Cold-Brewed Coffee is the Secret to Iced Coffees…and Iced Mochas…and Frozen Blends

I love summer.

You see, I teach and have the summers free. I need the break. I adore the break. The break rejuvenates me for another busy school year of grading stack after stack of English papers written by high school students.

I’ve been perusing many food blogs this summer from bloggers all across the country. Some of them have begun writing about their desires for the fall season to arrive.


How dare they? Seems somehow sacrilegious to me to want summer to end.

But they dream of stews and pumpkin pies and hearty spices…and cooler weather. I understand.

Hubby and I traveled east this summer to visit family in Ohio and West Virginia plus we toured Washington D.C. The heat–yes, the miserable humid heat. Ugh. I couldn’t stand it and yearned to come home to my beautiful sunny Southern California by the beach with the cool ocean breezes in the afternoons. Although I love the abundance of towering green trees everywhere in the east, I wouldn’t trade it for the awesome temperate climate here in Southern Cal.

So although many in the world of food blogging are dreaming of the warmer and heartier food fare that comes along with cooler fall weather, my mind and the weather are still calling for cooler treats. And knowing how our California climate works, I expect we’ll experience another heatwave or two through October.

By then we teachers will be back to work, many sipping away on piping hot, caffeine-loaded coffee to pop those eyelids open to provide energy for tackling the lesson plans and the grading. Rather than sipping hot java during the sweltering opening days of the school year, I love a chilly iced coffee to cool my system instead.

And this summer I discovered a recipe for making rich, smooth, silky iced coffee.

The trick is to cold brew the granules, for using hot-brewed coffee poured over ice creates a bitter tasting product. And it melts the ice, leaving behind a lukewarm drink. I don’t know the scientific explanations behind this cold-brew method; all I know is that it works.

You need a bit of lead time here. The recipe calls for soaking the granules in water for anywhere from a few hours to overnight, hence the term “cold brew.” Once the granules are sifted out, you are left with rich, silky, smooth coffee–especially if you sweeten with simple syrup rather than granulated sugar. And simple sugar is simply an equal ratio of water and sugar, boiled until the sugar dissolves. I keep a container in the fridge.

Another plus: the cold-brewed coffee keeps for quite awhile–like up to a month from what I’ve read. Just tuck it away in the fridge in a pitcher and you have enough brew to make quite a few iced coffees. I made my brew about two weeks ago, have had about one iced coffee a day, and am not even halfway through my pitcher. And that is even with halving the original recipe.

Love iced mochas? Just add some chocolate syrup.

Love caramel-infused cold coffee? Just add some caramel syrup.

Love Starbuck’s frappucchinos? Just combine your drink with ice in a blender.

Such a versatile item, this cold-brewed coffee.

Iced Coffee 

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  • 16 oz. ground coffee (the fresher the ground coffee, the better)
  • 8 quarts cold water
  • basically, this is a 4:1 ratio of water to ground coffee (4 cups water:1 cup ground coffee), but adjust to suit how strong you like your coffee


  1. Combine the ground coffee and cold water in a very large bowl or container. Stir well to moisten all of the coffee granules.
  2. Cover and let sit for 8 hours or overnight. This can sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  3. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth, paper towel, or coffee filter. Pour the cold-brewed coffee through the sieve to remove the grounds.
  4. Store the coffee base in the refrigerator to keep chilled. It should last for up to a month.
  5. Fill a glass with ice. Pour in coffee base. Add sweetener and milk to suit your taste. Enjoy!

Simple Syrup:

Boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water until sugar dissolves. Store in a container for up to two weeks.

Iced Mocha:

Add 1 1/2 tbsp. simple syrup and 1 1/2 tbsp. chocolate syrup to your drink; mix well.

Frozen Blends (similar to Starbuck’s Frappuccinos)

Mocha: In blender, mix 3/4 cup coffee base, 3 tbsp. sugar or simple syrup, 1 cup milk, 2 cups ice, 3 tbsp. chocolate syrup; top with whipped cream if desired.

Caramel: substitute caramel syrup in place of chocolate syrup

Note: adjust measurements to suit your taste buds

Ooooh, Annie’s Eats just posted about making flavored syrups! Do check it out as it will enhance you iced coffee experience.

SOURCES: adapted from Pioneer Woman who adapted it from Imbibe Magazine; also adapted from Annie’s Eats and ABC News

4 thoughts on “Cold-Brewed Coffee is the Secret to Iced Coffees…and Iced Mochas…and Frozen Blends

  1. Pingback: Watermelon Quinoa Salad | Scrumptious and Sumptuous

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