Making Iced Coffee Drinks at Home

Cooking - Making Iced Coffee Drinks at Home

Do you love iced coffee drinks, but you no longer want to spend the money going through your favorite drive-thru? You can have the same great taste at home without spending a lot on the drinks you love. In a matter of moments, you can enjoy frappuccinos, iced lattes, iced mochas, and many more. It does not even require a fancy espresso machine!

You can make iced coffee drinks with your standard coffee maker, although you can buy a $20 espresso machine and professionally make your espresso shots if you wish.

Espresso and the Machine

Authentic iced coffee drinks are made with espresso shots, which means espresso beans are used. Practically any store that carries coffee will have espresso beans. You want beans rather than ground espresso to keep your coffee fresh for each use. 

Iced coffee drinks are made with a certain amount of espresso. In a 12 oz cup, you usually get 1 or 2 shots of espresso, which is about 1 to 2 ounces of caffeine.

An espresso machine is designed to be exact in the pour. It takes 20 seconds for a good shot of espresso. Any shorter and it can be weak, and any longer can create a bitter taste.

Most inexpensive espresso machines are not as exact because you pour in enough water to get the steam wand to work after the shot is poured. You will need to time the shot to get the right strength.

Espresso machines usually provide two shots based on the basket size. So, if you want a larger drink with more caffeine, you need to run more than one basket filled with espresso grounds.

If you are going to use a coffee machine for your iced coffee drinks, you need to add the proper amount of grounds based on your machine’s minimum water needs.

For example, you can buy single-cup coffee machines, but most of us have 4-cup options. If you need a minimum of four cups of water, you need at least 3 full scoops of grounds. You will also use just enough to make your iced coffee drink, which may be 1 ounce to 4 ounces based on the number of shots you want.

You can also use a French press to create the coffee. A French press requires the grounds in the bottom of the glass carafe, with hot water poured over the top. You then allow the water and grounds to sit for five minutes before pushing the grounds down and pouring the coffee out.

Now that we have the basics of the machine and the coffee options, we can look at making iced coffee drinks at home based on some favorite recipes.

Equipment Required

The following are required to help you make the iced coffee drinks you love.

  • Coffee grinder
  • Coffee / Espresso machine
  • Coffee scoop
  • Measuring cup
  • Shot glass (with ounces written on it)
  • Blender


The main ingredients include the following:

  • Ice
  • Coffee grounds
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Flavorings
  • Sugar

Depending on the type of drinks you like, you may have a more specific ingredient list; however, you always want to have ice, milk, coffee grounds, and water on hand to make the basic iced coffee drink.

Simple Iced Coffee

This is the most uncomplicated and most straightforward coffee drink you can make.

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Ice

Brew your coffee as you usually would, even if you want an entire pot. Based on 4 cups of coffee, you would like to fill the water carafe for the 4 cups. In the filter, place at least 3 heaping scoops of ground coffee. Brew the coffee.

In your cup, put ice to the top. This ice is going to melt and make the coffee a little less strong. This is why you want to adapt your brewing options based on the strength you prefer. If you like strong coffee, you might add at least 1 more heaping scoop of coffee than you usually use for hot coffee.

Once the coffee and the ice mix and the drink cools down, you have the perfect iced coffee.

Flat White, Cappuccino, Latte

You might not know the difference between a flat white and a latte. Most people don’t until they ask; thus, you might wonder how a flat white can become an iced drink. A flat white has espresso and steamed milk; however, you don’t steam the milk with an iced drink. The fact is, lattes are meant to have foam on the top, whereas a flat white has less foam. It has a thin layer rather than about half an inch of foam. By this definition, any iced milk drink with espresso is closer to a flat white.

You usually make both latte and flat white by pouring the milk into the cup first and then adding the espresso so you can make a design on top of the foam.

A cappuccino is mostly froth, nearly a full cup of it, rather than milk. There is a wet and dry cappuccino. A wet cappuccino leaves a little milk to drink but places quite a bit of frothy milk on the top. A dry cappuccino has no milk, just espresso, foam. From this explanation, you can understand why you cannot have a cappuccino as an iced drink. You do not heat the milk, froth it, and place it in a cup. Of course, the term Frappuccino comes from blending ice and milk, which does create a froth-like substance, so in that respect, you could argue that frappuccinos are more like cappuccinos than they are lattes or flat whites. It is up to you and your thoughts as to how that works out.

Syrup Talk

Numerous flavors exist, and you can shop online or in most coffee stores to get your favorite syrups. There are at least fifty different options, and then you can add in concepts like sugar-free or alternative sugar flavors. Mixing the flavors can also provide a beautiful combination for your drink.

A favorite is cinnamon macadamia nut lattes because the macadamia nut flavors the espresso while the cinnamon follows up with a nice spice.

When it comes to iced drinks, you will want to add the syrup to the hot coffee to mix and settle.

Any time a person does not care for the bitterness or acidity in their coffee bean from experience, you allow the coffee and syrup to mix. It cools for ten minutes, the flavor of the syrup mixes better with the taste and ensures a smoother flavor for your tastebuds.

Iced Vanilla Latte

One of the most popular iced coffee drinks from our favorite café is the Iced Vanilla Latte. You will need brewed coffee, milk, vanilla, and ice.

  • 2 cups of coffee, brewed and chilled
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla
  • 1 cup of ice

Hot coffee will automatically melt the ice, so you definitely want to chill the coffee before adding it together for this drink. An iced vanilla latte is not mixed in a blender but is just a drink with ice.

Take the coffee, brewed to your favorite strength level, and chill it for a few minutes in the fridge. In the container with the coffee, add the milk, the vanilla, and the ice. Stir. Pour the drink into a glass and add some whipped topping, and you are ready to enjoy your favorite latte at home.

Iced Vanilla Frappuccino

You can take your iced vanilla latte one step further and create a Frappuccino. Fraps are essentially blended lattes and mochas. You cannot turn a cappuccino or black and white into a blended iced drink. However, you can make a flat white or black and white into an iced drink.

Let’s learn about Frappuccino’s made from lattes. You will use the same ingredients as the iced vanilla latte to make a vanilla Frappuccino.

The difference with a Frappuccino is what you do once the coffee is chilled. You will put all the ingredients into the blender and choose the smoothie setting to blend everything. After about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on your blender, you will have your iced vanilla latte in a Frappuccino-style drink. Add the whipped topping, and you are good to go.

Iced Mocha

Mochas are espresso and chocolate milk or milk with chocolate syrup. The traditional mocha is made with chocolate syrup; however, if you like to buy chocolate milk, you can skip the mixing step.

  • 2 tablespoons Chocolate syrup or chocolate milk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups brewed coffee or as many espresso shots as you wish
  • 1 cup of ice

You will make your espresso or coffee and chill it for a few minutes in the fridge.

If you use chocolate syrup, you will need to mix the milk and syrup together before pouring the coffee into the container. Add the coffee and give the mixture a good stir. Add the ice and then put your drink into a cup and add whipped topping.

Mocha Frappuccino

Like the iced vanilla latte, you can use a blender to create the mocha Frappuccino. You use the exact ingredient amounts and then blend the drink together, which also helps mix the chocolate better if you use syrup. The suggested amount of chocolate syrup is also based on creating a well-balanced amount of chocolate flavor, but you can adjust based on your preferences.

The best part about iced mochas and Frappuccinos is adding in flavors. Any iced coffee drink, blended or not, can be enhanced with a favorite flavor, such as Irish cream, hazelnut, toffee, vanilla, caramel, macadamia nut, cinnamon, and many other options.

Black and White

Like beer has the concept of black and tan, where you have a dark and light beer mixed together, a black and white espresso drink is meant to be a layered concept where the espresso sits on the bottom and milk is perfectly on top. Once you start to drink it, the espresso comes through the milk and mixes to form what is essentially a latte.

You have the option of creating an iced coffee drink with a black and white look. It is simple. Brew your coffee, put the ice in, and with a gentle hand, pour the milk in. The ice, coffee, and milk density will create a nice line between the espresso and milk to give you a favorite look.

Eventually, the two liquids will mix, and you can enjoy your iced coffee.

Iced Coffee Cubes

You can also make drinks with coffee ice cubes. Are you in a hurry some mornings? Perhaps you don’t have time to always brew your coffee? On a day off, you can make iced coffee cubes. Brew the coffee as you usually would. Once everything is brewed, you can pour the coffee into ice cube trays.

Set the trays in your freezer and let them solidify.

Now, each morning, take out as many ice cubes as you want, add milk, and wait for the ice cubes to start melting and mixing with your milk.

You may want to take the milk out of the fridge for a few minutes and let the ice cubes stay in a cup for about ten minutes before you pour everything together. This can allow the cubes to melt a little.

Wrapping Up the Perfect Drink

Your imagination is the limit when it comes to iced coffee drinks at home. All it takes is flavored coffee, flavored syrups, and the right ingredients. The machine you use to brew your coffee is also up to you and the time you want to devote to the perfect drink.

Professional baristas are going to use an espresso machine. Coffee aficionados will choose a French press for the perfect brew, but it doesn’t matter if you choose a regular coffee machine. You just want to ensure the brewed coffee is to your taste.

Chances are, if you have always made coffee, then you know how many grounds to water ratio is your favorite. Use that knowledge to make your iced coffee drinks at home. The best baristas play around with machines, flavors, and grounds until they find the perfect combination.

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