Some of us drink iced coffee all year long, while others keep it reserved for the hottest months (which is, unfortunately, becoming pretty much every month in Tennessee). Though iced coffee may seem like a one-trick pony, there are a number of interesting ways to brew up your cold coffee concoctions right at home.


To get you started on your journey to your new favorite heat-squelching drink, we’ve laid out a few different recipes for brewing iced coffee--cold brew, iced instant coffee, iced espresso drinks (including a recipe for — yes, you guessed it — our Iced Cuban), and flash-chilled coffee (sometimes referred to as the ‘Japanese’ method). We made sure to highlight each method’s characteristics and differences so you can find the method right for you.


More of a visual learner? Watch our companion video here or scroll down to the bottom of the page.




Cold brew is exactly what it sounds like: brewing coffee in cold water for a long time. One of the key variables in a good brew is proper extraction temperature. Ground coffee will extract faster and more efficiently with higher water temperatures because most compounds are more soluble at higher temperatures. Cold brew compensates for the lack of high temperature with a longer brew time. But, we know that longer brew times can lead to over extraction (too many bitter solubles in your brew). Cold brew keeps that possibility in check by using a very coarse grind.


Because of the coarse grind and long brew time, cold brew creates a very full-bodied (heavier texture) and round coffee without much acidity. Some of the characteristics of the coffee you’re brewing with tend to be muted compared to a hot brew or flash-chilled coffee. Cold brew coffee is exceptionally smooth and rich, boasting a distinct “big” flavor that is all its own. Coffees with chocolatey and/or nutty notes lend themselves to a delicious cup of this cold coffee. We recommend our Tres Banderas Blend for cold brew, which is roasted just a tad longer than our single origin coffees and allows the body and smoothness of this brew method to shine.


Note: This recipe creates a concentrate that is best served diluted 50/50 with water or milk.


  • Brewing Container, preferably glass (a 32oz mason jar works great)

  • Grinder

  • Scale

  • Coffee

  • Fine mesh strainer

  • Optional:

    • Large coffee filter or cheesecloth (for a slightly ‘cleaner’ brew)

    • Funnel (to make straining easier)

Brew Ratio

1:5 (i.e: 50g coffee, 250g water, but you can make any amount of cold brew using that ratio as your base recipe.)


Very coarse, similar to soft pretzel salt


If you want iced coffee without the wait, iced instant coffee is the method for you. Mix the instant coffee packet with cold water or your choice of milk. In less than 10 seconds, you have a pretty darn tasty cup of iced coffee.


  1. Open instant coffee packet.

  2. Mix with 6-8 ounces of water or milk.

  3. Add ice.

  4. That’s literally it.


Your first step in making an iced espresso drink is, surprise, making an a great espresso. We cover the basics of good espresso in our espresso brew guide. After you have your excellent espresso, there are a few key things you need to know about making iced espresso drinks.

Add syrup to hot espresso.

If you are adding syrup or flavoring, add it while the espresso is still hot. It better incorporates the components and makes everything just a bit tastier. You can stir the syrup right in with the espresso in the shot glass/espresso cup. Stirring will also help cool your espresso down a bit before adding to the rest of the liquid.

Do not pour espresso directly over ice.

Pouring hot espresso directly over ice will shock it and lessen the beautiful flavors you worked so hard to extract. If you want to have just an iced espresso, we recommend adding a splash of water to the espresso first before pouring over ice.

Ice comes last.

Always add your other liquids to the cup before you add ice. This will help you see exactly how much liquid you are putting in the cup, so that you get the *perfect* ratio of espresso to milk.

Experimentation is your friend.

You can change the amount of milk (or milk alternative) you use. You can sweeten it with sugar, honey or homemade syrups. Try to recreate your favorite iced drinks or use the recipe below to make one of Crema’s most-loved drinks.

Pro tip: Make a simple sugar syrup by combining 50/50 hot water and sugar of choice. Then, you can add extracts, like vanilla or mint, to the simple syrup to make flavored syrups.


And now, from Crema’s recipe vault, we present the not-so-secret recipe for our beloved iced Cuban. Don’t have an espresso machine at home? No problem! Use our recipe for AeroPress Espresso.


  • approx 2 oz. (double shot) espresso or AeroPress espresso

  • ½ oz. sweetened condensed milk

    • We use the classic, La Lechera, found in a grocery store near you

  • 8 oz. milk of choice

  • Ice

  • 16 oz (pint) glass


Step 1: Mix the sweetened condensed milk with the espresso.

Make sure to stir as well as you can so that it all gets incorporated in with the espresso. You don’t want to waste any of that white gold.

Step 2: Add the espresso + sweetened condensed milk mixture to 8 oz. milk or milk alternative in a 12-16 oz. cup.

Step 3: Fill to the top with ice and sip the creamy, sweet goodness.

Bonus step! If you really want to feel like you’re at Crema, write a little ‘Q’ on your cup (Crema’s shorthand for Cuban) along with your name and have a housemate yell out “Iced Cuban for (insert name here)!” I mean, you wanted the full experience, right?


We saved our favorite iced coffee method for last: flash chilling. (You may also hear this referred to as the ‘Japanese method’.) While this sounds like a science experiment where you use something crazy, like liquid nitrogen, to achieve a perfectly balanced cup of iced coffee, it’s actually much simpler: brewing hot coffee directly over ice.


With this method of brewing iced coffee, you are essentially splitting up the water volume between hot water (used to brew the coffee) and ice (that the coffee is brewed over). You are creating a more concentrated brew that is slightly diluted by the ice it’s brewed over. Because you are brewing at a ‘regular’ brewing temperature for a shorter amount of time (relative to cold brew), you retain all of the lovely acids and complexity the bean has to offer without harsh bitterness. Flash-chilled coffee tends to be bright, sweet and refreshing.


You can make flash-chilled coffee with almost any brew method, it’s just a matter of figuring out the ratio of coffee, ice, and water. We’ve already outlined many of these methods in our brew guides.

Note: You can use the Iced Kalita ratios to make iced coffee in an auto-coffee brewer like the Bonavita Brewer.


We are firm believers in drinking the kind of coffee you enjoy. So, whether you like your iced coffee smooth and rich, bright and acidic, or milky and sweet, we hope you learned something new. Reach out to hello@crema-coffee.com with any coffee-related questions; we’re here to help!


Stay cool out there, friends!


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