What is Iced Coffee?

Last Updated on

Chilled and served over ice. The combination that makes up iced coffee leaves your taste buds tingling.

Iced coffee is simply that – coffee served over ice. It can be sweetened or flavored (as we will discuss later) to each person’s individual taste.

In this article, I wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about iced coffee and go a deeper into the seemingly innocent question, “What is iced coffee?”

Use the following table of contents to navigate this article!

Table of Contents

Let’s dive into it!

What can be in Iced Coffee?

The options for iced coffee can be endless. There truly is no right or wrong way to sweeten or flavor your iced coffee.

different kinds of iced coffee

Making it Sweet

Some people even choose to not add anything extra. For those who need a sweeter taste, here are some options.

Options include cream, half and half, and/or milk. These create a sweeter coffee taste in which the cream teases the taste buds with a hint of sweetness. The creaminess has a velvet taste.

Other additions include shots of espresso. If you ever need a kick of energy mid-day, a shot of espresso in your iced coffee is a great option. This addition will give you the energy to get through your day as well as add to the taste of the iced coffee.

Adding DIY Syrup

add syrup iced coffee

Granulated sugar will not effectively dissolve in a cold drink like it would a hot one. So if you are looking for a sweeter addition to your iced coffee try a simple syrup.

The recipe for simple syrup begins easy enough, combine one-part sugar and one-part water then boil until dissolved completely.

This gives you a base for the simple syrup.

Here’s a video we love about how to make caramel syrup for coffee that you can apply to iced coffee.

Other things you may like to add

What you decide to add after that is totally up to you. Some flavor combinations include but are not limited to rose extract, fresh mint, rosemary/clove, cardamom and star anise, blackberry/lavender, and sweet peach/lemon verbena.

Coconut milk is another add in that gives your iced coffee a jam-packed body and taste. A full-bodied taste from the coconut milk will give the iced coffee a sweet texture that you will enjoy.


While coconut milk is delicious, so is coconut water. With the addition of coconut water, the “in” craze right now, your iced coffee will yet again get another unique taste. It is given an almost chocolaty taste to the end result.

Since ice cubes is a must in iced coffee, it is not unusual for the ice cubes to water down the taste of the coffee. There are two ways to combat this.

One way is to double the strength of the coffee that is brewed. The other way is to make coffee ice cubes. Either way, your coffee with hold the strength you desire.

Truly, what you can put in iced coffee will depend on personal taste and unique combinations. There is no right or wrong way to create flavor in iced coffee.

Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee

Now it is not uncommon to confuse an iced coffee with a cold brew. Both drinks are often chosen favorites on hot days that require a cool down. Both are cold and the additions as mentioned above, can be added.

cold brew vs iced coffee

Iced coffee, going back to the solid definition, is coffee over ice cubes. In comparison, the difference between the two drinks is time.

A cold brew is steeped for at least twelve hours. Once steeped for at least twelve hours, the grounds are filtered out. The result is a coffee concentrate that can then be added to milk or water and served over ice.

This way of creating a cold brew also effects the taste of the coffee. A cold brew is often less acidic and bitter than iced coffee because of the steeping and what happens to the oils, sugars, and caffeine.  

Sweet Iced Coffee Versus Affogato Coffee

If you are anything like me, my creamer has a dash of coffee in it. That said, I like my drinks to have sweetness. It is not hard to add sweetness to an iced coffee. As shown above, there are many add ins that can really pump up the flavor.

If your taste buds are looking for something sweeter, try an affogato coffee. This delicious mix includes ice-cream, espresso and coffee all in one.

An affogato coffee means “drowned” in Italian. It is a scoop of ice-cream “drowned” in espresso. This chilled coffee drink with tantalize any picky taste buds. Some variations of this drink also include an amaretto or other liqueur.

While ice-cream can be added into iced coffee for a delectable taste, an affogato coffee is usually served in a smaller cup with the shot of espresso on the side.

Now, on to our glorious recipe!

How to Make Iced Coffee at Home (Recipe)

Homemade Iced Coffee: According to Live Laugh Rowe

Servings 4 -5 cups


  • Water
  • Ice
  • Ground Coffee
  • Simple Sugar
  • Half and Half Creamer


  1. Brew 10 cups of coffee, measuring five 1/8 cup heaping scoops.
  2. After brewing, refrigerate until chilled, optional.
  3. Place 1 cup of ice into a 16 oz. cup
  4. Pour 1-1/4 cup coffee over ice.
  5. Add 2 teaspoons simple sugar and 2 tablespoons of creamer.
  6. Mix and serve.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: The longer the coffee sits in the fridge, the stronger it will become. Adding more or less sugar and cream is at your discretion.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.