Magical Coffee

By • December 2, 2009 • 87 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe was inspired by a drink I love at a local cafe. (Theirs is "magic coffee.") After my first taste, I went home and immediately started tweaking a recipe. They brew the coffee hot, but since it was summer and I am lazy, I wanted to use a cold-brewed coffee base, and I started with a recipe from the Times. There's lots of room for variation depending on what flavors you like--I did a Scandinavian version with white sugar, almond extract, and crushed fennel seeds too.ErinH

Food52 Review: One of those recipes that's a great concept rather than a precise formula, ErinH's iced coffee takes inspiration from both her local coffee house and the New York Times. Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a few spoonfuls of dark brown sugar to the coffee as it cold-brews gives it a lush sweetness and a hit of warmth. After a night in the fridge, you strain the coffee and pour it over ice cubes. Then comes the cream. (Or milk, depending on your mood.) And then, as ErinH says, you "die of happiness." We loved this iteration and think her "Scandinavian version" (using almond extract and fennel) sounds like a winner too. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 2-4

Coffee Base

  • 2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  1. Put ingredients in a quart jar and stir.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The Finished Drink

  • milk, half and half, or cream
  • ice
  1. Pour the coffee base through a sieve or strainer into a bowl, then strain back into jar for easy storage.
  2. For each drink: Fill a tall glass halfway with ice. Pour in coffee until glass is about 3/4 full, and add milk/half and half/cream to taste.
  3. Die of happiness.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
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Tags: Easy

Comments (87) Questions (2)


3 days ago Eileen W.

Just needs to be strained sufficiently -- I used a coffee filter.


2 months ago Gary Hughes

I'm going to try this with my new espresso maker tomorrow by putting the coffee in with the cinnamon and a cardomom pod so it heats through and up into the pot together.... I like the idea of it hot instead of cold... add some palmyra jaggery - - for sweetness... YUM!


3 months ago beejay45

I just bought some cinnamon oil, and as soon as I have it I'm going to try this recipe with it. Good Earth Tea uses (used?) cinnamon oil in their proprietary blend. It gave regular black tea a really sweet taste, and I loved it. I'm eager to see what it does for cold brewed coffee. Thanks to Jennifer for her comment which reminded me of this recipe. ;)


3 months ago Jennifer

Super yummy! Even in the middle of winter!


6 months ago TheLearningCook

Hmmm. No wonder my iced coffee is always the buzz of the century. I usually do 1 cup grounds per 2 cups water. I think this recipe really sounds worth trying so it is in the pitcher now.

I actually bought a pitcher that is designed for iced coffee. It if don't work at all but it works gret to strain it! Lol.


6 months ago TheLearningCook

Ugh. Auto correct. It doesn't work at all.


6 months ago Lisa Reese

LOVE LOVE LOVE! This makes me so happy


8 months ago rick maynard

WOW........I've been making iced coffee by the gallon for a couple years now.
Tried many different sweeteners from sugar to coffee creamer flavorings and was told by a friend to try sweetened canned condensed milk. BINGO but a half a can per gallon is plenty. NOW I can't wait to try the brown sugar. It sounds awesome !!!!!


8 months ago Nicole

Drinking this now it's yummy! I have no fancy coffee press but I use a keurig I brew dark roast into mason jars then leave in fridge overnight, I also make iced coffee cubes as I don't like to water down my drinks. In the morning I put all ingredient into my vitamix add a few iced coffee cubes and blend it's also really good to blend in a few pecans for flavor too! Thanks for the recipe I never thought to use brown sugar in my coffee!


8 months ago Kevin French

Made this last night to pair with a warm day today. Very nice recipe that even the wife likes (she usually dislikes iced coffee). Thank you for the recipe. Will def make this again.


9 months ago chefbonandee

The 'Scandinavian version' you mention in the intro has been our GO TO recipe for some time now! It's tastier than any of the bottled stuff we've come across. I make large batches to last us all week: 2.5 cups of freshly ground coffee, 9 cups water, 1 tablespoon ground fennel seed, 1 teaspoon almond extract (sometimes I divide this and do a bit of vanilla as well), 2 tablespoons sugar (whatever we have on hand). Yum and yum.


about 1 year ago tastysweet

If you go to blog, you will see a similar receipe. Difference is putting the grounds in the large strainer(from Amazon). Go to site and look up non alcholic beverages. Then you will see recipe and on the right side of page you will
see the Amazon ad for the filter. I use one for Iced tea and one for the coffee. Use a wide mouth quart jar with a lid for when storing the iced coffee. Pour filtered water on to the grounds slowly. It will take a while. I use a chop stick to stir the grounds while the water is seeping in. Cover with the strainer cover(comes with it) and store on counter for 12 hours. Take strainer out and viola. Best iced coffee EVER. I put in cinnamin and some dark chocolate unsweetned cocoa.


about 1 year ago twinjadojo

This technique will give purpose to my large French press at least 6 months of the year. It is so choice.


over 1 year ago Annie

This is an AMAZING recipe! Thank you so much! I have really been wanting a good, easy recipe for iced coffee that doesn't require all these ingredients that I wouldn't normally have on hand! I made this "Magical Coffee" tonight and both my husband and I think that it really is like the name says ... Magic! I will definitely be making this again!


over 1 year ago Katelinlee

Should probably give Graze some love here, yes?


over 1 year ago ErinH

Graze didn't exist at this point--I originally had the drink I modeled it after at Cafe Soleil. There's a nod in the intro! :) (And nowadays, yes, let's give Graze a nod!)


over 1 year ago Katelinlee

Oh, I miss Soleil. As soon as I saw this recipe, I guessed you might be a Madisonian. I will have to give your version a try! Looks delicious!


over 1 year ago jmjdubai

That was really good. Actually i didn't like coffee for a long time. But now I started liking coffee because of its health benefits. I read some articles about coffee and your health benefits from a website. The site also offers a lot of coffee recipes.


over 1 year ago Peggy

Just tried this and had to comment for those wondering if it's worth the effort - give it a try, you won't be disappointed. Excellent, smooth, tasty iced coffee! I used light brown sugar (it's all I had on hand) and it was still wonderful.


over 1 year ago Trena Heinrich

Now I know why this recipe is called Magical coffee. I just made a batch and it tastes delicious! Summer just got better.


almost 2 years ago Janneke Verheij

With the ground seeds of two cardamom pods and a teaspoon of rose water. In the second cup I plunged a scoop of very dark chocolate sorbet. I think it will be a good base to make Greek Frappe as well. Thank you for the inspiration.


almost 2 years ago MarkO

An addition to our daily routine now, thank you!!


almost 2 years ago beejay45

To make filtering less of an issue, I make cold brewed coffee in a French press. I put in a half pound of grounds, fill it with water (it's the litre size), and let it rest for a few hours. I do the press thing, bottling the very strong coffee base and putting it in the fridge. Then I refill the carafe and repeat. Of course the second "pressing" isn't as strong, but it's still plenty strong. This makes a base to be diluted with water or milk, for my tastes about 1 part base to 10 parts milk, but ymmv. If I'm making big pitchers of the iced coffee/latte, I'll "brew" the same grounds a third time and not dilute so much.

Depending on the grind you use, you may need to either let the base settle and pour off the clear part, or pour it through a coffee filter to get any sludge that might have made it past the press.

I have a sensitivity to the coffee oils, and this cold brewing is the only thing that's let me have anything coffee since my teens. For me, the first flush is best, as after that the oils start to come out even in cold water. But, as someone who used to love coffee, I appreciate the whole process and wish I'd heard/thought of it years ago.


almost 2 years ago gotham gourmand

Simply put: I'm addicted! I've had to resort to hiding the jar in the back of the fridge so the rest of the house doesn't drink it. Can't wait to try some of the other variations! I can tell I'll be brewing this up all summer!


almost 2 years ago Grainy

for real decadence on a hot afternoon by the pool,substitute milk/half and half/cream with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve with a cinnamon stir-stick.


almost 2 years ago rjfk926

This is absolutely fantastic I make 3 jars a day and it is gone by the end of the day!!! Coffee junkie!!! :)


almost 2 years ago Mitch Fagans

I used Baileys instead of cream,and also threw in a shot of crown royal for an excellent after dinner cafe.


almost 2 years ago maeveoh

How deliciously I started my morning today!! Inspired by a cup of coffee I had repeatedly on a 2010 SF trip at Philz Coffee (Philosopher's blend), I added 5 cardamom pods (crushed slightly) to my doubled recipe. Extra magical!


about 2 years ago ErinH

So glad many people are enjoying this! Pureun, I dont know the Food52 policy on putting things on your blog, but you'd probablybe okay if you share with an attribution and link. Thanks!


about 2 years ago Pureun

Yes, of course!I'll put the source of this recipe. Thank you :)


about 2 years ago Pureun

I also just made this! I can't wait tomorrow. Can I share this recipe my blog?


about 2 years ago Jazziered

I just made this. The cinnamon took over the coffee taste for me. Going to try again without the cinnamon and a little vanilla extract instead.


about 2 years ago Jazziered

I forgot to add: I ran it through my mesh strainer to get rid of the big stuff. Rinsed out strainer put paper towel in the strainer and strained again for the smaller stuff. A coffee filter did not work for some reason.


about 2 years ago GailP

This recipe is absolutely perfect.


about 2 years ago casandmatt

So good! I've made it the last two days. Love it.


over 2 years ago Barbarella LovesDanny Duvall

OMG this is simply amazing. I used ground coffee and it was a little bit of work bus SO amazing. I will used coarsely ground next time.


over 2 years ago The Cooking of Joy

I just made a pumpkin spice latte version of this! http://the-cooking-of-joy...


over 2 years ago Asma

The recipe calls for 2/3 cup as in two thirds not 2 cups! Don't repeat my mistake :p


over 2 years ago Asma

The recipe calls for 2/3 cup as in two thirds not 2 cups! Don't repeat my mistake :p


over 2 years ago KyleandMorgan

Instead of using regular milk we put milk and white chocolate chips in a double boiler until smooth and added to the coffee mixture.... Amazing


over 2 years ago Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

Sounds delish I'm going to use Vietnamese cinnamon for a little extra yum factor when I make this over the weekend


over 2 years ago tasty chick

I would like to know what kind of coffee everyone used that they thought it was so good. I made it with Starbucks Dark French Roast and it was horrible - very bitter no taste of cinnamon or sweetness. I dumped a lot of French Vanilla creamer in it in order to drink it. Apparently no used that coffee????


over 2 years ago Frangra

I would recomend either Starbucks Espresso Roast or their Verona. French Roast is way to smokey for this type of iced coffee beverage. If you still want something lighter, their Guatamala is excellent too. I sometimes you it in my home espresso machine. Hope that helps! Can't wait to try this myself.


8 months ago rick maynard

I use breakfast blend.........grind it course........BOOM.


over 2 years ago EmilyC

My mom made a big batch of this for my visit, and I can't stop drinking it. I'm surprised how much I like the cinnamon here. Great, great thing to have hanging out in the fridge!


almost 3 years ago ReneKrine

I make a large batch of cold brewed coffee every 2-3 weeks using an entire pound of coffee... Then I stir in a little half and half, and about a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk -I saw it called thia iced coffee once... It is amazing!
I'm going to try your method today and see how the additions are, then maybe adjust my current recipe!


over 3 years ago madebylis

I used a french press to make this last night and had it this morning. Truly magical!


over 3 years ago Rhonda35

I love step #3 - so funny!


over 3 years ago Lemongrass

Ok just made this with Trader Joes 'winterblend coffee' which has ground red and green peppercorns , cloves and cinnamon to the coffee. Oh ya can't wait till morning!


over 3 years ago growinggourmand

this is sooooooooooooo super delicious.. What a great way to save money and enjoy a silky smooth delicious coffee!


over 3 years ago petrichor

I cant wait to try this. I love watching the cream swirl through iced coffee


over 3 years ago Ashleigh Clark

LOVE this! Just made it last night and enjoying it this morning :) I only added milk and it is just delish! Definitely a staple to my morning now!


over 3 years ago danitagday

This is a great recipe. I've been sending it to all of my friends and making it for a couple of months now. It's so hot in Texas that iced coffee is the way to go. I only use 1T of brown sugar.


over 3 years ago Nithya

This was so delicious, I even blogged about it. I wouldn't change a thing. I'm even reluctant to experiment with other spices.


over 3 years ago hobbybaker

Simply delicious! And, since it's about our 32nd day at 100 degrees or hotter here in Oklahoma, this is the ONLY coffee I'm willing to consider...till cooler weather prevails. Definitely a keeper!


almost 4 years ago ashleyamore

Expect my long commute and even longer class tomorrow will be much improved with a carafe of this magical coffee. Is it morning yet?


almost 4 years ago AlizaEss

Going camping next weekend in Montana for 10 days... this will be a great way to get starting in the morning without having to start a fire or cookstove. Yum!


almost 4 years ago Joanie3030

I just tried my first glass which I brewed last night and I have to say it was the best
Iced coffee I have ever had.I am originally from N.Y. Where we drink a lot of iced
coffee in the summer. I now live in Florida so I will drink this all year round


almost 4 years ago mbj913

I've ade the Times recipe using the French press bu am intrigued to try your version with fennel. I'm a bug fennel ice cream fan.


almost 4 years ago Maxxwellong

Served this for brunch this morning to a non-coffee drinker. She loved it, as did I. I may start making it for myself as a morning treat.


almost 4 years ago MeghanVK

Enjoying the fennel seed & almond version as I type - so delicious!


about 4 years ago Cincysue

I made this a few days ago and thought it was really good! However, if you are like me and prefer drinks a little less sweet, I would start off with 1 Tb. brown sugar and go from there. The cinnamon was a really good addition. I also used coffee beans that I roasted myself so that made it extra delicious.


about 4 years ago Spork

delicious! even in the winter I love a good iced coffee.


over 4 years ago KimA

When I make this hot do I put the brown sugar and cinnamon right in with the grounds?

LOVED the cold version.


over 4 years ago KimA

Oh yummyness! I made this up last night and will have it at work today. :)


over 4 years ago Sandy Castle

I made this for my daughters (17 and 14) and they loved it so much that they are now making it themselves every evening so they can have it in the morning. They prefer it over the coffee house drinks! Thank you.


over 4 years ago ErinH

Thanks! I just bought an ice cream maker (finally!) this weekend, so I'm now thinking about an ice cream or gelato recipe based on these flavors.


over 4 years ago dymnyno

I have been making this coffee since I read about it in the NYTimes and then you reminded me again about how much I love this coffee. The SF Chronicle reminded me all over again. Still, I go back to your instructions because Food 52 is where I can see it immediately. Thanks again for such inspirational coffee....magical!


over 4 years ago MissGinsu

Seems like the perfect thing for brunching. I'm putting this on the "keepers" list for the next time I entertain. :)


over 4 years ago Teri

How did I miss this first time around? What a great drink for summer brunch. And if someone adds some Bailey's or amaretto, who am I to complain?


over 4 years ago AppleAnnie

This is definitely delicious. I made it in the french press also, and had no problem with residue from the ground cinnamon in final "brew.". Have enjoyed it every morning this week, a great incentive for getting out of bed on a workday morning.


almost 5 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Made this, drank it, enjoyed it...thoroughly and I'm not a coffee drinker. Wow, magically good coffee! I'm going to make it again with crushed cardamom seeds and maple syrup!!!!! Thank you for introducing me to the world of cold brew - which i didn't know existed


almost 5 years ago hennef7


I drink iced espresso every morning in the warmer weather. Made it with the cold brewed method this morning and it was much less bitter.



almost 5 years ago hennef7


I've been drinking an iced espresso every morning for several weeks now, but used your cold brewed method this morning and it is much less bitter.

Thanks, Audrey


almost 5 years ago ted

Delicious. I pour it back through a coffee filter to get rid of the sediment, but the powdered cinnamon clogs up the filter, so I use 2 cinnamon sticks instead.


about 5 years ago ErinH

I'm glad you all are enjoying this recipe. I don't know why I never thought of booze--what a good idea.


about 5 years ago Annelle

Erin, I had to do an exhaustive search in my 'history' to find you and this recipe...I came across it last week while scrolling through blogs and made a mental note. On New Year's Eve, I mixed a double batch. While we were recovering the next morning with Bloody Mary's, I strained the coffee, and later in the afternoon, I mixed a batch of drinks using the Magical Coffee, Vanilla Infused Vodka, a little Bailey's Mint, and milk, all over ice. It was a wonderful afternoon pick us up!! And a fantastic drink!! Just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed it! Thank you!


about 5 years ago liamoran

I made it! It is so good. The combination of cinnamon and brown sugar is delicious. I don't usually take cream in my coffee, but I had a little half and half, so I added that. Divine. Magical Coffee has changed my morning routine, if not my whole life.


over 5 years ago mariaraynal

Very cool, and so pretty. Great idea on the brown sugar. My dad runs espresso through a traditional coffeemaker and adds a healthy dash of cinnamon to the grounds before brewing, and people love his coffee.


over 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This sounds wonderful! Thanks for the recipe Erin.


over 5 years ago dymnyno

I live on ice coffee all summer and keep the cold brew method recipe in my fridge . I love your additions. Congratulations


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Okay, I'm still here. I've made this, both versions (several times), and I didn't die of happiness. But I did feel like I'd died and gone to heaven!! I can see this becoming the ace in my morning rotation, with experimentation and new versions forthcoming, especially next spring when the mornings are warmer on a regular basis. Thank you so much, ErinH, for sharing this gem with us!!


over 5 years ago liamoran

I just mixed up a jar of this. I can't wait to try it tomorrow. It sounds delicious and the picture is beautiful! And I love the cold brew method. I work at a coffee shop and we brew our iced coffee hot and then shock it into submission with ice.


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks, Erin. That sounds so good!! If you don't hear from me again, it will certainly be because I have, indeed, died of happiness ;o)


over 5 years ago ErinH

Antonia, for the Scandy version, leave out the cinnamon and brown sugar; instead, use 1/4 tsp. almond extract, 1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, and 3 tbsp. white sugar. Enjoy!


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Yum, this looks, well, magical!! I'm going to try the Scandinavian version tonight. But I'm not sure about the third step . . . I'd like to be happy when I die, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to go just yet.