Cold-brewed iced coffee

Thank goodness for ice cubes. It’s been in the 40s here (C, not F–oh, how I wish it were the other way around), with high humidity, and it’s made for a rough week.

Even Australians seem to be having a tough time with it.  I came in to work on Wednesday after yet another sleepless night and found that people either couldn’t sleep, or had the courage to move their entire family into the living room, where most people have the only air conditioner in the house.  At least we’re not suffering alone.

The only thing that’s getting me through is copious amounts of cold-brewed iced coffee.  It’s magic in two ingredients. Three if you count the milk.

Don’t forget the ice.

Cold-brewed iced coffee

This recipe is the equivalent of sun tea for coffee drinkers. The main benefit to making iced coffee this way is that the end product lacks the bitterness you usually get from hot-brewed and then chilled iced coffee.

You need a french press (plunger pot, I think they’re called here?) or a coffee filter+large jug, and decent coffee beans. I make this in bulk, because it just makes more sense.  This recipe is imprecise; you will need to vary the amount of ground coffee to taste.

First, find out how much water your jug or french press holds.  You want a ratio of coffee to water of about 1:5.  Add the appropriate amount of ground* coffee.

Fill the jug with coffee grounds up with water. Cover, refrigerate, and let sit overnight, or all day.  Make sure your ice cube tray is full of ice.

If you are using a french press, plunge down the grounds. If you are using a coffee filter, then it’s best to filter the grounds from the coffee on a cup-by-cup basis.

Serve over ice, black or with milk.


  • Make simple syrup (recipe in the ingredients list here) and use that to sweeten your drink. You can even get fancy with this and make flavored simple syrup. Vanilla is a great thing to add, particularly if you want a creamy taste without the milk. Mint simple syrup is also a nice idea for summer.
  • Stir in sweetened condensed milk to taste. You have now successfully made a bastardized version of Thai iced coffee.

*I use the usual grind for my french press.


Filed under Australia, caffeine, stinking hot

7 responses to “Cold-brewed iced coffee

  1. pshaz

    (vietnamese, not thai!)

    it takes soooo many grounds though!

  2. Liz

    that’s ok. Since you’re the only one who still reads this thing, I don’t even have to correct my post. 🙂

    The grounds are worth it when it’s that hot. You can also do less. Truthfully, I get lazy and just dump a coffee grinder-sized portion into the bottom of my french press. That seems to work well enough.

  3. ak

    There’s another reader too.

    There are farmers’ markets in Rochester with normally priced produce. And a stall selling milk, cream and yoghurt from their herd of Jersey cows.

  4. ak

    What are you growing these days, by the way?

    We went to the market this morning, then came back and made a slab of pâte brisée for a chicken-leek-mushroom pot pie. The filling is cooling on the stove… Can’t grow anything here yet. The snow is still knee-deep in some places. It snowed nearly all day yesterday but the roads were clear by the time I was ready to come home from work.

  5. Liz

    Rochester sounds like it’s been an ok move for you guys, at least food-wise. Are you settling in ok?

    We’re not growing a lot, since we only have a balcony that faces the wrong direction. We have a useful corner, though, and have a tomato plant, a dwarf meyer lemon, and some herbs. I think we’ll plant some more once we have enough worm castings to enrich the potting soil (which has been inconsistent at best here, for some reason). We have mesclun mix seeds, radishes, carrots, and spring onion seeds that I’ll try once more.

    I’m guessing you guys are at least having a look at a seed catalog. I used to want to order everything Seed Savers had to offer come the end of Feb, after all the snow…. Any thoughts on what you’ll grow? Do you have garden space?

  6. ak

    Still renting in an apartment block so we’re not growing this season. But we’re looking for a house with growing space in mind. Many large yards are kept in forest here which is not much good for us. Then they have big open front lawns but converting those to productive garden seems likely to inspire neighbourly ire.

  7. Liz

    That’s too bad. There are some tips on how to do that in
    which are pretty useful, if not applicable in all cases. I hope you guys find somewhere that’ll work for you.

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