Kitchen Hacks

How to Make Iced Coffee at the Office

August 14, 2012

Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today, a hack to turn hot coffee into iced -- right at your desk.

Come summer, most of us make the seasonal switch to our morning caffeine. Instead of hot, we drink it fortified with ice cubes, another line of defense against wilting in the heat. Unfortunately, our offices don’t often make the switch with us. Hot coffee is a regular fixture, year-round, regardless of the read on the thermometer outside.

Next time, skip the long lines of the coffee shop on your way in, and turn your office’s steamy brew into iced right at your desk. All you need is a tupperware container and a bit of ice. Until your office starts cold brewing, this should keep you cool.

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Start Off Steamy

If you’re the first one in the office, make your coffee. If you’re less of an early riser and arrive later: congratulations, you’ll probably get to skip this step.

Next, pour your coffee into a pint glass (any larger size glass will do), making sure to only fill it halfway. This is important -- you want all of the coffee in your glass to come in contact with the ice bath so it really gets a chance to chill.

Give Your Coffee a Bath

To make the ice bath, fill a Tupperware container with ice, one inch short of being full. Add enough cold water until your ice just starts to float.

Here’s the fun part. Put your coffee glass in the center of the ice bath, and agitate, gyrate, or move it around using another fun verb to help speed the chilling process along.

When the ice is mostly melted and your glass begins to feel cold and look frosty, you’re done! Remove the glass, add fresh ice, and doctor it to your liking. We use a bit of milk -- or cream if we’re feeling fancy -- and no sugar at all, but that part is up to you!

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Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Kathleen K. July 20, 2016
I add sugar to warm coffee then chill it or the sugar might not dissolve. I don't sweeten hot coffee but the iced coffee feels like a treat when I add sugar and almond milk.
Lisa August 26, 2014
I'd have to agree with JamieL.... I would be afraid the glass would break. I take yesterday's leftovers (or make a pot for this, because let's face it, who has leftiver coffee?!) And pit it in ice cube trays. Half cup of fresh coffee, add sugar (it dissolves better in hot coffee), half cup of coffee ice cubes, stir until mostly cold, add half and half.
Max March 30, 2014
make a pot of coffee overnight. make some coffee ice cubes. next day assemble in any tall glass, add a teaspoon or less sugar, add a large dollop of cream or 1/2&1/2 , stir and bob's yer uncle for iced coffee. YUM!
Steve July 25, 2013
Why can't you use a finer grind to get more flavor from the cold-brewing process?
dymnyno August 30, 2012
I make a large bottle of concentrated coffee every week using my "Toddy" and Community Coffee from Amazon utilizing the New Orleans method. It makes the most delicious iced coffee that I have ever tasted! I drink it all year 'round. And, it is so simple.
Cookie16 October 9, 2013
Agreed — though I have this as a special occasion drink via Blue Bottle Coffee in the Bay Area.
JamieL August 15, 2012
I would too paranoid to do this out of fear that my glass would explode. Also, hello, office weirdo twirling a glass of coffee in a tupperware of ice...
Karl R. August 15, 2012
I like to cold brew coffee at home - just combine the grounds with water and stir, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before straining out the grounds - amazingly smooth!
CookingMomTR August 14, 2012
I have no idea why anyone would bother with the ice bath...I simply make my usual morning coffee in my french press (adding an extra tablespoon of coffee to compensate for the ice later). When it is done, I pour it into a container and refrigerate it. When I'm ready for iced coffee, I pour it over ice, add simple syrup (or flavoured creamer) and stir...much simpler. I usually make the coffee the night before, so I don't have to wait in the morning. Starbucks does much the bath just seems like a mess to me.
LauriL August 14, 2012
And to think so many good years have past as I tolerated weak, diluted iced coffee by pouring the left over morning coffee over ice cube!!!! Wow! Guess my brain wasn't caffeinated enough to come up with this great in your face idea!!!! Cheers to the smart people!!
Beysh August 14, 2012
This method from Counter Culture (posted in the NY Times) is delicious--especially if you're not planning on adding milk.

DirectHeat August 14, 2012
An iced bath for your iced coffee...why didn't I think of that? Iced coffee at the office has been on the brain recently. I've been meaning to make some cold brew and transport it in one of the 1 liter-sized glass bottles I recently got (quattro stagioni brand -- love them!). This is a nice workaround for when I'm not planning ahead.
Michael H. August 16, 2012