Iced Coffee: An Idiot-Proof Guide

Yes, I am on Pinterest.

No, I have never been tempted enough to actually make anything I’ve seen there.

That is, I had never been tempted enough until I saw a pin to this post about cold-brewing coffee so a tasty iced treat would always be only moments away.

Um, yes please?

Idiot Proof Directions*

Step 1: Dump 8 quarts of water and 1 lb of ground coffee into a big ol’ container (or 1 quart for every two ounces of coffee.) I recommend pouring in the water first to make sure the container will be large enough for your batch o’ brew.

Step 1: Make mud

I also added a teaspoon of cinammon and a couple tablespoons of vanilla extract to the mix. I’m not sure that’s enough to make any sort of difference to the taste of the finished product, but I was too scared to add any more in case it would mess the whole thing up and I’d have to start over. I’ll leave it to you guys to do the experimenting on this one.

Step 2: Stir the muddy mass around a bit to make sure all the grounds are wet, then stick it in the fridge and forget about it for 8 hours.

Or for 14 hours if you decide to start the process a few hours before bed.

Step 3: Strain the brew. I did this by pouring several quarts at a time into a juice pitcher (because it was easier for me to hold than my giant metal stock pot)…

Step 3: Play with the mud

…and pouring from there through a tea strainer inside a cheesecloth coffee strainer.

Step 3a: Strain the mud

I collected my strained, caffeinated goodness into a Brita shelf unit with a spigot on the front, because I am a clever, clever girl.

I then ran the brew through the cheesecloth strainer a second time, figuring I probably hadn’t gotten all the grounds out during the first go ’round.

Step 3b: “Ew” at the remaining sludge

Yep. Missed some. Ewww.

Step 4: Chug-a-lug. I mixed 3 parts cold-brewed coffee (on ice), 1 part Half & Half, a teaspoon of sugar, and a tablespoon of chocolate syrup, and I mean to tell ya’, folks: It was pretty awesome.

Step 4 – Look for cloud animals in the Half & Half swirls

I even went to bed excited that when I got up in the morning I’d have this stuff ready to go so I could enjoy another yummy coffee treat. (I may come to regret my admission that iced coffee was enough to gear me up for the following day, but for now it stays. I trust you all will not to think less of me for it.)

For those of you more swish than I at such things: Any recipe modifications you’d recommend?

*I got all of this from following The Pioneer Woman‘s recipe.



  1. Ruth…the recipe sounds great…it’s good to make a gigundo batch like that and keep it super-cold and at the ready. Ahhhh, iced coffee and summer ~~sniff~~ don’t mind me…

    Fun stuff to do to the basic brew in individual servings:

    Rather than adding sugar, make up a simple syrup. It doesn’t need to try to dissolve in the cold coffee; it will just swirl in smoothly. Bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil, let cool, store in a squirty-bottle and refrigerate. Fun modifications: Add coconut extract to the simple syrup, or rum extract, or cinnamon extract, or any tongue-tickling flavor you may wish to add to your icy glass o’ heaven. Those could even be added to the glass directly rather than flavoring your entire batch of simple syrup.

    It’s great to have the SS on hand, too…you can squeeze a few lemons, add SS, and some cold water (bubbling, even!) and POOF! You have made real-live lemonade. (Remember the first time Laura tasted lemonade in the Little House series? I always imagine it tasted just like the stuff I make fresh!)

    Or combine equal parts SS and fresh-squeezed lime juice, two parts tequila, one part triple sec, shake maniacally with ice and margaritas are served. Oh yeah. It’s that simple. (Bonus note: bags of key limes double-dirt-cheap at Pete’s Mexican Grocery on 17th and Greenfield. SCORE!)

    Add ginger root to your simple syrup, or basil, or jalapeno, strain after cooling, and add to a gin and tonic. Your friends will think you’re a genius. You’ll just smile demurely and ask if anyone wishes for another.

    Thus, then, ends my tribute to the most versatile liquid – save water – you may ever keep in your refrigerator.


    Pee Ess…See you soon, maybe?

    Mary D

    1. Oh oh oh! How delightful and helpful and amazing are YOU?!?! I don’t care WHAT Jenny Kosek says about you– I think you are mahhhhhhhvelous, and I can’t wait to try this out!

      So many “x”s and so many “o”s!

      1. Hee-hee Jenny Kosek…” Oh Peeetah, I’m carryin’ iced teeeea!”

        All those exxes and ohs right back atcha!!

    2. Didn’t think I would like this…BUT it was delicious. I mean, like, really good. worth the time and trouble to make. I’m traveling now, but when I get home, and it’s still ‘hot’ outside, I’m making some, for sure. going to Walmart to buy a ‘jug with a spigget’. thanks, Ruth. You are a girl full of good ideas.

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