What’s not to love about iced coffee? It’s refreshing, yummy and keeps our caffeine levels at an even keel when it’s the dead of summer and we can’t stomach the thought of drinking a hot cup of joe.
Look, we’ll drink cheap iced coffee black with an old package of Sweet ‘N Low if we have to — but in this day and age, there’s really no excuse for suffering through a yucky brew. Follow these tips and you’ll never look back.
1. Ask for half ice
Want to get the most bang for your buck? When ordering iced coffee at a shop, ask for half ice. They keep the coffee itself cold anyway, so you don’t have to worry about sipping a warm brew.
2. Make iced coffee in an instant
If planning ahead for cold brew is too much work, just make a stronger-than-usual batch of coffee, then pour it over a glass full of ice. The hot coffee will melt the ice, becoming the right strength and temperature in a matter of minutes.
3. Use your French press
The easiest way to make cold brew? In a French press! Add coffee grounds and cold water to the carafe of your French press, then refrigerate overnight. Use the plunger as you normally would the next day for perfect cold brew, no messy straining necessary.
4. Ask for two cups
To avoid condensation making a mess of your desk, ask for two cups when you get your iced coffee — the one your beverage comes in, and a paper hot coffee cup to place the cold cup in. The condensation will drip off your plastic cup and into the paper cup instead of all over your desk.
5. Wrap it with napkins
If you can’t swing two cups, simply wrapping your cup in a double layer of napkins should be enough to prevent condensation from wreaking havoc on your day.
6. Bring your own bottle
For the ultimate long-lasting iced coffee, bring a double-walled, stainless steel water bottle or travel mug to the coffee shop. It will keep your beverage icy cold until the last sip, and condensation will be the furthest thing from your mind.
7. Make coffee cubes
If you hate watery coffee, try this trick. Make ice cubes out of leftover coffee, and use those to chill your next cup. They won’t dilute your coffee as they melt.
8. Or make flavored cubes
But you don’t have to stop at plain coffee cubes. Cream ice cubes, chocolate ice cubes, salted caramel ice cubes — all will enhance the flavor of your drink as they melt.
9. Shake it up
For extra-cold coffee, try shaking it with ice as you would a cocktail.
10. Use simple syrup
Avoid grains of sugar that go unmelted in your iced coffee by sweetening it with simple syrup.
11. Blend it
Craving something frosty? Make your iced coffee as usual, then throw the whole thing in the blender.
12. Make it fizzy
Jazz up your usual coffee routine with some refreshing bubbles. Try mixing a shot of espresso with tonic water or mixing coffee and seltzer in a glass over ice.
13. Sprinkle with salt
Adding a pinch of sea salt to your coffee can do a couple of things. If you drink black coffee, a sprinkle of salt can make it taste less bitter. If you prefer a creamy, sweet brew, then a dash of salt can bring out the flavors in your beverage. Try it with an iced caramel latte.
Originally published May 2016. Updated June 2017.