I love Starbucks iced coffee and I enjoy giving tips on how to make it at home.
Enjoy a Refreshing Iced Coffee Just the Way You Like It
Prep & Brew Time
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
Approximately 8 servings
If you’re like me, you just can’t say no to coffee. Specifically, Starbucks iced coffee. It’s delicious, invigorating, and goes perfectly with a slice of fresh crumb cake or [insert pastry of choice]. Not to mention the enjoyment of relaxing with friends and chatting it up while sipping a delightful cup o’ java!
PROBLEM: If bought everyday, it really adds up. And when you’re on as tight a budget as I am, you simply can’t afford to spend $15-$30 a week on a coffee beverage. And sometimes I drink it two to three times a day! But I refuse to give it up! It’s my one daily indulgence. Oh, what to do?
MY SOLUTION: learn to make iced coffee at home and save some cash! I've researched online various ways to make my own iced coffee, but they were either too complicated and time consuming, or were simply not to my liking. So I’m going to show you exactly how I make Starbucks iced coffee at home in under 10 minutes without breaking the bank.
Items You Will Need:
- Coffee Maker (I use Gevalia 12 cup)
- 1 lb Bag of Starbucks Kenya Coffee (ground)
- Half & Half (I get the store brand for $1.97 a quart)
- 1 gal Glass or Plastic Beverage Pitcher
- 1 Liter Bottle w/ Pump
- Measuring Cup
- Sugar (I will show you below how to make classic syrup)
- Boiling Water
I always make a half gallon of ice coffee at a time, which usually lasts me about a week. I know some people will argue not to keep prepared coffee longer than a few days, but I’ve been doing it for years and it will not kill you. The flavor may weaken slightly, but it’s never been super noticeable, and I've found the flavor to be more favorable as it ages. I use the Kenya because it’s a bold blend, and just seems to taste the best. I’ve used Breakfast Blend and even the Iced Coffee Blend, but neither tasted right to me. Plus, my stomach is weird about coffee and the Kenya doesn't cause any problems!
Iced Coffee On the Go!
Decaf Iced Coffee Alternative
I've recently switched to decaf because I was consuming far more caffeine than I felt was healthy. However, it's difficult to find a decaf alternative that is as satisfying as regular. I've tried several different kinds, but they just never tasted right. The only one I've been happy with is Starbucks Decaf House Blend, it can be found at most grocery stores or ordered online. Starbucks doesn't sell it ironically. Hope this helps!
Tip to Cool Coffee Quickly
If you just can't wait for that fresh-brewed pot of double strength coffee to cool before enjoying a cup, you can always add ice right away. What I do is pour the fresh brewed coffee into a pitcher then add a full tray of ice cubes (or as many as you want). I stir them until they are melted, which significantly cools down the coffee, then I add extra water to fill the pitcher and voila! Ready to drink!
Let’s Get Started!
- Put 1 cup (equal to 16 tbls) of Starbucks Kenya Coffee grounds into your coffee maker filter (you want to brew the coffee at double strength). You can use more or less, it’s up to you. I prefer to keep it simple.
- Fill the coffee pot with 8 cups of water (filtered water tastes best), and pour it into your coffee maker’s water reservoir.
- Start brewing.
- Once complete you can go ahead and pour the brewed coffee into your 1 gal beverage pitcher. It will only fill about a ¼ of the pitcher though.
- At this point I will add some extra water to calm down the strength of the coffee and increase the quantity (add more or less depending on your taste).
- You can now add ice to the pitcher or simply stick it in the fridge until it cools. Usually takes several hours to cool which is why it’s a good idea to make it the night before. Or simply stick it in the freezer for a bit.
- That’s it! Feel free to tweak the recipe to suit your needs and try some of the other coffee blends! Enjoy!
Making Classic Syrup
For those of you who are used to drinking sweetened iced beverages, you know that it is impossible to completely dissolve sugar in a cold drink. The easiest way I’ve found to make decent simple syrup is as follows (I use a 1:2 ratio when making classic syrup):
In a medium pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, then add in 2 cups of sugar and stir gently (I like to use a whisk) until sugar is dissolved and the water is almost clear, with a slight amber color. The sugar should be completely dissolved in less than a minute, usually 30 seconds. This makes about half a liter and lasts a while (I don’t refrigerate the classic). Be careful not to boil too long as this will thicken the mixture and it can start to crystallize. I store the syrup in a 1 liter pump bottle for easy access.
Healthy Sweetener Substitute
If you prefer a healthier and gluten-free alternative to white sugar, then try Agave Nectar, it's a natural, low-glycemic sweetener. I started using it several months ago exclusively for my iced coffee and I haven't looked back since. It took a little getting used to, but now I'm loving it! The best brand I've come across is Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave. It's rich and you don't have to use much so it lasts.
Gluten-Free Creamer Alternative
For those of you interested in finding a healthier and gluten free or dairy free alternative for your coffee creamer, you should definitely try using almond milk or coconut-almond blend as a substitute. It's really smooth and has a light nutty flavor. It's quite nice. I go with the Blue Diamond brand, but there are many others. I have also tried soy milk, but personally I can't stand the stuff and I've tested many different brands.
If any of you know of any other creamer suggestions or better brands that are gluten-free, smooth and creamy, then do share. Thanks!
This whole process takes less than 10 min for me. I assume most of you reading this already have a coffee maker and basic essentials. For the other ingredients, the cost is about one week of buying a cup of coffee everyday, but will last you much, much longer! And you can make sure it really is made to your specifications! Remember to use your imagination, and make adjustments based on your own tastes and have fun with it!
Any questions or concerns, please ask! Hope this helps!
Rate this Recipe
Coffee Quirks Poll
© 2011 Jon Slaytor
Jon on December 29, 2019:
I drink decaf too
Ronald on June 06, 2019:
I taught myself to make iced coffee like this quite a while ago. Maybe my way is even easier and faster. The instructions on the bag of Starbucks or any coffee like it usually says to use 2 TBSP coffee per 6 oz. filtered water. That ratio is strong enough by itself to make iced coffee with, especially if you have a brewer with a 1-4 cup button for small portions. After the coffee's done you may want to let it cool down for a few minutes or put the carafe briefly in a water bath so your finished drink is strong enough, but while it's still hot I add the sugar to the carafe so it dissolves completely. Omit this if using a sweetened creamer or cut down on the sugar. Now just pour this over ice and milk or creamer in a plastic beverage cup and you're done! I think it turns out okay. It ALWAYS works for any type of coffee. The plastic cup is important because it won't water down your drink like a heavy beverage glass will. The Starbucks tutorial video for automatic drip shows them using a Krups Thermobrew 14 cup (70 oz) brewer. It has a HUGE 3" showerhead. It's designed to hold a max of 17 TBSP coffee so it can handle the amount indicated in this recipe.
Kelly cochran on February 15, 2018:
Can you just brewed your coffee the night before and put it in the fridge over night?
Adam on July 31, 2017:
Andachalmers, you seem like your close. I just can;t get the coffee strength down. I Did notice when I walk in Starbucks they have the coffee for the iced coffee already premade well it appears in cups just sitting on the counter. So what do you think they do? Drip it out of a coffee maker or kurig type thing? I've read double strength and I've read 4times then deluted with water?lol. I'm lost
Jon Slaytor (author) from Lynchburg, VA on July 25, 2017:
Brewed iced coffee is fine to store in the fridge, but it will start to lose quality. Starbucks dumps their iced coffee after 8 hours. In a home setting, however, I'm more lenient with how long I keep it stored. Obviously though, if it smells bad, or if there's mold or buildup, then definitely get rid of it. It's your call.
When it comes to coffee beans, they last longer if sealed and stored properly. Once they are ground, they should be used quickly for optimal freshness. The beans/grounds will deteriorate over time, but should never be stored in the fridge. So it's best to keep beans whole and stored in a cool, dry place until you're ready to use them.
Liam on July 24, 2017:
i never realized that stored coffee - even in the fridge - was unhealthy.
learn something new everyday.
Sounds a bit complicated but delicious
Andachalmers on June 14, 2017:
I know your party has come and gone but did want to let you know I use the following for my iced coffee:
10 ounces coffee
4 ounces half and half
6 pumps starbucks caramel syrup
That is the exact recipe for a starbucks venti iced coffee with cream and caramel.
teresa on June 03, 2017:
hey, how much half and half cream and syrup do you use? I'm making this for a deck party tomorrow and can hardly wait for a glass myself!
mar on May 31, 2017:
any suggestions...been trying to make not iced coffee,but I like it blended..tried my homemade caramel syrup, tried powdered caramel powdered cocoa,none make it taste like caramel trying for over a year
andachalmers on April 14, 2017:
I have a Shark Ninja that has a specific "over ice" setting for iced coffee so it cuts down on the coffee/water/ice ratio concerns. It makes a great iced coffee especially when I use Starbucks Kenya as my coffee choice.
I did try to make a pitcher to keep in the fridge and I still need to play around with the ratios for it...it was a bit too strong...but did get better as time went on.
I have sampled many different beans trying to get that perfect Starbucks iced coffee taste and Kenya seems to be the closest IHMO.
Interested to see if Starbucks brings back their iced coffee blend bean this year now that the weather is heating up.
Jon Slaytor (author) from Lynchburg, VA on March 20, 2017:
Thank you! And yes, you're correct, just fill the reservoir to the 8 cup mark. When referring to a "cup" of coffee, each cup is typically 6 ounces. Good luck!
Karen on March 20, 2017:
This recipe looks great!! And this may seem like a silly question, but when you say to add 8 cups of water, do you mean eight 8-ounce cups of water? Or just fill the water reservoir to the 8 "cup" line (because I don't think they're equal, are they?)? I'm thinking you mean to just fill the reservoir to the 8 "cup" line, but just checking. I'm off to buy Kenya coffee and half-and-half? Can't wait to try this recipe!
Jon Slaytor (author) from Lynchburg, VA on February 28, 2017:
Lindsay, the amount of water to add is stated in the recipe. It really all depends on your preference, the more water you add the weaker your coffee will be.
Personally, I make my iced coffee as per the recipe instructions and once it's brewed and cooled I pour it into a pitcher. It usually fills the pitcher I'm currently using about half way. It's difficult to give an exact amount since everyone's tastes differ.
Since the coffee was brewed at double strength, I then proceed to add cold, filtered water and fill the pitcher the rest of the way up. That way, it's not too strong, not too light.
Lindsay on February 27, 2017:
How much water do you add?
Jon Slaytor (author) from Lynchburg, VA on February 25, 2017:
Ok Brandsig, so all you need to do is reduce the amount of water and coffee you use. If your reservoir only holds 4 cups of water, then you would only use 1/2 cup of coffee grinds. If it only holds two cups of water, use 1/4 cup of coffee and so on. There really is no right or wrong, it comes down to how strong you like your coffee. It may take some experimenting to get it just the way you like it. Good luck!
Brandisg on February 25, 2017:
So this iced coffee recipe seems simple enough, BUT, my coffee reservoir cant hold 8 cups of water
Madeline on October 02, 2016:
I enjoyed your article. I made a pot of coffee and stored it in the refrigerator. Next day I put a can of coconut milk Into my Vitamix, along with the cold coffee with a half teaspoon of cinnamon dash of vanilla, Abuelita chocolate, ice and mix it all. ( you can use ingredients t o your taste) It taste like the new version of Starbucks they have now ( except they also use chile). It was frothy, and so good. I am going to try using a dash of chelie tomorrow.
Ron Mariano from Orange County, CA on May 22, 2013:
Great article! I used to just drink lattes and iced teas at Starbucks. Only recently that I drink iced coffee as California heat really is unbearable at times. Double strength is the key when brewing as the ice will dilute the coffee.
I just put cream and a little splenda and that's it! Some people at Starbucks drink it black! Iced black coffee, that's it!
Esther on July 18, 2012:
Lately I've been making my ice coffee with a mix of heavy cream, hazelnut creamer, and almond milk. I'll melt some Nutella and Truvia into hot coffee, then mix the cold & hot concoctions together, and yum~
Dave on July 02, 2012:
I finally found somebody as crazy about iced coffee as myself. I have to say the iced coffee blend is the best. Its juicy and buttery and less roasty. When you ice certain coffees it really has the tendency to bring out the roasted taste which isn't so good. Iced coffee blend is my favorite but I wound up buying the Kenya last night cause the Starbucks I was at didn't have the other. Anyhow, the Kenya is definitely bolder and I think it goes much further that iced coffee blend meaning more dollar savings. Definitely delicious. I have a 12 cup coffee maker and an automatic ice maker in my freezer. I fill the coffee filter all the way up like I'm making a full pot but I only use 6 cups of water. After its done brewing, I take my 2qt glass pitcher and fill it 1/4 with ice and pour the hot coffee over it melting the ice and weakening the coffee. I keep adding ice until its 2/3 full or until its the color I want. (It takes time to learn your preference.) And BAM, you have iced coffee perfect strength. Can't tell a difference at all. Exact same as Starbucks. They also drip their coffee. For the classic syrup/ simple syrup/ bar syrup I use a 1:2 ratio. I put the water in a coffee mug and boil it in the microwave. I add the sugar and stir until its at my desired consistency. I then add an ice cube to cool it down. I store it in a glass bottle and it lasts forever. Good stuff!
Natasha from Hawaii on May 11, 2012:
This seems like a great way to save some money - thanks for sharing the ideas! Voted useful.
Gerard on April 24, 2012:
This worked fantastic. My only change was add less water after brewing. Otherwise, this is spot on. I was using via and now prefer this method as it is easier to work with. Thanks to Starbucks for running out of via in our city, I googled and now have an even better way to enjoy iced coffee!!!