If you’re like me who can’t resist sipping on espresso daily, then you know that when the scorching season comes, an iced espresso recipe is one of the best picks for a coffee drink.
I’ve been pulling espresso shots for years, and while I’ve made a lot of sweet and fancy iced coffee beverages, I always come back to my tried-and-tested iced espresso recipe when it’s hot. Today, I’m sharing with you this recipe so you can also fix yourself this delicious drink.
Let’s get brewing.
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What is Iced Coffee?
Iced coffee refers to a chilled coffee beverage that is made by brewing hot coffee and cooling it down. You can cool it by pouring (or directly brewing) it over ice, or into cold milk. Sweeteners and flavoring might be added before the coffee is cooled since they dissolve more quickly. The base for an iced coffee beverage is brewed stronger to compensate for dilution caused by melting ice.
There’s no exact place of origin for the iced coffee. When a Turkish army arrived in Vienna in the 17th century, they had a surplus of coffee beans which became the subject of experimentation for the Viennese fans of the drink; and some of the coffee ended up being served with ice.
Meanwhile, in the 19th century during the Siege of Mazagran in Algeria, French troops were dealing with both the scorching heat and diminishing milk supplies. To quench their thirst and stay hydrated, they mixed cold water with coffee.
When they returned home, they brought back their newfound love for this chilled beverage. Soon enough, cafes across France began serving Café Mazagran – an interesting blend of coffee, water, a touch of sweetener, and even a slice of lemon.
From the mid-90s to the early 2000s, such drinks would further rise to the status they have today after the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Starbucks introduced their iced blended coffee drinks, mostly made with espresso as their base.
What You Need to Make Iced Coffee from Espresso
Here are the ingredients you will need for your iced coffee with espresso:
- Espresso machine: Used to brew espresso.
- Demitasse cup: cup for mixing the ingredients.
- Cappuccino glass: The glass where the final drink will be served in.
- 18 g of coffee grounds (fine grind size): Main ingredient for your shot of espresso.
- 30 ml of cold whole milk: Used to temper and balance your espresso.
- Ice cubes: An essential ingredient for iced coffee.
- 1 tsp of brown sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness to the final espresso drink.
How to Make An Iced Coffee with Espresso
Now that you’ve gathered everything you need for this cold coffee drink, follow this step-by-step guide on how to make iced espresso:
1. Prepare your coffee grounds.
- Grind 18 g of coffee beans until finely ground. Put the ground into your portafilter and tamp them properly for even extraction.
2. Add sugar to your cup.
- Add 1 tsp of sugar into a demitasse (check out my guide for the best demitasse cups in 2023).
3. Pull a double espresso shot into the cup.
- Now it’s time to insert your portafilter into the espresso machine and pull a double shot of espresso.
- Let it drip over the sugar in the demitasse cup.
4. Pour cold milk into the mixture and stir.
- Add the milk into the demitasse cup and stir.
- It’s a debate among coffee enthusiasts if an iced espresso should have milk or not, but I prefer to add a small amount of cold milk (about 1 oz) to cool down the coffee and balance its strength before adding in the ice.
5. Pour over ice, stir, and serve.
- Finally, pour the contents of your demitasse into a larger cup or glass with ice.
- Give it a stir and serve.
What kind of cup should you serve iced espresso in?
Any cup or glass that can make room for your 3-ounce coffee and about 1 cup of ice cubes.
Iced Espresso, Iced Latte, Frappe, & Cold Brew: How Do They Differ?
- Iced lattes are made with espresso shots and are often mixed or blended with frothed milk, making them creamier than iced espresso, which has little to no milk. Iced lattes are also served with other sweeteners. For example, an iced vanilla latte recipe draws flavor and sweetness from vanilla syrup.
- Now the main difference between iced espresso and cold brew is the brewing process. While iced espresso is just espresso served with ice, making cold brew coffee is more specific:
- Using a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:5, you steep coarse coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for 12 to 24 hours.
- The result is a batch of coffee that you can store in the fridge for 2 to 10 days and must be diluted with water, milk, or ice before serving. Serve it with ice and you have iced coffee, but it can also be heated up to make hot coffee.
- Then you have Frappuccino, which is actually a trademarked term by Starbucks for their lineup of blended iced coffee. It combines the terms cappuccino and frappé, which is a Greek iced coffee drink. As you may know, such beverages aren’t just served with ice but are blended with them to a slushy consistency.
Barista Tips for Making an Iced Espresso
To help you master the art of brewing iced espresso, here are some tips to improve your brews:
- Avoid pouring your espresso shot straight into the ice cubes or you’ll be left with a diluted coffee due to the melted ice. This is why I add cold milk before combining it with the ice, or if you don’t like milk in your iced espresso, just wait for your shot to cool down for a bit.
- If you prefer milk-based iced espressos like lattes or macchiatos, there are a few extra steps involved. Frothing milk adds creaminess to your drink, improving your overall iced coffee experience.
- When it comes to adding ice, use round ice spheres instead of regular ice cubes. The ice cubes would often melt faster than you expect. This can be annoying and result in watery espresso so I recommend ice spheres which melt much slower
- Play around with different varieties of milk such as almond milk or oat milk which are not only non-dairy but also offer unique creamy textures to your final drink.
- Experimentation is important when creating a customized recipe that would specifically suit your taste and preferences. As long as you have a great shot of espresso, you can go to town with other ingredients such as milk and sweeteners to find the iced coffee drink that’s perfect for you.
Iced Americano Variation
If you want to drink iced coffee without milk or any other additives, I would recommend you try an iced americano. It really hits the spot on a warm summer day for me, when I don’t want anything sweet or milky.
Making an americano with ice is very simple, but you want to mind the order of steps, so you don’t melt the ice too quickly:
- Place ice cubes into the final cup you’ll be drinking from.
- Make an americano as you would normally, but use cold water for dilution.
- Pout the americano over the cup of ice.
Iced coffee from espresso is a great choice if you want your iced coffee to be strong and potent but still enjoyable to drink. Unlike your typical iced lattes or Frappuccinos, iced espresso focuses more on the rich taste of the espresso shot without diluting it with excessive milk or sweeteners.
It seems like whenever thirst and weariness strike me simultaneously on a hot day, this drink always saves the day.
So go ahead and make your own iced espresso with the recipe above and let me know in the comments how it went.