Everything You Need to Know About Iced Coffee, Iced Espresso Drinks, and Cold Brew

by Cat DeLaus Updated: June 20, 2022 14 min read
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When the weather warms up, I know I find myself very excited for the cold drinks that come along with higher temperatures. Although I’m guilty of drinking iced coffee, cold brew, and iced espresso drinks year-round, there’s something exciting about drinking them when they’re actually weather appropriate. I tested some of the products we offer that you can use to craft your perfect drinks, and I also tried out a few fun tips and recipes that will have you dreaming of warmer days!


A Freshpresso, one of the iced espresso drinks with a recipe below.

Iced Coffee

When the weather starts warming up, it’s iced coffee’s time to shine. The simplicity of iced coffee can be deceiving – though the most basic way to make iced coffee is to just put your regular coffee over ice, this can cause watery tasting coffee that falls flat on flavor. When you’re brewing specifically for iced coffee, though, you can avoid those issues and get a delicious iced drink.

Brewing Iced Coffee
Everything You Need to Know About Iced Coffee, Iced Espresso Drinks, and Cold Brew

Espro P3 Press - 32 oz Black

3 Reviews
The Espro P3 Press offers a high quality affordable coffee press, designed with durable materials and perfect extraction in mind. An 32 oz capacity and BPA, BPS, and phthalate free materials are perfect for serving guests.

The Espro P3 French Press

If you’re on a budget, a french press like the Espro P3 is a great choice. When brewing with a French press for iced coffee, it’s a good idea to brew a little stronger than you actually want your coffee to be since melting iced will dilute your drink. To brew hot coffee in a french press, we recommend using 60g of coffee for 1L of hot water, which is around a 1:16 brew ratio. If you’re planning on making iced coffee, going for a lower brew ratio may be best, though you should adjust and try out different ratios to find what you prefer.

You can also brew cold brew in a french press by adding coffee and water at a 1:7 or 1:8 ratio. Just add your coffee and water into your french press, put the top on (without pushing down the plunger), and let it sit for 12-24 hours.


If you’re looking for how to take your iced coffee to the next level, these tips can help. Keep these ideas in mind to help you get the perfect drink for those warm spring and summer days.


Ice cubes made of coffee to help not dilute your iced coffee.

Make Coffee Ice Cubes

Don’t want to dilute your iced coffee or mess around with brew ratios? Think ahead and create some coffee ice cubes to keep in your freezer. Make sure that if you do this you stick to the same type of coffee for your cubes and your brew (unless you want to try out mixing a few different coffees, which could be an interesting experiment).

Brew Extra Strong

Like I mentioned with the French press, you can always brew your coffee a little stronger to account for dilution from the melted ice. You can achieve this by decreasing the overall ratio of coffee to water used to brew, or by grinding your coffee a little bit finer than usual to increase the surface area of the coffee, which will lead to higher extraction in whatever brew method you’re using. If you choose to do this using a french press, make sure that you filter your coffee an extra time when you’re pouring it out to make sure the fines don’t end up in your cup. To counteract potential bitterness in your coffee, you can add a pinch of salt to your ground coffee before brewing.

Recipe Idea

A basic black iced coffee might be perfect for your preferences, but there are also many ways to mix things up and experiment with flavor. Here are a few recipes you can try if you’re looking for a change from a classic iced coffee.

Homemade Flavor Syrups

If you like adding pumps of different flavors to your iced coffee when you order it at a cafe, you can also easily make your own flavor syrups at home. A basic simple syrup truly lives up to its name: to make it, all you have to do is

  1. Add equal parts of sugar and water to a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves
  3. Once the sugar dissolves, remove it from heat and place it in a container to cool.

When refrigerated in a sealed container, the homemade simple syrup will keep for a month. You can also easily add in other flavors to your simple syrup, like vanilla, by adding ingredients into the mixture while it's heating on the stove or by infusing your simple syrup after it’s finished.

Toasted Vanilla Iced Coffee


The ingredients for a Toasted Vanilla Iced Coffee.

One syrup flavor I especially like to make is toasted vanilla. I enjoy this in iced coffees, and it’s also great to add to cold foam if you want your drink to taste like it was made by a professional. There are a few extra steps compared to normal vanilla syrup, but I think the flavor makes it worth it. Here’s how to make a toasted vanilla iced coffee:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Measure out your one part sugar and pour it into an oven-safe baking dish.
  3. Bake your sugar for 30-45 minutes, checking on it every 5-7 minutes and stirring it to prevent it from turning into caramel. (I made the mistake once of not stirring it and ended up with an entire baking dish of gooey caramel instead of toasted sugar).
  4. Once it’s noticeably changed from white to a light brown, remove the sugar from the oven.
  5. Combine one part water and one part toasted sugar over medium-high heat in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat and add vanilla extract. When I make this syrup I use ⅓ cup sugar, ⅓ up water, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and it creates a strong vanilla flavor, which is what I like, but this can be adjusted to fit your preference.
  8. Let the syrup cool and store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
  9. Brew your hot coffee using your preferred brew method.
  10. Fill a glass with ice and add your coffee, milk, and a splash of toasted vanilla syrup.
  11. Enjoy!

A finished Toasted Vanilla Iced Coffee.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is coffee that you let steep overnight or even for a full day, and the result is a coffee that’s strong, full of flavor, and won’t get watered down when you add ice to it before drinking. Unlike normal iced coffee which is brewed hot and then poured over ice, cold brew is made by combining coffee and water and letting it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Many people prefer it to iced coffee because you don’t have to worry about watering down your drink, and if you have a sensitive stomach it’s often less acidic than coffee that’s brewed hot. I personally love it because I can make a big batch on the weekend and have it prepared for the entire week since it stays good in the fridge for about 10 days after being brewed.

How to Make Cold Brew
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Learn how to make easy, cold brew coffee. This alternative to iced coffee is smoother and lower in acidity.
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Making cold brew is a pretty simple process at its core – just add room temperature water and coffee to a container and let it sit for 8-24 hours and you’ll have a cold brew (or cold brew concentrate, which is stronger than a normal cold brew and needs to be diluted before drinking). A traditional cold brew is brewed with a ratio of 1:8, while a cold brew concentrate is brewed with a ratio of 1:4 or 1:5. If you drink undiluted cold brew concentrate, it probably won’t taste very good. Though making cold brew is overall a pretty simple process, these products help streamline the process of making cold brew to help you brew with the least amount of effort.

Cold Brewers

Espro Cold Brew Kit

The Espro Cold Brew Kit comes with a UV-protected glass growler as well as a brewer with an auto-lock valve and micro-mesh filter, and it can make up to 48 oz of cold brew concentrate, so you can make enough to last you for a week or two. The Espro brews cold brew concentrate, so make sure you enjoy this over ice or with water or milk mixed in!

Primula Pace Cold Brew Coffee Maker

The Pace Cold Brew Coffee Maker holds 51 oz, which means it has the highest capacity of the cold brewers on this list. The borosilicate glass on this carafe means that it can not only stay in your fridge, but it’s also dishwasher safe on the top rack. The fine mesh filter in the center can be filled with coffee to brew and removed afterward so you can store the carafe in your fridge for up to 10 days. Primula boasts that all of their cold brew products create coffee with 65% less acidity than hot brewed coffee, so if you have a sensitive stomach this may be the right choice for you.

Primula Cold Brew Bottle

If you prefer to make one glass of cold brew at a time, this Cold Brew Bottle is a great choice. This bottle holds 20 oz of water, so you can brew one glass of cold brew overnight and enjoy it directly from your bottle the next morning, making this perfect if you’re on the go in the morning. To brew, you can add coffee to the filter, put it in the bottle, add water, and let it sit for 12 hours. It even comes with a black neoprene sleeve that has a carrying handle built-in, so you can put this bottle in your bag for work and keep it safe from scratches while it’s rolling around in your bag.

Making Perfect Cold Brew

Cold Brewing Your Way to the Perfect Iced Coffee

Cool down with cold brew coffee, the best alternative to iced coffee you could hope for. Find out what cold brew is about and what you need to make it.
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Primula 50 Oz. Cold Brew Coffee Maker Carafe

The Primula Pace Cold Brew Coffee Maker has a 50 oz capacity, so you can make quite a lot of cold brew in this device. So if you’re like me and like to prep your cold brew for the week, this is a great choice. This BPA-free carafe is made of borosilicate glass, and the brew core is made of a superfine stainless steel mesh to keep coffee grounds out of your cold brew after brewing. There’s also a silicone ring on the bottom of the carafe, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally knocking over your cold brew if you’re rifling through your fridge for something else. It’s also dishwasher safe on the top rack, making it more convenient to clean than some other cold brewers.


One of the advantages of cold brew is that it’s very simple to make – all you need to do is add water and coffee and let it sit on your counter overnight or for a full day. However, these tips are helpful if you want to optimize your cold brewing experience.

1. Make a Big Batch

I’ve mentioned this above, but making enough cold brew for an entire week’s worth of drinks is a great way to make the process as easy as possible. You only have to prep, brew, and clean once for an entire week’s worth of cold brew. If you meal prep for the week, adding a batch of cold brew to your meal prepping plans is easy and will help you not have to worry about your morning coffee all week.

2. Go Coarse

Whether you’re grinding your coffee yourself or buying it pre-ground, you should make sure you’re using a very coarse grind for cold brew. Because there’s so much contact time between the coffee and the water, you’ll want less surface area with a coarse grind to get the best flavor for your cold brew.

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew Recipe


The Ingredients for Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew.

Though I love home brewing, I do occasionally get a cold brew at a cafe, and one drink I love getting while I’m out is the vanilla sweet cream cold brew. Luckily, it’s easy to replicate this recipe at home! There are tons of ways to DIY it that you can find online, but here’s the recipe that I use:

  1. Brew cold brew using your preferred method. If you make a concentrate, dilute it with water. I brewed my cold brew using an Ethiopian single-origin roast with fruity notes and I found that it complimented the recipe nicely.
  2. Combine half a cup of 2% milk, half a cup of heavy cream, and 3 tablespoons of vanilla syrup. This made enough for 2 drinks for me, but it could be used for more or fewer drinks depending on your preference.
  3. Add ice to your cup, then fill it halfway with cold brew. Fill the rest of the way with your vanilla sweet cream mixture.
  4. Enjoy!

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew.

Iced Espresso Drinks

When the weather turns warm, you may want to switch up your usual latte or cappuccino for its iced counterpart. I’m someone who enjoys a good iced latte year-round, so I’m always looking for the best products and tips to get the best possible drink. Here are some products and tips that can take your drink to the next level.


Though you can make iced espresso drinks by putting espresso from any espresso machine over ice and adding cold milk, these espresso machines are optimized for iced drinks. If you like cold foam, having a milk frother will also make it easier than steaming milk and scooping foam from the top of your milk to add to an iced drink.

productjura-z10-super-automatic-espresso-machine-in-diamond-blackBrewing Espresso For Iced Drinks

JURA Z10 Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

The Z10 Super-Automatic has a built-in Cold Extraction process that slowly pulses cold water through the coffee puck using high pressure, which results in a clean, refreshing, and delicious iced coffee or espresso beverage. Whether you want iced coffee or to make an iced espresso beverage, this espresso machine can help. You can also clearly tell which drinks allow for a cold brew setting as they’ll have a small snowflake next to the name of the drink on the full-color screen.

Not only can the Z10 make a variety of hot and cold beverages, but it also lets you customize each different drink so that it’s brewed just the right way. You can adjust the strength of your drink, the volume of your beverages, and more, so there’s a lot of flexibility in the brewing process for an automatic machine.

A feature unique to the Z10 is the Product Recognizing Grinder (P.R.G.), which allows the Z10 to recognize the difference between what grind settings each type of drink needs and adjust your settings accordingly. This allows you to be perfectly dialed in for every drink every time. Even if you’re switching from espresso to cold brew, you won’t have to worry about your drink not being properly dialed in.


One big tip that I use for my iced lattes is to shake the espresso with ice in a cocktail shaker. This will help cool your espresso down without diluting your drink too much. If you’re adding any flavor syrups to your latte, this is a great option as well since you can combine the hot espresso with the syrup and give it a shake before adding ice to the shaker. When you’re straining your espresso into your drinking glass, another good tip is to double strain to avoid getting any of the ice chips in your cup.


Shaking espresso with ice to use in an iced espresso beverage.


A basic iced version of your favorite espresso drink is simple – just pour your drink over ice and make sure your milk isn’t hot when you add it. However, these recipes are ones that are meant to be enjoyed cold.



The ingredients for a Freshpresso.

This is a recipe that we’re borrowing from our friends at JURA. As the name suggests, this recipe is refreshing and perfect for warm summer mornings. To make this fresh and delicious drink, you’ll need a double shot of espresso, 1.5 oz of freshly squeezed orange juice, and 1 oz of vanilla bean syrup. When it comes to choosing your coffee, you’ll want to use a medium roast bean that’s chocolatey and sweet or light fruity. We’ve tested it out using an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, but a Brazil natural would probably be great as well. You can enjoy this drink just over ice or blended, and here’s how to make this recipe either way:

  1. Make your vanilla bean simple syrup by combining equal parts sugar and water along with the seeds from a vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Make sure it’s fully cooled before adding to your drink for the best flavor.
  3. Squeeze 1.5 oz (or 3 tablespoons) of fresh orange juice.
  4. Pull your shot of espresso.
  5. To make the blended version of this drink, combine your orange juice, espresso, and 1 oz of your vanilla bean syrup with 4 ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth, then pour into your glass.
  6. For the over ice version of this drink, fill a glass with ice then add your vanilla bean syrup and orange juice. If you’re using the Z10, you can cold brew espresso directly into your drink, but otherwise I recommend shaking it in a cocktail shaker with ice to cool your espresso before adding it to your drink.
  7. Garnish your glass with an orange slice or vanilla bean and enjoy!

A blended Freshpresso and an over ice Freshpresso.

Sparkling Iced Americano

Okay, hear me out on this one. I tried this on a whim a few years ago at a cafe, and since then I crave it every time that first real day of summer rolls around. Making it is simple, and all you need is your favorite flavored sparkling water (I like Pellegrino's sparkling water personally because there’s also some natural fruit juice that makes it a little sweeter), and your espresso. A coffee with citrus notes would complement this drink really well if you’re using lemon or orange sparkling water. If you aren’t using Pellegrino or another brand with juice added, I would recommend adding a splash of sweetener, like a plain simple syrup. When I found it in a cafe the drink was made with lemon Pellegrino, but I’m sure other flavors would work as well. To make this drink:


The ingredients for a Sparkling Lemon Iced Americano.

  1. Fill a glass with ice
  2. Pull your espresso shot (and shake it with ice to cool it if you choose to) and pour it into your glass.
  3. Fill your glass the rest of the way with your flavored sparkling water.
  4. Enjoy!

A Sparkling Lemon Iced Americano.

Shaken Lavender Honey Iced Oat Milk Latte

This drink is a classic for the spring, and the sweet and soft flavors of honey and lavender will feel just right when all of the flowers start blooming. You’ll need honey, dried lavender flowers, espresso, and oat milk for this recipe. Oat milk’s creamy texture and subtly sweet flavor makes this latte taste just right for a sunny spring morning, but you can substitute a different milk if you aren’t a fan of oat milk. To make this drink:


The ingredients for a Shaken Lavender Honey Iced Oat Milk Latte.

  1. Combine equal parts of honey and water in a saucepan over medium heat and add lavender flowers. When I made my syrup, I used half a cup of water, half a cup of honey, and half a teaspoon of lavender flowers.
  2. Let the mixture simmer and stir occasionally until the honey dissolves, then remove it from the heat and let it sit for about 20 minutes (or longer if you want a stronger lavender flavor) before straining the syrup to remove the lavender flowers. Like other simple syrups, you can keep this in your fridge for up to a month.
  3. Pull your espresso shot and add it to a shaker with your desired amount of lavender honey syrup. Shake to combine, then add ice and shake to cool the espresso.
  4. Fill a glass with ice and pour your espresso and syrup mixture in.
  5. Fill your glass the rest of the way with oat milk (or another milk of your choice).
  6. Enjoy!

A Shaken Lavender Honey Iced Oat Milk Latte.

In Conclusion

Iced coffee, cold brew, and iced espresso drinks are delicious any time of year, but as the weather starts turning warmer and you’re craving an iced drink more keep these tips and recipes in mind. To keep up with new recipes, promotions, sales, and more, make sure to follow Whole Latte Love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and sign up for our email list as well!