Best iced coffee makers

For many people, mornings are easier with some fresh coffee first thing. Hot coffee is great in the winter, but warmer weather inspires the desire for colder beverages. Iced coffee can be made as quickly and easily as regular hot coffee — you just need the right brewer. Once your coffee is ready, pour it over ice, add your favorite sweetener or creamer and get a great start to your day.

Iced coffee vs. cold brew

Iced coffee and cold brew are often discussed synonymously, but they are not the same. The process and the product are unique to each other.

Brewing process

Iced coffee is brewed hot just like regular coffee, then chilled and iced. Cold brew is made using only cold water but requires a brewing time of 12 to 24 hours, much longer than iced coffee. 

Caffeine

Cold brew is more caffeinated than iced coffee. A higher amount of caffeine is extracted from the bean during the longer brewing process, so it may require dilution. Iced coffee, however, is brewed similarly to hot coffee and packs the same punch. 

Flavor

Cold brew has a stronger flavor, so if you take your coffee black, you may prefer its taste. However, there are several ways to improve the flavor of your brewed beans. You can use filtered water to bring out the finer notes or add your favorite creamer and sugar to enhance the experience.

Manual vs. automatic

Manual iced coffee makers: Whether you like a pour-over coffee maker or a french press, manual options are simple to use and very affordable. Easy to care for, they can be stashed away in a cupboard to keep your counter clear. 

Automatic iced coffee makers: If you want iced coffee in a hurry, these models are regular coffee makers that include a setting for iced coffee. With the press of a button, the machine knows how to make the precise strength and amount of coffee needed to go over a cup of ice. However, they can take up precious counter space and be challenging to keep clean.

How to make iced coffee

If you’re ready to make yourself an amazing iced coffee, gather a few things first.

  • Coffee beans
  • A coffee grinder
  • An iced coffee maker
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Creamer
  • Sugar
  • A spoon
  • A glass or mug 

Prep

Coffee must first be prepared before it can be brewed, but in just a few steps, you’ll have a delicious caffeine drink.

  • Grind: Use a grinder to expose all of the flavors in your coffee beans. Even if you have pre-ground coffee, you can use a grinder to make it even better. Once the coffee has been chopped up just right, scoop the desired amount and place it in the coffee maker. 
  • Water: Fill the maker with enough water to be compatible with the amount of coffee grounds you’re using. Most makers will come with instructions for how to fill it.
  • Mug: Put ice in your glass, so it is ready to go once your coffee has been brewed.

Brew

Turn the iced coffee maker on and let it do its thing. If the coffee is not strong enough for your needs, you can use the first batch of brewed coffee like water and brew it again. Double-brewed coffee is bolder and more bitter but will definitely get you fully caffeinated for the day ahead. 

Stir

Pour your coffee into your pre-iced glass and add more ice if needed. If you are using granulated sugar, you may want to add the sugar to the glass before the ice. This will let it melt and sweeten your drink evenly. After the ice, sugar and coffee are in the glass, add your creamer. Stir the mixture together, taste and add more if needed. 

Best iced coffee makers

Manual iced coffee makers 

Ovalware Airtight Cold Brew/Iced Coffee Maker

Ovalware Airtight Cold Brew/Iced Coffee Maker

This well-designed, modern coffee maker brews hot and cold tea or coffee and features a borosilicate glass carafe with a handle for easy pouring. It also includes an airtight seal to ensure your beverage stays fresh. 

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Oxo Cold Brew Maker

Oxo Cold Brew Maker 

Compact and easy to use, this attractive model from Oxo features a borosilicate glass carafe with a cork stopper. Its “rainmaker” system on the brewer allows the water to be more evenly distributed over the coffee grounds. If you want iced coffee, use this first to make a batch of cold brew and then add cold water to dilute it.  

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Automatic iced coffee makers 

Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker

This coffee machine makes hot or cold coffee in multiple cup sizes with the push of a button. Press the “Iced” function, and it will select the proper brew strength and amount of coffee, which you can then pour over a glass of ice.  It also tells you when maintenance is needed. 

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Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System

Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System 

Use the “Over Ice” function to brew cold coffee and tea with this single-touch programmable machine. It can also froth milk for your drink in seconds and includes a removable water reservoir for easy refills.

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What you need to buy to make iced coffee

Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

This is a popular and durable grinder for whole coffee beans. It has 18 unique grind cycles and automatically shuts off when the cycle is complete. 

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Tovolo Ice Cube Mold Trays

Tovolo Ice Cube Mold Trays

This set of silicone trays makes 1.25-inch-thick ice cubes that you can remove individually. They come in several fade-resistant colors and are dishwasher safe.

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Yotipp Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon

Yotipp Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon

These eco-friendly and stainless steel stirring spoons can be used for iced coffee or other beverages. They are thin, long and will not rust from moisture.

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Coffee-Mate French Vanilla Creamer

Coffee-Mate French Vanilla Creamer

Want a creamer that pours and blends smoothly into your coffee? This 10.2-ounce bottle of sugar-free powdered creamer fits the bill. It’s also gluten-, lactose- and dairy-free, making it completely vegan.

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Contigo Vacuum Insulated Travel Mug

Contigo Vacuum Insulated Travel Mug

Have your iced coffee on the go with this travel mug that will keep it cold for up to 12 hours. It stays sealed to prevent spills, but sips can be taken easily by pressing the button on the side. 

Sold by Amazon

 

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Erica Redding writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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