Iced coffee offers a very different coffee drinking experience from traditionally made coffee, and not just because of the different temperatures. Iced coffee offers flavors, aromas, and textures that are not possible in hot coffee. Most people make iced coffee by brewing a pot of coffee in their coffee maker and pouring it over ice. But, have you ever wondered how to make iced coffee without a coffee maker?
One of the best things about iced coffee, though, is that you don’t need a coffee maker to make it. In fact, you may even be better off using a different brewing method. For one thing, pouring hot coffee over ice will melt the ice too quickly, resulting in coffee that’s heavily diluted and weak. In addition, coffee that tastes great when hot may not taste as good cold. Many of the flavors and aromas you enjoy on hot coffee are brought out by the heat, and as the coffee cools the flavors change.
Whether you don’t have a coffee maker at all or you just want to try a new method of making iced coffee, here are the best tips for making iced coffee without a coffee maker.
How to make iced coffee without a coffee maker – 8 tips
1. Try cold brew
Cold brew coffee is already perfect for iced coffee. Since it’s brewed cold, you don’t need to worry about it melting the ice, and the flavor won’t be altered when you drink it. It’s also ideal for making coffee without a coffee maker, since all you really need is a pitcher and something to strain the grounds out with when you’re done. Of course, you could always pick up a simple cold brew maker like this one.
2. Buy cold brew concentrate
By far the easiest solution is to buy cold brew concentrate. Then, all you have to do is pour the concentrate in a glass, dilute to taste, and enjoy. Many of these will also taste great hot, so they’re a good solution to making hot coffee without a coffee maker, too. Just heat your water before you dilute the concentrate.
3. Make cowboy coffee
Cold brew is great, but a lot of people really prefer the taste of hot coffee that’s chilled to the taste of cold brew. If you don’t have a coffee maker, you can make “cowboy coffee.” Boil a pot of water on the stove and add your coffee grounds to it. Boil for another minute or so and then remove from heat.
You can either let it cool in the pot, which will allow the grounds to settle to the bottom, or your can strain it through cheesecloth or paper towels. This method makes a very strong pot of coffee, but that’s perfect for pouring over ice since the ice will dilute it.
4. Use teabags
Empty teabags, that is. Reusable cotton bags for loose leaf tea are also great for making coffee. Add your grounds to the bag and pour hot water over them, then let it steep. You can also use these for cold brew. Just don’t try to use that bag for tea leaves after making coffee with it.
5. Use tea infusers
A tea infuser is a fine mesh metal filter used for loose leaf tea. Just like the teabags, these will work very will for coffee. They’ll let more sediment (and more of the coffee’s natural flavor) through than a bag will. If you like french press coffee, this could be a great method of brewing iced coffee without a coffee maker.
6. Mason jars
One of the best brewing vessels for coffee when you have no coffee maker is a mason jar. Add coffee grounds and hot water and you’re all set. This works whether you’re making cold brew or hot coffee to pour over ice, because mason jars can handle hot and cold water just fine.
7. Think about how you’ll filter your coffee
No matter how you’re brewing your coffee, you need to give some thought to how you’ll filter it. Any method of coffee brewing is going to require some kind of filter to separate the grounds from the water. Paper towels will work in a pinch, as will cotton dish towels, but you’ll want to buy something more permanent.
Cotton or paper based filters remove the most sediment but also remove some of the oils that give coffee it’s flavor. Metal filters let more sediment through, but may yield a richer cup of coffee.
8. Don’t overthink it
People were drinking coffee for centuries before the invention of the coffee maker, which means that as long as you have some way of mixing water with ground coffee you’ll end up with something tasty. Iced coffee actually gives you more leeway, too. The flavors are muted and the finished coffee is diluted, which means overly bitter coffee or other off-flavors won’t be very noticeable.
Just because you don’t have a coffee maker doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy home brewed iced coffee, or any coffee for that matter. There are many ways of making coffee without a coffee maker, and most of them produce delicious coffee with ease. While there’s no one best way of making coffee, if we had to recommend just one method, we’d say go with cold brew. It’s easy, foolproof and will make an ideal cup of iced coffee every time.