Coffee drinks from your favorite coffee shop are the perfect remedy for a hot day!
And with summer right around the corner, now is the best time to take a closer look at a couple of different iced coffee drinks to tease your palate.
There are so many popular drinks with outstanding coffee flavor, but today we will focus on the iced Americano and iced coffee. Each drink offers slightly different flavor profiles that can easily be adjusted for your personal preference.
And the best part is that each drink is easy to make at home, saving you time and money.
Featured image on this post is courtesy of Canva.
Main Difference Between Cold Iced Americano and Regular Iced Coffee
The major difference between the two coffee beverages is the coffee used. An iced Americano is made with a shot of espresso (or more!), while an iced coffee contains brewed coffee.
Because of how espresso is prepared, it tends to have a richer coffee flavor than drip coffee. It can also have less acidity than coffee.
Espresso is often the preferred option for mixing with milk and sweeteners due to its robust flavor and smooth finish.
But strongly brewed coffee can work just as well for a variety of coffee drinks, especially cold ones.
Iced Americano Deconstructed
Legend has it that the Americano came about in World War II. American soldiers stationed in Italy were consistently served one or two shots of espresso versus the cups of regular black coffee they were used to at home.
The soldiers started diluting the shots of espresso with water to create a type of coffee similar to that from back home. Eventually, the drink became known as a “Caffe Americano,” which translated from Italian means “American coffee.”
A regular Americano consists of 1/3 to 1/2 parts hot espresso and 1/2 to 2/3 hot water. And the iced version of an Americano has about the same water ratio but is poured over ice.
Iced Coffee Deconstructed
As the name implies, iced coffee is regular coffee served over ice. The drink has likely been around since before 1850. Today, many countries around the world have their own versions of iced coffee.
Regardless of where you’re from, iced coffee is an incredibly simple and popular cold coffee drink that’s a cinch to make at home and can be easily customized to fit your tastes.
And depending on how much water is added, you can bring out more or less of the coffee flavor. Adding cold milk or coffee syrups can add a sweet taste or bold flavors to the drink.
Caffeine Content: Iced Americano vs Iced Coffee
Many people assume the caffeine content in espresso is higher than that of brewed coffee.
But in most cases, the total amount of caffeine depends upon how many espresso shots the drink contains or the total amount of brewed coffee it has.
Caffeine/1 Fluid Ounce
Total Caffeine in a Standard 16 Ounce Beverage
Keep in mind that the brewing method has an impact on caffeine content as well, with cold brew containing more caffeine than drip brew.
And if you brew a more robust drip coffee, it will also have more caffeine than the standard cup of coffee.
Best Way to Make an Iced Americano at Home
Making an iced Americano at home is simple and relatively quick. You’ll need the following:
- Espresso beans (ground)
- An espresso machine, Moka pot, or alternate way to make espresso
- Ice cubes or coffee ice cubes
- Cold water
Start by making the espresso. For a tall glass, consider two espresso shots, but you can easily adjust the amount of espresso you add to your drink. Remember that an extra shot of espresso adds about 64 milligrams of caffeine to your drink.
Pour the espresso over ice, and then add cold water to make the total amount you desire.
If You Love a Strong Coffee Flavor
If you love the strong flavors of espresso, consider making coffee ice cubes by freezing espresso in an ice cube tray. As the ice melts, the taste of the espresso will become diluted if you use regular ice cubes.
But with coffee flavored cubes you will get the continual flavors of espresso as they melt.
If You Love Lots of Ice
Fresh espresso is hot! And if you pour it over ice, much of the ice will melt right away.
If you love lots of ice in your drink, put the espresso in the fridge after making it. Once it cools down, you can pour it over the ice and top off with ice cold water.
Constructing your drink this way preserves the ice for longer.
If You’re Celebrating
Brandy or Bailey’s Irish Cream makes tasty add-ins if you’re looking for a little something extra. For a fancier drink, try chocolate liqueur or even RumChata.
If You Don’t Have an Espresso Machine
Skip the first part and simply buy a couple of espresso shots from your favorite coffee shop. The espresso will be cool enough for your iced creation by the time you get home!
Best Way to Make an Iced Coffee at Home
Iced coffee can be customized depending upon your brewing method. It can be made ahead of time or at the moment when the craving hits. You’ll need the following:
- Ground coffee
- Coffee maker
- Ice cubes or coffee ice cubes
Make the coffee and add ice. It’s just that simple!
If You Love Cold Brew Coffee
Instead of heat, the cold brew method uses time to trigger the brewing process. And because it steeps for longer, the caffeine content is often higher, and it loses the bitter taste a hot cup of coffee usually has.
Most people do not drink cold brew coffee without diluting it somehow, whether with water, milk, ice, or a combination of the three. But cold brew coffee makes an excellent base for iced coffee!
If You Hate Planning Ahead
Make a little extra coffee first thing in the morning and put whatever you don’t drink in the fridge. By afternoon, the coffee will be chilly and ready for ice!
If You Love a Rich Cup of Coffee
Coffee cubes are the perfect way to ice down various tasty drinks! As the ice melts, the coffee taste will become watered down. One way to avoid this is by freezing coffee in an ice cube tray.
You can also try brewing a more robust cup of coffee than you usually would brew. Try adding extra coffee and the same amount of water to get a slightly more robust flavor.
Starting with a stronger flavor means less dilution of flavor as the ice melts.
If You Love Flavored Coffee
Choosing a flavored coffee with subtle notes of caramel is one of the tastiest ways to maximize flavor while cutting calories! And if caramel isn’t your jam, peruse your local grocery store for a plethora of other flavored coffee options.
If You Love Just a Hint of Coffee Flavor
The best part about iced coffee is that you can tailor it to your taste buds!
If you want to cut down on your mid-afternoon caffeine intake but still want that coffee flavor, add less coffee and more water and ice. The drink will be just as refreshing and won’t keep you up at night.
You could also try adding coffee ice cubes to cold water for a similar effect.
Making Your Coffee Creation Just a Little Bit Sweeter
Whether you opt for the iced Americano or the iced coffee, you have several different options for making it just a touch sweeter.
Sugar melts well with heat but stays grainy when used in cold liquids. You can still use cane sugar but add it to either the espresso or coffee when it’s piping hot. Once it melts, you can add the ice and water accordingly.
Syrups are a better option for flavoring cold drinks. They blend regardless of temperature, and there are many tasty flavors from which to choose. You can even opt for a sugar-free option!
Treat yo’self by adding a scoop (or two!) of your favorite ice cream. As the ice cream melts, your drink will become just a bit sweeter! Try mixing and matching different flavors for a whole new taste experience.
Flavored Coffee Creamer
Sweeten up your brew by adding a touch of your favorite flavored coffee creamer.
Opt for soy, oat, or even almond milk for a vegan option. Straight-up milk or cream works excellent too for adding a bit of creaminess to your coffee creation.
It’s a favorite for a reason. Whipped cream is that little extra that puts a cup of iced coffee over the top. Try sprinkles or chocolate shavings to really take your iced coffee game to the next level!
The next time you crave something different from your local coffee shop, skip the trip and do it yourself at home!
By following the simple steps in this post, you can save yourself drive time, gas money, and the several dollars charged per drink.
You can also customize your drink in several different ways to get the exact flavor you’re looking for.
With so many cold coffee options from only two different drinks, the flavor options are endless!