Homemade iced coffee

Hello there! I’m really excited to share with you this homemade iced coffee. This is wholly a Glenn project, and it’s just delightful. Both being coffee drinkers (for pleasure and managing a dependence), we regularly stroll down to the local cafe, put on a brew on the stove at home, or Glenn will seek out an iced coffee. To limit the amount of waste associated with the latter (an empty carton every time!), Glenn decided to embark on a journey of homemade-iced-coffee-making-discovery.

Using ground coffee from the Northern Rivers in NSW which came to us via Food Connect, some guidance from The Pioneer Woman, plus the dedication to one’s vice that helpfully comes with addiction, Glenn has unquestionably mastered the art of homemade iced coffee.


First, it’s important to note that heat draws out the bitterness of coffee. The longer the coffee is heated, the more bitter it will become. So, we start by steeping the coffee in room temperature water to bypass this as much as possible. For a 250 gram bag of ground coffee, Glenn used 4 litres of water. This went into the stockpot, which with its 11 litre capacity gives plenty of wriggle room for somewhat unwieldy tasks like this. The mix is left to steep over night, covered.

Coffee steeping

The next day, Glenn used a tight-weave cheesecloth to strain the solids out of the cold coffee brew. Because of the volume, the mix was strained in a few lots and captured in a smaller saucepan or mixing bowl as space permitted. After all the mix had been strained, the liquid-only coffee brew was recombined in the rinsed stockpot.

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This leaves a couple of handfuls of moist coffee grounds, which can go into the compost (coffee grounds are actually GOOD for the garden!).


Returning now to the brew, it just needed a good mix to ensure consistency of flavour and strength, before being bottled (Glenn used a few ex-apple juice bottles. We buy juice in glass to avoid plastic, but have also found the bottles to be excellent for storing grains, beans, lentils and the like, and they clean up nicely – check out the P.S.) and stick the bottles in the fridge. No more waiting, it’s ready immediately.

Iced coffee essence

Now that the brew is finished, constructing the iced coffee is easy. Half fill with ice cubes a glass of whatever size suits the ambition of your whetted appetite. Pour over the ice the iced coffee essence so that the brew plus ice half fill the glass. Now, add your milk and give it a stir. DONE. It’s really that easy. You can add in something sweet if you like – during the steeping or individually to each glass – but we found it’s not needed as we use a lovely full cream milk from Barambah Organics which is already pretty sweet. Thanks to the cold brew process, it’s not too bitter, but the downside is that a store-bought iced coffee simply doesn’t compare after one of Glenn’s homemade iced coffees.

Mmm iced coffee

Give it a go! It’s so easy. You’ll love it. Everyone loves it. No regrets.


Post script: A note on cleaning bottles and jars for reuse

If you are like me, and you don’t like to see messy part-labels left on jars and bottles for reuse, then you will be pleased to know there’s a relatively easy way to remove the labels. First, fill the bottle or jar with water as hot as you can manage (beware of breaking the glass if it’s cold, mind you), then leave it to sit for just a minute or so. Then, with the hot water still inside, peel of the label. The heat should loosen the bond of the glue to the bottle. There’ll still be bits of glue left on it, so tip out the water and get some tea-tree oil on a paper towel or reusable kitchen rag. Use this to remove the rest of the glue with a bit of elbow grease while it’s still warm. Wash it out and you have a new storage container, and have turned refuse into something useful. Excellent!