Perfect Iced Coffee


Every Friday my friend Jacqui and I go out for coffee.  It’s amazing how a simple McDonald’s coffee can seem like a spa day when you have an hour to yourself, without kiddos.  And although we have tried many different beverages over our “Coffee Fridays,” we always seem to come back to a simple, perfect iced coffee.

I’m not sure how iced coffee first got its start, but I’m willing to bet it was invented by some overworked, tired Mom who microwaved her coffee so many times throughout the morning that she said, “Forget this.  I’ll just drink it, cold.”  So, really, diaper changing could have been the start of a coffee classic.  Eh . . . at least that’s what I will tell myself when I change the next one.  It makes it sound more noble, somehow.  *In a noble voice*  “Please pass the Huggies wipes!  *Opera music swells in the background*  I am inventing a CLASSIC HERE!!!!!!”

Oh dear.  I am so tired.  😉

Seriously, though– you can make iced coffee at home, anytime you want.  It’s not hard, but there are a few tips and tricks to help you make it the best you can (i.e, no “shifting sands” of sugar at the bottom of your cup.  You’re welcome).  And if you do happen to use that old, worn-out refugee cup of coffee that you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to drink all morning, well . . . I won’t judge 😉

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Perfect Iced Coffee

(Feel free to change this up a bit, to suit your own tastes)


1/4 cup simple syrup (more on this, in a minute)

1/4 cup Half and Half or cream

1 cup cooled coffee


Boil simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) for 1 minute and set aside to cool (you may refrigerate this simple syrup for several days, so I like to make a larger batch and use it as needed).  Combine your simple syrup, half and half, and coffee, and stir well.  Pour over a full glass of ice.  Enjoy and repeat as needed.  😉

This is simple and OH so delicious!  Let’s take a look at the process in pictures.


The basis of any sugary cold beverage (like sweet tea, or even Black and Blue Lemonade) is a simple syrup.  Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, boiled for about a minute, and then cooled.  Boiling the sugar water before adding it to a cool drink keeps the sugar from settling out of the drink and forming that weird shifting white sugar layer at the bottom of someone’s cup. Yuck.  When I make simple syrup I usually make 1 cup of syrup, at a time (1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water).  You can refrigerate the leftover syrup, which means tomorrow your coffee will be FASTER. This means that you will have amazing, perfect iced coffee pouring into your tired veins first thing in the morning.  You will be able to change diapers at the speed of light. You will be so much more patient at the guy who cuts you off, in traffic.  You will double your productivity at work!  You might even be able to take over the WORLD!!!!! (*earth conquering music swells in the background).

Sorry.  I got carried away there, for a minute. But quicker coffee = A OK with me.

So make yourself a simple syrup (bring 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil and stir/boil for 1 minute).  When your syrup is finished, you can pop it into the fridge and keep it for several days.  Wait– that’s it?  But that was so . . . simple!

I know.  You’re so smart.  I love working with you.

coffee 5

Mix your 1/4 cup simple syrup, 1/4 cup half and half (or cream works great, too, if you want your coffee to be extra rich), and 1 cup of cooled coffee.  Stir well to combine.  Then for the fun part . . . set up a photo and throw ice cubes at your beverage, trying to catch the perfect splash. Realize that your kitchen is dripping with coffee from every imaginable surface.  Decide that you need coffee to drink.  Now.  Try to decide if it would be uncouth to sip coffee from your photography background, where it has pooled sweetly, waiting to be cleaned up.  Does the ten second rule apply to coffee?

Or . . . just pour it over a glass of ice.  Fine. Be boring.

coffee 3 recolor small

And here’s a nifty little secret . . . you can make a double . . . triple . . . even QUADRUPLE recipe of this little gem, and keep it in the fridge.  Yesssss.  Make a nice pitcher of iced coffee (without ice) ahead of time, and be ready for action at a moment’s notice.  On busy mornings, just throw ice in a cup, and then Voila . . . you have iced coffee, all ready to go.

It’s a beautiful thing.

You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.

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  3. Natasha @ Salt and Lavender

    I just saw your photo on FoodGawker and decided to click over. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but the photo is excellent 🙂 I’m sure this must taste good to all the coffee lovers out there, so I am pinning it!

    1. Emilie (Post author)

      What a nice compliment, Natasha! That makes my day 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!


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