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How to Make the Perfect Iced and Frozen Coffee at Home

I am always on the lookout for ways to make some of my favorite indulgent treats at home for less.  One of those treats happens to be expensive frozen coffee drinks from a particular coffee shop lovingly referred to by some as FourBucks, because that’s the average price for a coffee when you visit. I love my frozen coffee but the cost is just too much for me to justify on a regular basis. That’s why I devoted time to figuring out just how to make my own perfect frozen coffee drink at home.

Step 1:  The Coffee Base

iced coffeeThe most important thing I have learned in trying to replicate the taste that I so enjoy is that you can’t use regular leftover coffee as I have seen some sites recommend.  The taste will be just as bitter as the reheated cup from yesterday that you struggle through when you realize that you woke up late, you are out of coffee and you only have 10 minutes to get to work. In fact, you don’t want to use standard brewed coffee at all for that very reason.

I start with a pound of ground coffee. It doesn’t have to be expensive coffee, in fact I used coffee that we had put aside because we didn’t like it.  I was experimenting after all, and good coffee isn’t cheap.

Put the ground coffee into a large container and add 1 gallon of cool water (filtered is best).  Stir to thoroughly wet all of the coffee and cover the container.  You can either leave this on the counter or refrigerate for 12 hours (or more if you like).  After the time has passed, strain the coffee through a fine mesh strainer or several thicknesses of cheesecloth and refrigerate.

NOTES: I used a fine mesh strainer because I tend to like the finer coffee sediment in my drink – it makes it stronger and daddy loves him some strong coffee. This coffee base should keep in the fridge for about 3-4 weeks if kept well sealed. Adjust the amount of base you make to match how much you’ll use in a month.

Step 2:  The Drink

Here’s where individual taste will come into play, but the general premise will remain the same.

  • Fill a glass with ice

  • Add coffee base to the halfway point

  • Add your sweetener of choice

  • Add flavored syrup if desired.

  • Add milk or half & half to fill

  • For iced coffee, just stir and enjoy

  • For frozen coffee, pour into a blender, whirrrr and enjoy.

That’s the general idea.  For my perfect frozen caramel coffee drink, this was my recipe:

  • Start with a 16 oz glass and fill it with ice.

  • Add coffee base to fill halfway.

  • Add 2 teaspoons of sugar

  • Add 1 Tablespoon of caramel syrup

  • Add milk to fill.

  • Blend until smooth.

iced coffee 2Adjust the amounts to suit your taste and replace the sugar with whatever strikes your fancy. The possibilities are endless.  Want a mocha?  Add chocolate syrup.  Hell, you could even make a chocolate cherry drink with the juice from a jar of maraschinos, unless you were industrious enough to make your own homemade cherry limeade jelly like we did last week and have cherry syrup on hand.

The most important part of the process is to have a good coffee base to work with. From that point you can do whatever you like.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new, after all, it won’t cost you four bucks a glass at home!

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