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Homemade Starbucks Iced Coffee Recipe

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

By making iced coffee at home, you save time and money, and you can relish in the convenience it provides.

By making iced coffee at home, you save time and money, and you can relish in the convenience it provides.

Prep & Brew Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

3 min

7 min

10 min

Approximately 8 servings

The Method

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)
  • Ice
  • 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!

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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!

  1. 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.
  2. Fill the coffee pot with 8 cups of water (filtered water tastes best), and pour it into your coffee maker’s water reservoir.
  3. Start brewing.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

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© 2011 Jon Slaytor

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