Magical Coffee

December 2, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

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
Prep time: 5 hrs


Coffee Base

  • 2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

The Finished Drink

  • milk, half and half, or cream
  • ice
In This Recipe


Coffee Base

  1. Put ingredients in a quart jar and stir.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The Finished Drink

  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!
  • This recipe is a Community Pick!

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Reviews (114) Questions (4)

114 Reviews

Kim W. September 14, 2018
Yes, this is MAGICAL and so simple! I used only one tablespoon of brown sugar and it was delightful. The cinnamon gives it wonderful depth and the sweetness makes me smile.
Joan H. August 19, 2018
This would make great popsicles.
Kim W. September 14, 2018
Oh my, yes, popsicles...brilliant!
maggiesara June 17, 2018
For all the anal coffee fiends out there -- and you know who you are -- 2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee = 22 grams, by my measure.
lajuliaficationdumonde August 12, 2018
Kt4 September 2, 2018
😆 <3 this
Linda June 16, 2018
This easily replaced my coffee house vanilla sweet cream cold brew. The flavor is just fantastic! I didn’t have dark brown sugar so used raw sugar crystals and it’s great!
LULULAND June 12, 2018
Love this, the flavor with the freshly ground cinnamon, wowy!
Selene D. May 28, 2018
I loved it. It is my mexican “cafe de olla” but cold and creamy
Linda T. April 26, 2018
I'm officially ruined! I can drink no other coffee but this. It is just out-of-this-world delcious!!
LouLou May 10, 2016
All the delicious flavor of coffee with no bitterness - perfect for waking up to on a hot summer day! I used Rice Syrup (because I had no dark brown sugar) and it was delish!
cindy February 28, 2016
REALLY nice - even with regular coffee...
Taylor S. November 9, 2015
SO GOOD! I lived off of this over the summer...
Andrew S. July 29, 2015
I’ve backed off on the cinnamon (using ¼ tsp.) and add 2 tsp. vanilla extract. I also use the French press for the first two steps.
Carolyn O. June 27, 2015
I love this recipe. I had tried the cold brew method a few times before this and was never happy with the result. I was surprised I liked this because I do not add sugar to my coffee or espresso, milk yes, sugar no. Anyway I wanted to let you all know about a variation I have tried on this recipe. Instead of milk or cream try club soda. To me it tastes a lot like a Guinness. I tried the club soda because of an earlier recipe posted here at Food 52 maybe using tonic water.
BrettyJax June 23, 2015
In the refrigerator now! I opted for cocoa powder instead of cinnamon because I have never been a huge fan of the intense Mexican coffee taste
Carolyn O. June 27, 2015
oooooh cocoa powder ...nice alternative.
KLD1967 June 15, 2015
I made this last night and just had my first cup. Pure heaven and magic. Trying to figure out if it will be wrong to make this every day.
Alyson T. June 11, 2015
I recently had an iced coffee with condensed milk. A cold stimulating dessert!
ktgrice June 11, 2015
Even better if you freeze some coffee in ice cube trays and use them instead of ice. Keeps the flavor from watering down. Also a pinch of cardamom.
j.andrade June 11, 2015
Glad you all "discovered" the centuries old recipe for traditional Mexican coffee.
Artemis V. June 10, 2015
So basically cold-brew coffee with cinnamon?
Kathryn C. May 28, 2016
Right? I was wondering what makes this "magic" as well...
Pascal D. June 10, 2015
In Mexico, traditional coffee as grand ma would prep it ,would be made by boiling water in a clay pot, once water was ready very finely ground coffee was added,a couple of cinnamon sticks,a few clovers, and raw brown sugar paste, once poured some would even add a splash of any spirit at hand (even pure cane alcohol would do...)
ebony June 10, 2015
so the 'magic coffee' ... is just iced coffee???