How to Make Iced Coffee Better Than Your Local Coffee Shop

How To Make Iced Coffee

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Yesterday my world was turned upside down.

I strolled into one of my favorite coffee shops, ordered my usual cold brew iced coffee, sat down and took a sip.

Yuck! It was almost undrinkable. Extremely bitter and not what I was accustomed to from a place that usually makes unbeatable cold brew coffee.

Was it just a fluke?

Sure, it might have been an anomaly, but I think I’ve finally come to a point where I can make better iced coffee than most coffee places.

I’m not even saying this to be arrogant. To me, it really just comes down to a few things…and the reality is that most coffee shops still haven’t caught on to it.

So how can you make iced coffee that tastes better than what you would get at your local coffee shop? Read on.

1. Slow Drip With Cold Water

Most cafés make their iced coffee through 1 or 2 common methods:

1) Brew coffee as you normally would, throw the coffee in the fridge, serve with ice

2) Immerse ground coffee in cold water, stir, let sit for 16+ hours

Sure, both methods work, and sure, both methods make decent iced coffee. But neither make the best iced coffee.

The best iced coffee comes from a slow drip brewer, with cold water.

2. Freshly Ground Coffee

This applies to any coffee you make, but freshly ground coffee beans will always make better coffee. So try and avoid pre-ground coffee when making your iced coffee.

3. Variable Grind Settings

When you get iced coffee at a coffee shop, you are stuck drinking whatever they serve you. This means that they got to choose how finely ground your coffee beans were.

The problem with this is that different grinds will yield different results, so if you aren’t able to adjust the grind of your coffee, you won’t be able to adjust your brew to your tastebuds.

4. The Right Brewer

Sure, you could make iced coffee with a large stockpot, as the folks at blue bottle coffee outline here, but if you want to take the slow drip route you’re going to need equipment that is a bit fancier.

I wrote about the Bruer just a few weeks ago, and I’m really loving it so far. It is the brewer that made my iced coffee taste better than my favorite coffee shop’s version.

If the Bruer is a little bit outside of your budget, then you can break rule #1 above and use a Toddy or Filtron cold brewer…but let me be honest, the result just isn’t quite as good.

Can You Beat Your Local Iced Coffee?

Now that you know my not-so-secret secrets, I’m gonna challenge you to beat your own local coffee shops iced coffee with some cold brewed iced coffee that you’ve made yourself.

To recap, you’ll need the following at the very least:

  • Cold water
  • Freshly ground coffee (on the coarser side)
  • Time and patience

Everything else is just a bonus…but I highly recommend you try out both immersion (Toddy) and slow drip (Bruer) to see which resulting coffee concentrate you prefer.

Let me know how it goes in the comments section below!


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  • Benji, I always love your reviews and I totally believe you’ve found the nirvana way to get great iced coffee. Ever since you reviewed the Bruer I’ve been pining for one. It’s a little pricey but I’m saving for it. I had a Toddy and I didn’t like it — it was messy, made out of cheap material, and I couldn’t get the plug out half the time to drain the coffee so I threw it away. I’ve made great cold brewed coffee with just a stock pot and big strainer and that’s what I’m doing til I can pop for the Bruer. I never would have even known about the Bruer without your review.

    Thanks for always staying on top of the coffee world for us coffee fanatics.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Karen. It means a lot!

      I’ll have to try making some cold brew with a stock pot. Was there a particular tutorial you followed to do this? I’d love to see it.

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