13 Tips To Add More Flavor To Your Iced Coffee

Most Americans drink coffee daily, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. The National Coffee Association reports that roughly 66% of Americans over 18 will drink a cup of coffee every single day. Some coffee lovers swear by plain, black coffee, while others opt for a latte with sweeteners and a lovely design on top. For some, it's an iced coffee or nothing, and while we love a cup of iced joe, learning how to dress these drinks is a whole different ball game compared to what you naturally add to lattes, cappuccinos, and other hot beverages. Since coffee shop iced or nitro coffees can be expensive, learning how to add flavor to your at-home iced coffee can give you a great coffee while saving a bit of money.

Iced coffees require a different approach because you don't have hot coffee to aid in the melting or dissolving of sugar or thick sauces, so iced coffee drinkers need to use alternative means to add flavor to their drinks. Fortunately, between syrups, special ice cubes, and everything in between, there's a whole host of ways to add flavor and life to that otherwise watered-down iced coffee.

Make a red eye by adding espresso

We absolutely love iced coffee, and there are plenty of ways to liven it up a bit. However, one of those ways can actually be to add more coffee. This is one of our regular go-to drinks when making coffee at home, and the method works great with iced coffee. We like it because it adds a bit of strength to our iced coffee that can sometimes be missing, and if you need an extra pick me up for your day, adding a quick shot of espresso to your regular iced coffee will do the trick.

Begin by putting a bunch of ice in a cup of your choice. We like using a thermos that will keep our drink cold for an extended time because our busy mornings sometimes get in the way of our coffee time. Next, brew your espresso and dump it directly into your cup over the ice. This will chill the espresso quickly. Add your cold coffee on top of the espresso and ice. We love Starbucks Madagascar Vanilla Cold Brew Concentrate because you get a lot in this one bottle. Then, add your creamer and syrups, and enjoy your spin on an iced red eye coffee.

Sweeten it up with syrup

One of the easiest ways to add extra flavor to your iced coffee is to add flavored syrup, and there are so many excellent coffee syrup brands to choose from. Big wigs like  Torani and Starbucks are always fabulous, but we also love smaller-batch brands like Pink House Alchemy.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine how much syrup you should add to your coffee. To answer this age-old question, we recommend turning to the serving size recommendation for your coffee syrup. We have noticed that most coffee syrups have a serving size of about an ounce. If this is the case, that is the amount of syrup you would want to use for a normal size cup of coffee. However, if you are making an extra large coffee that is roughly double the size of a typical coffee, go ahead and use 2 ounces (or if there's a pump on your syrup, play around with how many pumps of the syrup you enjoy in the coffee). Of course, you can always alter this depending on your preference, but this is certainly a good starting spot. We know it can be a little arduous to get out your measuring instruments for syrup, so we recommend just eyeballing it once you get your taste set. Less is always more, so start with a little bit, taste it, and then add from there.

Whip up your own cold foam

Starbucks' popular cold foam has been around for a few years, but it can be challenging to replicate at home if you don't have the right tools and ingredients. To add a little cold foam of your own to your home-brewed iced coffee, you will need a creamer of your choice and a handheld milk frother. Of course, if you have a milk frother like an Aeroccino, those will also work well.

Making a cold foam is truly quite simple. Put your creamer in a cup, put your whisk into that creamer, and start whisking. Some people like their cold foam a little thicker than others, so feel free to whisk until you are happy with the consistency. If you don't want to use creamer, you can do this with whole milk and heavy cream instead. Of course, this won't be as sweet unless you add your own sweetener. For that, we recommend adding a pump of your favorite liquid coffee syrup. If you are using a device like an Aeroccino, be careful of putting syrup in the machine with your milk because that can sometimes damage the machine. For situations where you are adding syrup to milk, we highly recommend a handheld frother that you can clean when you finish preparing your cold foam.

Freeze coffee ice cubes

We enjoy iced coffee year-round, even when it is frigid outside. So when it comes to ice melt, we know how difficult the perpetual battle can be. To help mitigate the diluting of your iced coffee due to melting ice, we highly recommend using ice cubes made from coffee. That way, your drink stays cold and doesn't get weakened at all. Plus, for something extra special, you can create ice cubes that will cool and sweeten your coffee at the same time.

For this simple hack, add some sweetener and creamer instead of just using plain coffee in your ice cube tray. This way, as the ice melts, you will get extra bursts of flavor added to your coffee. While regular ice tends to make iced coffee taste weaker and less flavorful over time, you can experience coffee that becomes better and better the longer it hangs out with the ice. Of course, depending on the environment, that iced coffee may take a little longer to melt. So consider adjusting the amount of ice you use based on your surrounding environment. If you are in a warmer temperature, use more ice. If you are going to be in a cooler climate, use less ice. That way, you can help preserve some ice cubes for when you need them most.

Double up on your beans

There are several different methods you can use to make iced coffee. While many choose just to pop that coffee in the fridge, you can make delicious iced coffee at home that is available much faster than coffee chilling in your fridge.

For this method, you'll be pouring hot coffee directly over ice. However, since hot coffee melts ice, you'll want to account for this while brewing your coffee. So, double the strength rather than brewing your pot of coffee at its usual potency. That way, when that piping how coffee gets poured over the ice, it will be strong, but not too strong, since the ice will take care of some of that initial coffee bite. When brewing, we recommend roughly 3 tablespoons of coffee grounds for 6 ounces of water. We think you'll find that your coffee comes out tastier and more flavorful than if you had done a pour-over method with regular-strength coffee.

Make a mazagran

When it comes to adding some extra flavor to your iced coffee, making a tangy mazagran is the perfect answer on a warm day. This drink is a mix of lemonade and coffee and originally hails from Algeria. From there, the drink found its way into French cafes.

To make a mazagran, mix together a shot of espresso, a little water, and some tart, freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then, pour that over a glass of ice for a delicious spin on your usual iced coffee. Of course, you can also jazz it up with some honey, sugar, or even vanilla extract to experience a whole new flavor. For another fruity coffee drink, consider adding espresso to orange juice. The tanginess of the orange reacts similarly to the lemon, which certainly adds a new flavor. The moral here is not to let yourself shy away from flavors that may not initially seem compatible, because they may just surprise you.

Trade in iced coffee for cold brew

If you love iced coffee, there is a good chance you have also tried, or at least considered trying, cold brew coffee. While both of these coffees are meant to be enjoyed cold, there are some significant differences between them.

When it comes to flavor, one of the first things you will notice is that cold-brewed coffee has a pleasant, smooth taste to it. Sometimes, iced coffee can have more of a bitter taste if it was brewed using hot water. When you opt for a cold water brewing process, you'll find that the bitterness won't be nearly as intense. With the absence of that bitterness and an increase in smoothness, you may notice that your sweeteners and creamers have a more significant impact on the taste because they have less bitterness to contend with. Cold brew also has a higher amount of caffeine. In fact, a cold brew coffee can have roughly 20% higher caffeine count than a regular, iced coffee will, notes Healthline.

Swap out dairy milk

Plant milk has had an ever-increasing presence in the dairy aisle. With choices ranging from soy to oat milk, there are many more options than there once were for people looking to avoid dairy or hoping to add a different flavor to their coffee.

Personally, when it comes to putting plant milk in our coffee, we love a nice oat milk for warm lattes and cappuccinos, and coconut is a delightful addition to iced coffee. However, no matter which type of plant milk you choose, it will alter the flavor of your coffee. Some kinds of milk will change it much more than others, so it may take some trial and error to determine the ideal plant milk for your coffee tastes. Many plant milk types also come in creamers now, and just like dairy creamer, they froth up nicely for your cold foam. In fact, this is one of our favorite ways to incorporate plant milk into our iced coffee.

Use thoroughly filtered water

If you feel like you're messing up your iced coffee and it just doesn't taste like the coffee shop stuff, don't give up. Instead, we recommend investigating one critical factor first: the quality of the water you are using. You likely know that your coffee is primarily water, but you may not know that your water's quality can significantly impact the quality and overall taste of your coffee.

Therefore, an easy way to change the flavor of your coffee is by swapping that tap water for filtered water. You can use the bottles of water you purchase in the grocery store or even from your refrigerator filtration system, as long as your filter is replaced on time. Failing to use quality filtered water will give your coffee a taste that just seems off, and it will be a significant way your coffee tastes different than it does from your favorite coffee shop.

Sprinkle on the spices

When it comes to flavoring your iced coffee, don't let yourself get stuck in a mentality of only using liquids to add some extra flavor. Instead, consider including a few dashes of your favorite spices.

Though you will want to be mindful of when you add in these spices and how much you include, adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg may be the perfect addition to your drink. One of our favorite coffee flavors is a combination of cinnamon, vanilla, and honey. And we think the cinnamon tastes best when sprinkled on at the very end. We often enjoy this drink as a hot one, but iced would undoubtedly be delicious, too. We know the fear of sprinkling dry particles in your coffee may be overwhelming, but if you don't overdo it, this shouldn't be a problem. If you're looking for a neat accent and a great cinnamon flavor without the powder, a cinnamon stick would also be the perfect addition to your drink.

Try a Vietnamese iced coffee

Another great way to add some delicious flavor to your iced coffee is by trying Vietnamese iced coffee. This will require a small amount of planning ahead on your part, but we think the results are well worth the effort.

In a large container that you are prepared to put in the fridge for at least eight hours, and ideally overnight, combine 8 cups of fresh filtered water with 2½ cups of coarsely ground dark roast coffee of your choice. You will let that steep in your fridge for the evening. After that is through steeping, run it through a sieve, put half in a container for the refrigerator, and use the other half to prepare the real magic for your Vietnamese iced coffee: sweetened ice cubes. Add sweetened condensed milk to your remaining coffee and whisk that well. Freeze this into ice cubes. Then, when you're ready to serve, pour the refrigerated coffee over your special ice cubes. You can also prepare Vietnamese iced coffee by pouring sweetened condensed milk over coffee and ice. However, this method will not allow the milk to incorporate as easily.

Blend a frosted coffee

When it comes to iced coffee, nearly nothing is more swoon-worthy than ice cream and coffee mixed together. So if you are in the mood for something ultra sweet, consider preparing a Chick-fil-A frosted coffee copycat drink.

For this one, you will just need instant coffee, hot water, and your choice of ice cream. You could also try using cooled espresso instead of instant coffee for a drink with more caffeine. We highly recommend using vanilla, but you could get pretty creative in this arena. Begin by brewing up some instant coffee and then letting it come to about room temperature. From there, simply combine your ice cream with your room-temperature iced coffee in your blender. It may table upwards of 20 seconds to get your consistency just right, but some blenders may need less time. While we wouldn't want to make this our daily ritual every morning (unless you have a huge sweet tooth), it certainly would be an excellent treat on some evenings, especially when you are entertaining guests.

Get sweet and salty with caramel iced coffee

It would be hard for us to find a coffee flavor we enjoy more than salted caramel. Though creating a salted caramel coffee is similar to simply adding syrup to your coffee, there are a few extra steps that make this one extra special. You will need some thick caramel syrup, coffee, ice cubes, sea salt, and your choice of milk. This drink offers an excellent opportunity to start experimenting with different kinds of plant milk because the other flavors are strong enough to cover up any unfamiliar milk taste you may experience.

Begin by mixing your coffee with your thick caramel syrup. Then, you're going to let that come to at least room temperature. While pouring hot coffee over ice is an effective means of creating iced coffee, for this recipe, you recommend letting your coffee cool down rather than pouring hot coffee at first. Once your coffee is cold, pour that over ice and add a little pinch of sea salt. You'll top off your drink with some milk, and you can also add some whipped cream if you so desire. If you have a little extra caramel syrup on hand, drizzle it over the top for a fancy coffee shop look.

Static Media owns and operates Mashed.