How To Make Iced Coffee Without Cold Brew? Read This

Making coffee is all about the brewing technique. Beyond that, you just add your favorite flavorings, sweeteners, and creamers to enhance the taste. 

Here are 3 ways to brew coffee for iced coffee without cold brew:

  1. Add instant coffee to 2 tbsps of hot water and stir the mixture to dissolve it in. 
  2. Brew 2 espresso shots to add to cold milk
  3. Use a drop coffee machine and mix the brewed coffee into cold water/milk

Keep reading for a detailed explanation of each method as well as pro tips provided by experienced baristas. As a bonus, we’re including recipes for coffee toppers like cold foam and recommendations for desserts that pair well with iced coffee!

3 ways to brew iced coffee (excluding cold brew)

Each method is divided into three sections: ingredients, methods, and notes to help you work your way around them. 

1. Add instant coffee to 2 tbsp of hot water

This instant iced coffee recipe will get you a drink in under 10 minutes!

What you need:

  • 1-2 tbsp of instant coffee mix
  • 2 tbsp of hot water
  • Sugar (optional)
  • A glass of cold milk or cold water
  • Ice

How to make:

  • Place your instant coffee and sugar in a mug and add the hot water over them 
  • Stir constantly till the coffee and sugar fully dissolve 
    • Depending on how big the coffee and sugar granules are, this step may take a couple of minutes. 
  • Whisk the dissolved solution till you get a foamy texture
  • Pour your frothed mixture into a glass of cold milk or cold water 
  • Add 2 – 3 cubes of ice


You don’t have to add the ice if your milk/water are already quite cold. If you’re using milk as your base, the melted ice can affect the flavor since it is basically water. So you can skip the ice if you want. 

As for creamers, you can use vanilla soy flavored options to get the best taste. However, if you have another favorite, you can always add a bit of that!

2. Brew 2 espresso shots to add to cold milk

Making iced coffee with espresso shots is more common than you may think.

What you need:

  • 20 grams espresso beans 
  • Semi-automatic or automatic espresso maker
  • Water for the espresso machine
  • 4 ounces milk 
  • 2-3 cubes of ice

How to make:

  • Preheat your espresso maker
  • Measure and grind your beans
  • Put your portafilter back into your machine
  • Run the espresso maker and pull your shot 
  • Fill your glass with ice
  • Pour in the brewed coffee to cool it over the ice
  • Add milk
  • Stir till the coffee combines with the milk


An espresso shot is the strongest coffee brew you’ll come across. So it is best suited for those who are looking for a strong iced coffee. 

There is a good chance this brew will be bitter. This will be especially true iIf you’re using Robusta beans. So if you’re not comfortable with such coffees, add extra sugar and creamer than you normally would. 

If you’re making an extra large cup of coffee, you should use two shots of espresso. 

3. Use a drop coffee machine 

The best iced coffee is often made with a hot brew!

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp of coffee beans per 6 ounces of water 
  • Drip machine (preferably electric but any kind works)
  • Water (enough to fill the machine’s reservoir)
  • 4 ounces milk
  • Ice 

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, pour 2 tbsp into your glass
  • Mix in the milk till well combined
  • Add 2-3 ice cubes and serve chilled


Grind your coffee beans to a medium-fine texture for a good cup of coffee. Since you’re not using the machine to make a full cup of coffee but rather just 2 tbsp of coffee extract, you need it to be super concentrated. Otherwise, your drink will be bland. 

Think about the kind of coffee grounds you’d use for a moka pot or espresso machine and use that to make this cold brewed coffee. 

Use soy milk to make the cold coffee vegan.

What do you put on top of an iced coffee?

Make cold foam by whisking half n half with sweetener and vanilla syrup to put on top of an iced coffee. Or keep things simple by using whipped cream. You can also use spices like cinnamon and ground nutmeg. 

In case you aren’t familiar with what cold foam is, here is a detailed explanation.

What is cold foam?

Cold foam is frothed milk or frothed half n half. It was made popular by Starbucks and has become a household favorite. When you make iced coffee at home, you should definitely try adding cold foam.

How do you make cold foam?

Mix together half n half and sugar with a few drops of vanilla extract. Pour your mixture into a french press and move the plunger up and down till you get a fluffy foam. Scoop it out and place it on your iced coffee.

If you don’t have a french press, you can whisk together half n half with sweetener for around 20 seconds or until your mixture is fluffy enough. 

What goes well with iced coffee?

Iced coffee drinks go well with desserts like cookies, brownies, chocolate covered fruits, etc. The caffeine in these drinks numbs the nerve receptors responsible for picking up sweetness. Since this makes it harder to satiate your sweet tooth, your body automatically begins craving it more. 

So any foods with high sugar content will go well for iced coffee. 

Here are 5 desserts that go well with iced coffee:

  1. Cake
  2. Fruit
  3. Chocolate
  4. Cookies
  5. Brownies 

The perfect iced coffee is always served with a sweet dessert. If you love iced coffee, you’re bound to love drinking coffee with a dessert.

What can I substitute for cold brew coffee?

Sometimes you’re parched but don’t have cold brew lying in your fridge. You may not want to drink iced coffee even if you have the brew. In such instances, it’s good to have easy alternatives for super hot days.

Here are 3 drinks you can serve instead of cold brew coffee:

  1. Lemonade 
  2. Cocktails 
  3. Coconut water 

1. Lemonade 

Serve a large group with this fantastic lemonade recipe. 

What you need:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 8 cups of water
  • A strainer

How to make:

  • Juice your lemons and run the liquid through a strainer to remove any seeds
  • Pour a cup of sugar into a cup of water 
  • Remove the zest from your lemons
  • Add the zest to the sugary water
  • Microwave this mixture for 4 minutes
  • Remove the lemon zests 
  • Stir till the sugar dissolves into the water
  • Mix together the lemon juice, syrup, and water in a big jug

2. Cocktails 

Here’s our take on a mojito. 

What you need:

  • Rum
  • Lime juice 
  • Mint
  • Soda water 

How to make:

  • Mix all the ingredients together 
  • Pour into a jug 
  • Serve with a fruit of your choice

3. Coconut water

What you need:

  • Coconut
  • Evaporated milk 
  • Sugar
  • Ice
  • Cinnamon 

How to make:

  • Split your coconut in half
  • Extract coconut meat and grate it
  • Mix two tbsp of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon 
  • Add grated cinnamon, cinnamon water, and the sugar cinnamon mix to a blender
  • Run your blender till everything is combined well
  • Pour in the evaporated milk 
  • Blend again 
  • Serve with fresh mint


Can I make iced coffee with hot coffee?

Yes, you can make iced coffee with hot coffee. At the end of the day, iced coffee is essentially a chilled version of hot coffee. So if you can figure out a way to get the hot coffee chilled, you will end up with an iced coffee drink. Common ways to do this include brewing coffee beans and adding them to cold milk over ice. 

Can you put hot coffee in the fridge to make iced coffee?

Yes, you can brew coffee using a drip or espresso machine and place it in the fridge. Once the brew has cooled, use it to make any iced coffee drink you want. 

Is iced coffee just coffee poured over ice?

Yes, iced coffee is exactly what it sounds like. It is a chilled version of regular hot coffee. While you can use methods like the cold brew which are specifically designed for iced drinks, you can also use methods like espresso brewing to make it. Pour the brew over ice and add cold milk to get an iced drink. 

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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