How To Make Caramel Iced Coffee (Easily)

You can quickly make caramel iced coffee with instant coffee. This way you don’t have to brew the coffee beans and can skip forward to combining the various components like caramel sauce, ice, and milk. 

However, you can also brew your own coffee beans. This will take a little longer but it is also easy. 

This article explains both methods in detail so pick whichever you like better. 

Shortcut: Instant Coffee

The easiest way to make any kind of coffee is by using instant coffee. This is pre-grinded powder-like coffee that dissolves into semi-hot liquid quickly. 


  • Quick to make 


  • Less strong/complex/bold flavor
  • Limited flavor options since you can’t choose bean roast or brewing technique 


What you need:

  • Milk (at room temp)
  • Instant coffee (2 – 3 tbsp)
  • Caramel sauce 
  • Ice
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

How to make:

  • Add coffee to a cup of milk and mix it till the coffee dissolves
  • Hold a glass at an angle and drizzle caramel around the sides
  • Place 3 ice cubes in this glass
  • Pour in your coffee mix
  • Top with whipped cream and/or cinnamon
  • Serve

This kind of coffee is sometimes referred to as a caramel swirl iced coffee. But that’s just a fancier name for plain old caramel iced coffee. 

Important substitutions

To make a salted drink, replace the sauce with salted caramel sauce.

For a dairy-free drink, you can use vanilla flavored almond milk and skip the whipped cream topping. 

To make a refined sugar free drink, make caramel syrup at home using vanilla, almond milk, and coconut sugar. 

Long route: Authentic coffee brewing 


  • More soulful flavor 
  • Different flavor choices in terms of caffeine strength and brew type 


  • Slightly longer process
  • Most methods require a brewing machine 

Step 1: Pick coffee beans

There are several different kinds of coffee beans and choosing one is a tricky process. You have to account for various factors like brew type, roast, intensity, etc. 

Honestly, finding the right coffee bean for you depends entirely on how long you’re willing to commit to exploring and trying out different options. The perfect bean for you exists, the real struggle is finding it. 

To help speed along your process, we’ve dedicated this entire section to breaking down types of coffee beans and what you should be considering when buying them. In case you already know what coffee beans you’re using, you can skip forward to step 2 where you’ll learn how to brew the beans. 

There are two main ways to differentiate between coffee beans:

  • Bean type 
  • Bean roast 

Both impact caffeine content and therefore the taste of the coffee. 

Picking coffee beans based on bean type

There are two main types of commercially produced coffee beans. These are:

  1. Robusta 
  2. Arabica 

Robusta makes up 30% of the commercial market whereas Arabica contributes to 60%. 

Robusta beans have higher caffeine content. They are low in acid, high in lipid and sugar, and have a heavy flavor. A lot of people don’t appreciate the bold flavor which explains why these beans don’t take up a majority of the commercial market. 

Arabica on the other hand has less caffeine but a smoother flavor. 

Robusta is commonly used in espresso blends and in the production of instant coffee. However, you will also find a lot of whole Robusta bean sellers. For instance, Very Strong Coffee is a 100% Robusta dark roast coffee with 1350 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce serving. 

This is undoubtedly a super high caffeine count – the bean type can be used to explain it. 

So when you’re looking through the coffee bean aisle at a department store, take a peek at the ingredient list. You’ll find a breakdown for what kind of beans are used in it. This is an excellent way to gauge what the iced coffee made from it will taste like. 

Picking coffee beans based on roast 

Dark roast coffee beans have more caffeine than light roast beans when you measure by weight. This means 1 gram of dark roast coffee beans will have more caffeine than 1 gram of light roast coffee beans. 

This is another feature listed on coffee bean packets. You should be able to find it on the packet easily. 

  • Why dark roast coffee beans have more caffeine per gram 

When coffee beans are roasted, their mass decreases due to moisture loss. The heat has no impact on thier caffeine content. 

The longer any particular coffee beans are roasted, the more moisture they lose, and the more concentrated their caffeine content becomes. 

So when you add 2 grams of coffee to your espresso machine for brewing, you get more caffeine with a dark roast and less caffeine with a light roast. As such, the former has a stronger and more bitter taste than the latter. 

Conclusion – What are the best coffee beans?

The best coffee beans for you are ones that suit your flavor palette. A dark roast made with Robusta beans will have a strong bitter taste which is perfect for those who like espresso and want to you that brewing technique to make iced coffee. A light roast made with Arabica has a smoother flavor. 

Step 2: Brew the coffee beans

Coffee beans have a lot of flavor and caffeine in them. Your choice in brewing method determines how much of it is extracted. This is the second step in making any kind of coffee. 

With iced coffee, this becomes particularly important because you can’t just use hot water or steam. Your coffee won’t be cold if you do so. 

There are a couple of brewing methods that work well for caramel iced coffees. Pick from among them. 

1. Most commonly used – Espresso brewing machine

What you need:

  • Espresso beans 
  • Semi-automatic espresso maker 

How to brew:

  • Preheat your espresso maker
  • Measure and grind your beans
  • Put your portafilter back into your machine
  • Run the espresso maker 
  • Pull your shot 

Most caramel iced latte recipes use espresso shots because these are the most bold and intense coffee varieties. This brewing technique extracts the most flavor from the beans making such coffee a favorite among those who appreciate strong drinks. 

2. Aeropress with room temperature water

Another excellent way to brew coffee for iced coffee is with an aeropress. 

What you need:

  • An aeropress 
  • Water 
  • Room temperature water 

How to brew:

  • Pour some water in the aeropress’ water 
  • Stir in the coffee grounds for about a minute
  • Plunge the contents into a cup 

This brew will always give you a light cup of coffee. It’s considered the lightest of all brews, especially the ones on this list. So if you prefer your caffeine like this, this is ideal for you. However, if you like bold and strong drinks, you’ll have to look into one of the other options. 

3. Overnight Cold Brew in French Press

What you need:

  • 1 ounce of coffee per 12 ounces of cold water 
  • Coffee grinder 
  • A French Press

How to brew:

  • Grind your coffee beans into a coarse grind 
  • Stir in your water in the base of your french press 
  • Place the lid on top but do not plunge or push 
  • Steep the coffee overnight 
  • Plunge the top in the morning
  • Filter out coffee residue
  • Pour brewed coffee into a jar – done!

An overnight brew with a french press gives you a smooth, chocolatey brew. If you use oat milk, you can add some beautiful nuttiness. 

4. Regular Drip Coffee, Overnight Chilled

What you need:

  • 1 – 2 tbsp of coffee beans per 6 ounces of water 
  • Drip machine
  • Water
  • Glass jar 

How to brew:

  • Pour a cup of water in the reservoir part of the drip machine 
  • Place the machines metal basket on top
  • Add coffee beans to the basket 
  • Run your drip machines 
  • Once the coffee has been brewed, transfer it to a glass jar
  • Place the glass jar in your fridge 

The taste will depend on how long you brew the beans. 

Step 3: Make your caramel iced coffee

What you need:

  • 8 ounces of brewed coffee
  • 1 ounce caramel syrup 
  • 4 ounces milk 
  • Whipped cream (optional)

How to make:

  • Fill a glass with ice
  • Pour in the brewed coffee and syrup over ice 
  • Stir until the syrup dissolves into the coffee
  • Add milk 
  • Stir till all the components are well combined
  • Garnish with whipped cream if you want

Important Notes

  1. Keep all the components chilled before mixing them together 

Once you’ve got your brewed coffee, always chill it for a couple of hours. Unless your chosen brewing technique already requires overnight refrigeration, this step is super important. 

Since you want to make iced coffee, it’s important that each step of the process enhances the coolness of the drink. If the coffee brew is warm, it will melt the ice cubes quicker than usual which will negatively impact the drinker’s experience. 

  1. Chill your serving glass 

Another way to make your iced coffee extra cool is by using a chilled glass. Drizzle the caramel sauce on the sides of the glass. 

Then place it in the fridge a couple of hours before you’re serving the drink. 

This way the sauce will be cool and stay in its place. The aesthetically pleasing swirls will keep their swirliness for longer. Also, the sauce will slowly dissolve into the coffee which will make for an interesting flavor palette. 

  1. Keep a whipped cream canister with the coffee instead of garnishing it yourself 

Some people may not want whipped cream on their drink for any number of reasons. They may not want dairy or could just dislike the taste. Allowing them to choose whether or not they want it on their drink is a good gesture.

If you’re making coffee for other people, it is good to keep their preferences and likes in mind. 

Step 4: Serve with a dessert

Coffee pairs well with a number of desserts including brownies, cookies, cakes, etc. This isn’t just a tried and tested tip, it is backed by science. 

The caffeine in the drink numbs the receptors that pick up sweetness. Since it becomes harder to satiate your sweet tooth, your body automatically begins craving it more. 

FAQ Section 

What brewing technique is best for making iced coffee?

Espresso is used most often when making iced coffee. You can add one or two shots in your iced coffee recipe and make it using the recipe outlined in Step 3 above easily. 

This will give you the best tasting coffee and allow for the most flavorful brew. It even has the best aroma during the brewing process and once the coffee has been made. Hence it is the best overall. 

What goes well with caramel iced coffee?

You can garnish a caramel iced coffee with:

  • Whipped cream 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Nutmeg 

You can serve a caramel iced coffee with:

  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate 
  • Fruit
  • Cake 

How do you make caramel iced coffee?

Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in 8 ounces of brewed coffee. Add 1 ounce of caramel syrup and stir till everything is well mixed. The syrup should blend into the coffee. Once it does so, pour in 4 ounces of milk or however much is required to fill the glass completely. Garnish with whipped cream or cinnamon. 

You can use any brewing technique you want to brew the coffee. The most preferred option is an espresso machine but you can choose whichever you like best. We’ve explored 4 common techniques above. Each is suitable for use. 

Photo of author


Jeff Stone
Jeff is a coffee aficionado. He loves a couple cups of joe first thing in the morning. He like trying out new grounds and gear and then writes about it here. When he is not sipping java, he is usually writing it for his clients as a software engineer.

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