As soon as there's just ONE sunny day in March, we immediately switch back to iced coffee. After all, if our drinks are cold, doesn't that mean summer is basically here?! (Cue to us two days later, shivering with our winter coat, gloved hands clutching our icy beverage, but that's beside the point.) The problem with iced coffee, though, is that it's pricier than its hot counterpart. So, instead of emptying our wallets this spring and summer, we wanted to figure out the best hacks for making iced coffee at home. Below, find some easy-to-execute tricks for perfecting our favorite warm-weather beverage. We promise, you won't have to build your own Rube Goldberg machine!
1. The EASIEST Way To Make Iced Coffee In Bulk
We know what you're thinking, Making iced coffee at home is too scary! That's what we thought, too, until we learned that it's totally unnecessary to change the way you normally make coffee. There's no need to fuss with cold brew at home or make your coffee twice as strong (see below, re: keeping it from getting watered down). All you need to do is brew a BIG batch of regular coffee in your coffee pot, let it cool down, and refrigerate it. You can plan for a five-day work week (I wouldn't keep it in the fridge longer than that), store it in a pitcher, or in individual Mason jars. Make as much or as little as you want. If you want to make five small iced coffees (12 fluid ounces per cup), we recommend using 7 1/2 cups of water (60 fluid ounces) and 1 1/4 cups of grounds. If you typically use a different formula, do what you already like in a bigger batch!
2. The Right Way To Make Coffee Ice Cubes
After you've made your coffee, the next step is coffee ice cubes. These are essential, because we made our iced coffee the same strength as a regular cup. So, if we put regular ice cubes in each glass, the coffee will get watered down — not ideal. Coffee ice cubes aren't exactly a new concept (they are ALL over Pinterest), but the trick is to make them as you would your regular cup of java, so that they don't change the flavor of your drink as they melt. If you drink you coffee black, then pour them into the molds that way. Take milk and sugar? Add those ingredients to the coffee while it's still warm (so the sugar melts), then pour that mixture into your cube molds. That way, when you drink your morning cup, it will maintain its strength and flavor, so you won't feel the need to chug it all down before any of your ice melts — score!
3. Now, Throw It All In The Blender For A No-Fuss Frap
You could stop there, but you already have everything you need to make your own frap drink — and we are ALL about our blended bevs. Take one serving of your coffee, a few of your coffee cubes, and whiz them together in the blender. You could also add some milk, chocolate or caramel sauce, flavored simple syrup, vanilla extract, a handful of berries, or whatever else you have on hand. (Don't forget the whipped cream!) If you really wanted to, you could turn the whole thing into a smoothie by adding half a banana and a little yogurt — that way, breakfast is taken care of, too. See here for the ultimate blender-cleaning hack.
Editor's note: We worked with Design Compendium, a Brooklyn-based design and fabrication studio to create our coffee-making Rube Goldberg. Their projects range from storyboards to store and windows fixtures to flagships. Their team includes industrial designers, graphic artists, photographers, woodworkers, welders, and interior designers — a true compendium of designers, dreamers, artists, and builders.