This post contains affiliate links.
Want a coffee machine that makes great iced coffee at the push of a button? Here are your best options.
Iced coffee brewers brew the coffee a bit stronger so it’s diluted back to regular strength when served over ice. Iced coffee is brewed with hot water and then chilled over ice. This produces coffee with more depth of taste than cold brew which is brewed with cold water.
Find the best options for iced coffee brewers below.
- 1 Best Iced Coffee Makers
- 2 How Are Iced Coffee Makers Different?
- 3 Is Iced Coffee The Same As Cold Brew?
- 4 Recommended Iced Coffee Tools
Best Iced Coffee Makers
Here are the 5 best ways to brew iced coffee. There are options for different wants, needs and budgets below.
Want to know how to make good iced pour over coffee by hand? Click here to find a step-by-step guide.
1. Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker
Just want a simple and cheap coffee maker for iced coffee. This Mr. coffee machine is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s very affordable and comes with a double walled tumbler that fits in the machine. This machine brews coffee stronger so it is the proper strength after serving over ice. The double walled tumbler helps keep your coffee cooler longer.
It’s not high tech and it’s quite plasticy but it does what it says on the box and pretty much everyone can afford this. The tumbler is plastic but BPA free and the machine comes with a reusable filter basket that doesn’t require paper filters. That means you can always use it and there is less base.
2. Ninja CP03 Iced & Hot Coffee Maker
If you want a machine that can do a bit more than just brew iced coffee, this Ninja coffee maker can do both and does both well. It produces great hot or cold coffee. There are many options to change the brew to your liking. There are different strengths and sizes you can choose from. And on top of that there is an option to brew over ice.
All those settings change the brew parameters to perfectly brew the style and strength of coffee you want. Having the option to brew hot and cold coffee in the same machine means you don’t need two separate appliances in your kitchen.
Wondering if the extra money is worth it? Read this article to find out.
Get it with the thermal carafe option if you can. It costs a bit more but helps keep your coffee cold or hot for much longer than the glass decanter.
3. De’longhi Dinamica (Plus)
Want something that does everything and does it well? The De’Longhi Dinamica is the machine for you. It will brew espresso, cappuccino, americano, iced coffee, etc at the push of a button. And it does it well.
This is not a cheap machine but it does everything you expect from a coffee machine. It has an iced coffee setting that brews great coffee. If you want a machine that grinds the beans fresh and makes good iced coffee and also produces espresso, can steam milk for cappuccino, etc.
The great thing is that it has an integrated grinder which means you can use whole beans which will brew better coffee than with pre-ground coffee. The grinder is adjustable so you can set it to your liking.
The standard Dinamica has the iced coffee setting and a steam wand for milk foam but you still have to do the steaming yourself. The Dinamica plus has a touchscreen where you can select the drink you want and it steams the milk automatically. This doesn’t add much for iced coffee (unless you want an iced cappuccino) but it does make life easier for hot milk drinks.
Want a really easy to use espresso machine? Here are a few more options.
The machine heats up quickly and all the right parts are dishwasher safe to make life easier. This is the machine for you if you want something that does everything. Pour in beans and water and push the button for any drink you want.
If you’re not interested in espresso drinks, this machine is likely a bit too much. If you just want a good machine that does hot and iced coffee well, get the Ninja one mentioned above and get a separate grinder so it’s possible to use whole beans. Using whole beans is a game changer and you won’t regret it.
4. Cone Brewer: V60, Kalita, Melitta, Clever Dripper, etc
The simplest way of brewing coffee is with a simple cone brewer like a V60, clever dripper (Amazon), etc. They are cheap, easy to use, don’t require electricity and are very hard to break. They are capable of brewing great hot or iced coffee. To brew iced coffee, you just have to know how to change your brewing technique.
If you know what you’re doing, these cone brewers are likely going to produce the best iced coffee you’ve had in a while. However, you do have to put some time and effort into learning a few skills and brewing the coffee. It’s a bit more involved than just pushing a button.
Is a V60 suitable for beginners? Click here to find my post on that topic.
You can read below how to brew iced coffee with one of these cone filters below.
Alternatively, an Aeropress is another good analog way of brewing iced coffee. The Aeropress brews quite strong coffee but with little bitterness which makes it great for serving over ice. The drawback of the Aeropress is that it brews relatively small amounts of coffee.
Many (but not all) Keurig and Nespresso machines have the option to brew iced coffee. If you like pod coffee, upgrading to a machine that has the ‘over ice’ coffee button. This simply uses a bit less water so serving it over ice doesn’t dilute it too much.
However, only use these machines if you like this type of coffee hot and cold. The coffee these machines produce is usually quite bitter and you have to like that to enjoy this type of coffee. Making it iced doesn’t really make the coffee any less bitter.
Is a Keurig machine worth it? Find out in this post.
How Are Iced Coffee Makers Different?
Can’t you just use a normal coffee maker to make iced coffee? Yes, you could but it would likely result in quite weak coffee. To make proper iced coffee, you reduce the amount of brew water to make stronger coffee which is then diluted by the ice. This way you end up with the same strength coffee as if you had hot coffee. If you add normal strength coffee to ice, you’ll get coffee that is quite diluted since the hot coffee will melt the ice quickly.
Iced coffee makers will thus change the brew settings to make the coffee a bit stronger and in smaller quantities so you can put your cup with ice under it and get the perfect cup of iced coffee.
If you want to use a simple cone brewer and not a machine, you can easily make iced coffee with a few changes;
- Decide how much coffee you want in total (how much is going to be in your cup?
- Take 1/3rd of the amount of coffee you want and subtract that from the amount of brew water.
- Instead, put that 1/3rd in your cup in the form of ice.
- Grind the coffee a bit finer than for hot coffee (if you grind your own beans).
- Bloom the grounds a bit longer in the filter (45 seconds instead of the usual 30 seconds.)
- Slowly pour the remaining 2/3rd of hot water on the grounds
Now the stronger hot coffee is dripping on the ice. The ice cools down the coffee. 1/3rd ice should be enough ice to exactly melt after you’re done brewing and the coffee should be cold.
It’s possible to drink it like that but you could also serve it over new ice if you want it to stay cold for a while.
In a hot climate, it’s a good idea to drink it from a thermal cup to prevent the coffee from warming up too fast.
Is Iced Coffee The Same As Cold Brew?
Keep in mind, cold brew and iced coffee are not the same thing. Both are served cold over ice but how they are brewed is quite different.
Cold brew is brewed by letting cold water hang out with coffee grounds for 8-24 hours. Alternatively there is drip cold brew which lets cold water drip slowly through a bed of coffee grounds. Either way, cold water is used to make cold brew.
Should cold brew be refrigerated or not? Click here to find out.
Iced coffee is brewed with hot water and then served over ice to chill. You brew the coffee stronger and with less water so it is diluted back to a normal strength when the ice melts.
There are fans in both camps. Cold brew coffee has a pretty delicate taste with very little bitterness and a light, floral acidity. It lends itself well to be mixed with a little bit of citrus. Despite the light taste, cold brew is pretty high in caffeine.
Iced coffee has more of the traditional coffee taste, just cold. It has more depth of flavor and you can taste much more of the beans than with cold brew. The hot water extracts more of the taste compounds of the grounds.
If you don’t like the bitterness of normal coffee, cold brew is more likely to be your taste. However iced coffee doesn’t have to be bitter. Try using a higher quality coffee and/or lighter roast. Coffee, even hot doesn’t have to be bitter if you use good brewing techniques and high quality beans.
Recommended Iced Coffee Tools
Iced coffee is pretty easy to make but here are some things to make it taste better.
- Scale: The key to good iced coffee is to replace 1/3rd of the brew water by ice in the carafe. To do this accurately, a coffee scale is essential. The TimeMore Coffee scale (Amazon) is high quality, looks good and is accurate.
- Grinder: Iced coffee requires slightly finer ground coffee so having an adjustable grinder will improve your iced coffee. Freshly grounded beans brew better coffee anyways. The TimeMore C3 (Amazon) gives you perfect adjustability and high grind quality.
- Beans: Of course with a grinder you need some beans. I like coffee with a bit more fruitiness and sweetness for iced coffee (if you drink it without milk). This Kenyan coffee (Amazon) is perfectly fruity and vibrant for iced coffee.