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What is Iced Coffee?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Iced coffee is a cold drink that is created by combining coffee with some type of cooling agent such as milk, ice cream or crushed ice. The complexity of iced coffee will vary from a simple beverage made by pouring cold coffee over crushed ice to more elaborate cold drinks that may use of strong coffee that is sweetened with the use of ice cream or cold milk and sugar. Many coffee shops today include several iced coffee drinks along with various types of hot coffees.

One of the problems associated with use brewed coffee to make an iced coffee drink is that coffee made in a percolator or a drip coffeemaker may be somewhat bitter once the coffee is cold. Better results are achieved by using a method that is known as cold brewing. This process simply combines cold water with ground coffee in some type of container, such as a glass jar. The ground coffee steeps and slowly flavors the water. Once the cold brewing is complete, the coffee is run through a filter to remove all the coffee grounds. Cold brewed coffee does not develop the bitterness found with hot brewed coffee that has been allowed to set and gradually cool. As a result, the coffee will produce a more appealing iced coffee.

There are many different recipes for iced coffee. Many of them make use of nothing more than ice cold milk and cold coffee. The combination produces a smooth drink that can be enjoyed with or without the introduction of ice cubes. Other recipes call for blending coffee, ice cream, and crushed ice in a blender in order to achieve a consistency that is slightly thick and very cold. Most recipes for iced coffee will allow the addition of any type of flavoring that is desired.

It is possible to use any type of coffee to create an iced coffee beverage. Along with using standard coffee, it is possible to combine a small amount of espresso with other ingredients to create the cold beverage. The main requirement for producing a flavorful iced coffee is to ensure the coffee is both strong and free of any bitter taste. As long as the coffee itself is appealing, the addition of other ingredients to achieve the desired consistency and taste will make the iced coffee beverage perfect for serving in hot weather or as a cold alternative at social events.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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