How to make iced coffee in 4 simple steps

iced coffee in glass
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Every arabica addict should know how to make iced coffee. Once the weather heats up and the mercury soars, it’s important for us coffee lovers to still get our caffeine hit. But, even if you make amazing coffee with one of the best coffee makers around, the warm weather can make the thought of a hot drink really rather off-putting. Rustling up an iced coffee is the perfect way to ensure we can still get past 10am in one piece. 

Thankfully, making iced coffee is not at all hard to do, and doesn’t take very long. So, if the sun comes out unexpectedly, you needn’t scramble for extra ingredients and appliances — you can cool down almost straight away with a refreshing iced beverage that’ll taste like coffee shop quality. Here, we’ll demonstrate how to make an iced latte, and all you’ll need is coffee, milk of some sort and ice, with sugar or sweetener as an optional extra. 

Without further ado, here’s how to make iced coffee.

How to make iced coffee

1. Brew your coffee — The first step is naturally to make the coffee. As we’re making an iced latte, which is primarily milk-based, the best results will come from preparing a small amount of strong coffee, such as an espresso or a Nespresso shot. If you're lucky enough to own one of the best espresso machines or best Nespresso machines, you're off to a perfect start. 

A larger, water-based coffee like an Americano or filter will result in a thin, watery end product, compounded by the fact that the large volume of water will quickly melt the ice we’re soon to add. If you want a water-based cold drink, read our guide on how to make a cold brew coffee. Otherwise, prepare an espresso or Nespresso shot as you usually would. If you don’t have access to either, mix one heaping teaspoon of instant coffee with two tablespoons of water.  

An espresso being poured into an espresso glass

(Image credit: Future)

2. Add sugar or a sweetener (optional) — The best time to sweeten your drink is before we add the ice, which will make it harder to stir and dissolve. After you’ve made the coffee, stir in a teaspoon of demerara sugar or add your usual quantity of artificial sweetener. Alternatively, you could use a teaspoon of honey or a dash of your favorite syrup. 

Iced coffee being made from espresso

(Image credit: Future)

3. Add the ice — If you haven’t already, pour your coffee into a mug, cup or glass. The larger your drinking vessel, the more diluted your iced coffee will be, so choose a size according to your strength preference. Top up with ice cubes

Iced coffee being made from espresso

(Image credit: Future)

4. Add the milk — Now all that remains to do is to add the milk of your choice. The higher the fat content, the thicker the consistency and richer your drink will taste, so try full fat cow’s milk or barista-grade oat milk. Top up with milk, stir and enjoy

The easiest way to drink your iced coffee will be through a straw, unless you take it one step further and make a frappé. To do this, simply pour your drink into a food processor or blender and blend until the ice reaches a slushy consistency.

An iced coffee on a worktop

(Image credit: Future)

You've now made a basic iced latte. While this is delicious as is, it's also a great base to add to, so get experimenting to create the perfect iced coffee for you. You could mix your milk with cocoa powder beforehand to make an iced mocha. Or try adding half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your milk to create a cinnamon latte.  

If you're looking for other ways to make amazing coffee, read our guides on how to make espresso, how to make pour over coffee and how to make French press coffee.

You can also learn how to make other delicious summer treats like ice cream without an ice cream maker at home and you can check out this gadget that has us hooked to hot chocolate even in the summer.

Peter Wolinski
Reviews Editor

Peter is Reviews Editor at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, riding his motorcycle, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.