coffee shops and even chain coffee places charge top dollar for your drink is that they use all those fancy and delicious syrups. Fortunately, it’s possible to buy some of your favorite flavors and keep them at home for a fraction of the overall cost. That way, you can add a shot of syrup to your iced coffee and save a few bucks every week.
When it comes to syrups to elevate iced coffee at home, you can start off with the safe basics; chocolate, caramel, and maple syrup. When it’s time to be more adventurous, try out some of the more different combinations. You can go for strawberry, gingerbread, or peppermint syrup for a festive touch. You can also make one at home by following the basic recipe.
Try the Japanese method
Making iced coffee might present a conundrum to newbies. On the one hand, brewing in cold water doesn’t result in a lot of flavor or strength. Then again, you don’t want the acidic and warm result of brewing coffee with hot water for iced coffee.
When you’re looking to elevate iced coffee, the Japanese method provides an essential twist. It counts the volume of the ice cubes you use and the water for brewing the coffee. That means that you end up using a strong concentrated coffee brew while using the melting ice to dilute as needed.
The recommended ratio in the method is keeping two-thirds of the liquid from the brew and one-third from the ice cubes. One such recipe calls for an ounce of light roast coffee beans, 5 ounces of ice, 12 ounces of water heated to 96 degrees centigrade, and a drip coffee maker. Pour an ounce of water over the ground beans, leave for 30 seconds, and then slowly add the rest of the liquid.
Use the right kind of water
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You might be tempted to use tap water for your coffee. But try filtered water to elevate iced coffee at some point. This won’t increase the cost too much, but the drink’s flavor and even the way it feels will be a bit better.
The next time you want to make iced coffee, fill up the pot with the freshest filtered water you can get. You should also keep in mind that the water should have been in the filter jug for around two hours at least.
You can make the results even better by using filtered water for the ice cubes. For this, though, you’ll have to fill up the tray a night before so that the cubes are ready to put in the drink when it’s finished.
Make the grind coarse or even extra coarse
A coarse grind looks like sea salt, while an extra coarse grind of coffee will be more like peppercorns. The beans from these types of grinds are also relatively larger than with fine grind. So, the resulting pieces are larger and chunkier.
These are the grinds that work well for cold brew and iced coffee. When you want to elevate iced coffee, opt for this setting in your coffee grinder or purchase the pre-ground ones. They’ll give you a somewhat weaker coffee, but the flavor will be smoother and not overpowering in a cold drink.
When you pass water over a coarser grind, it won’t saturate the beans right away. The process will be a bit slower, with the water passing through every small piece and over their outer layers.
Up your coffee bean game
The logic is simple. If you get fresh coffee beans of good quality, any brew you make will turn out better than otherwise. The same applies when you want to elevate iced coffee. Quality beans will give you a better (and less bitter) taste.
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Getting quality beans is even more important for iced coffee than with hot cuppas. The warmth in hot coffee mellows its flavor. So, it ends up masking any imperfections. With iced coffee, though, you have less room for error. Make the switch today. Your cold beverage will end up feeling and tasting more sophisticated than before.
Low-acid, medium roasts are best in such cases, or any kind of coffee with floral or fruit flavor notes. You can also try to opt for roasts that give a hint of dessert: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, etc.
Use coffee for ice cubes
When you have some cold-brewed coffee left, don’t pour it down the drain. Put it into an ice tray and freeze it to cool down your next batch. This will elevate iced coffee by providing that chill factor while also ensuring that the drink isn’t overly diluted. Ice cubes from cold brew coffee will give you the best results. But you can use any kind of black coffee for this purpose.
It’s also possible to get a bit creative with these ice cubes. You can skip extra steps and make customized cubes by adding chocolate chips, syrups, cinnamon, or other mix-ins that will elevate iced coffee to a whole other level. There are even ice cube trays that can make fun shapes with your leftover coffee. Besides, having the right coffee accessories do matter.
Make a lot in one go
The next time you make iced coffee, make a large batch all at once. This will save a lot of time when you want the same drink again. Of course, you can always switch things up by adding different syrups, milk, and so on.
It’s usually safe to store the iced coffee in a container. Just make sure the container is refrigerator-safe or else made of glass. That way, you’ll be able to have your cup of joe whenever you want it during the day or night.
You can also save space by making your coffee batch double-strength. Add the milk as needed when you want more. This is also a logical step if there are several coffee drinkers at home — all with different preferences for milk, ice, and sugar.
Explore milk alternatives
Even if you don’t usually go for non-dairy milk, try making use of it in the next batch of iced coffee. Believe it or not, iced coffee with soy, oat, or almond milk and cream might actually be creamier than real dairy versions.
You also get a whole lot of options with non-dairy. So, it’s a lot of fun changing up the flavors with every new cup of coffee! If you use nut milk like cashew or almond, the result will be a creamy, nutty finish for your beverage.
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During the summer, coconut milk is one of the best ways to cool you down. When you add it to your iced coffee, you get a creamy appearance and feel.
Use your French press
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Cold brew coffee calls for a smooth touch. One of the best ways to start it off is to use a French press. You can do this by first filling up the French press using fresh water on top of the roasted and ground beans. Then, leave the mixture to steep. It’ll have a stronger flavor if you leave it overnight.
Once you think the coffee mixture is at the required strength, you can press the French press and pour the extract over ice cubes. Add any kind and any amount of milk you like, stir it all up, and enjoy!
Filter the cold brew
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The sign of a quality cold brew is that it’s silky smooth and dark in appearance. When using a French press, it’s possible to filter the brew one more time by putting it through a coffee filter. With this step, you take all the traces of the ground out of your drink.
Filtering the cold coffee brew as much as possible will make sure that your drink is smooth and enjoyable. Since there’s no heat to dissolve any remnants, filtering is the next best thing to ensure that your experience isn’t spoilt.
In case you’re not using a French press, there’s always the option of using a sieve with a fine mesh to strain the coffee extract. You can even use a cheesecloth for smoother results.
Sip on at Home!
If you haven’t tried to elevate iced coffee yet, try out some of the tips above and see the difference! A tall glass of that cooling brew will give you your caffeine fix on a sweltering day.
Of course, elevating your iced coffee to the next level will require some effort. Once you taste the difference, though, there might be no going back. Who knows, these steps might have you skipping trips to your local coffee shop. If all these tips and tricks seem a bit overwhelming, just go with one and enjoy your upgraded brew!