Coffee isn’t just a breakfast beverage anymore. While a cup of joe is a great way to wake up in the morning, coffee is also the ideal midday pick-me-up or even after-dinner drink depending on how it’s prepared (and your caffeine tolerance!). For many people, there are even some health benefits to be gained from a cup or two (maybe more, depending on your genetics) per day.
And then, of course, there’s frozen coffee. This delicious caffeinated concoction is the perfect way to cool off and is an all-around fun and tasty way to enjoy your daily coffee. Many people prefer their coffee iced or frozen all year long. Maybe you are one of them!
Making frozen coffee is all about the beans, brewing, and blending methods, and while this can seem complicated, we'll let you in on some tips that help keep things simple. Read on to learn about how to be your own barista and make frozen coffee at home.
Find the Perfect Variety and Roast Style
First, the beans. Coffee is complex. The origin, variety, processing method, and roast style all have a dramatic impact on the flavor of the finished product. From fruity and floral notes to nutty, chocolatey, and smoky blends, there’s truly something for everyone on the coffee spectrum.
Finding the variety and roast styles that most suit your preferences is the first step to creating your ideal frozen coffee concoction. The most common coffee species, Arabica, has many different varieties. Different regions specialize in different varieties, so you can experiment with beans from various locations to see what you prefer. Grab a bag of beans from Kenya, Ethiopia, Brazil, and Columbia, and see what you prefer.
You can also try different roast styles - the same variety of coffee beans will have a different flavor profile depending on whether they have undergone a light, medium, or dark roast. The nutrient content is also impacted by the variety and roast style, but we'll save that for another time. For now, just rely on your taste buds and how a particular type of coffee makes you feel. Some coffee varieties may amp up the jitters, while others give you that calm focused edge you're looking for.
Best Brew Methods for Frozen Coffee
Now, for the brew. Isn't this simply brewing as you normally would for hot coffee, then cooling in the freezer and tossing in some ice? Iced coffee connoisseurs are shuddering right now. If you've ever had a big, watery cup of iced coffee while eating out, this is probably how your beverage was made. Mmmm, tasty.
It probably does not come as a surprise that the key to delicious frozen coffee is a strong brew. We have a few suggestions that will help you achieve a satisfying and robust frozen coffee.
If you have an espresso maker, you're in good shape for frozen coffee. A shot or two poured into the blender with some ice and other ingredients of your choosing is all you need to make a tasty frozen coffee or latte.
Strongly Brewed Coffee
Regular coffee can work well, but be sure to brew it strong. A drip style or other method that you normally use to brew coffee can work for your frozen concoction, but we recommend at least 2x the amount of coffee grounds you would normally use. You're going to add around 50% ice to the mix, so the stronger the better. You can always dilute it later, if needed.
Cool it down in the freezer or refrigerator before using. Store extra in the fridge for up to two weeks (black coffee is very stable).
A very useful brewing style for frozen coffee is the cold brew method. Cold brew is in style right now, and for good reason - it results in coffee with higher caffeine and lower acidity (aka less bitter and more friendly for the stomach) than its hot-brewed cousin.
If these aren't reasons enough to give it a try, it is also very easy to make a batch using a large container or French press. With a little bit of foresight (cold brew needs to steep for twelve hours), you can have beautiful, strong coffee for iced and frozen beverages at your fingertips for up to two weeks - depending on how much you brew (and how fast you drink it!).
If you're in a pinch you can also find cold brew concentrate in the grocery store. Trader Joe's makes a good one.
Instant coffee has come a long way, and there is no shame in using it for your frozen coffee treat. I know I jumped on the Dalgona coffee bandwagon - you know the cold whipped coffee concoction that originated in Korea and infiltrated our lives during the pandemic? Yep, it's made with instant coffee.
You can even get instant coffee boosted with mushrooms and adaptogens!
It's definately worth having some instant coffee on hand. It's easy to get the perfect strength of coffee (add more until it's just right), and it blends up nicely into iced and frozen coffees. A generous drenching of your favorite milk and flavorings makes for a very forgiving medium for even more basic instant coffees.
Personalize Your Homemade Frozen Coffee
With the beans and the brew sorted out, now we can get to the fun part - the blend! While everything from beans to temperature and brew method can affect homemade frozen coffee, the add-ins can truly make your brew one-of-a-kind.
Here are some of our favorite tips for how to make frozen coffee drinks uniquely your own:
Choose the Right Ice: Adding too much ice will water down your brew over time. One option: make your ice cubes out of coffee! Coffee cubes blend up perfectly to make frozen coffee, or can be a great addition to your morning glass of iced coffee. Try blending your ice to different sizes to see which you prefer. If you need help selecting a blender, this blog may help you out!
Make it Creamy: Add some dairy or nondairy milk, half and half or any combination of these for a decadently silky frozen treat. Oat milk is one of the creamiest nondairy options.
Add Your Flavor: Put your personalized spin on frozen coffee by adding flavors. Frozen coffee is the perfect foundation for all your favorite seasonal flavors. Try a pumpkin spice frozen coffee for fall, or skip right to the holiday season by adding nutmeg, cinnamon, and/or ginger for a Christmas feel. A sprinkle of cardamom is also an excellent choice for spicing up your coffee!
Make it Boozy: 21+? Read on: Adding a splash of coffee liquor, Irish cream liquor, or whiskey to your frozen coffee adds an extra dimension - and a little kick - to your caffeinated confection.
Make it Dessert: The espresso martini is always a classic, but if you're looking for another enticing option, it's worth considering an affogato. The affogato originated in Italy and is the perfect sweet treat to keep you cool and caffeinated no matter the season. Pour some coffee or espresso over your ice cream and top it off with shaved dark chocolate or hazelnut. To up the indulgence even further, load it up with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and even a cherry on top - it's truly up to you!
Make it Pop: Add fun to your day by making a frozen coffee popsicle! You’ll feel like a kid again - but now as an adult with the perfect caffeinated snack on a hot day.
ColdSnap® Frozen Coffee
When you're in need of a frozen coffee pick-me-up but you're stuck between meetings and can't get out of the office, ColdSnap is here for you. ColdSnap's frozen coffee maker serves up barista-quality frozen lattes (Snappuccino™) with a robust flavor and irresistibly creamy texture. Simply place a Snappuccino pod into the ColdSnap appliance, wait two minutes, and then enjoy a perfectly smooth and creamy frozen coffee at your fingertips. Add your favorite mix-ins or toppings for a frozen coffee that is uniquely you.
Contact us today to learn more about ColdSnap - a soon-to-be-released rapid-freezing appliance that produces single servings of frozen confections and frozen beverages in two minutes or less. Or check out our blog for news about of frozen coffees and other products.