It’s Time To Stop Wasting Money On Iced Coffee Because This Is A Perfect DIY
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Sometimes I’ll make a pot of coffee and then I don’t finish it, and it just seems like such a waste of money (because it is). Now rather than throwing out that coffee I’m going to put it in a container and slurp it up later as iced coffee. (I so wish I would’ve had this recipe down-pat when I ran into this problem awhile back.)

“While it’s no surprise that making your own cup of coffee is cheaper than buying it on the outside, the savings over time are eye-opening. Here’s a telling contrast: A 6-ounce cup of coffee made at home, at about 17 cents a cup per day, adds up to $1.19 a week and $62.05 a year. A 16-ounce grande coffee from Starbucks, at $2.29 per day, adds up to $16.03 per week, and a hefty $835.85 per year — the price of a mini vacation.”

(quote/stat via The Daily Finance)

Just last week I perfected my iced coffee recipe and now I feel like a total schmuck for ever paying that crazy price ($4.00 !??!) for the fancy coffee shop version. Plus, have you ever noticed that iced coffee is (usually) more expensive than the already expensive regular hot cup of coffee-shop coffee? Wanna know why? It’s because they “double brew” it.

So, what does “double brew” mean anyway, and can the homemade stuff be just as good (or better) than the expensive stuff?


Totally, totally, yes it can.

Here’s how it’s done.

How To Make Perfect Iced Coffee At Home – The Recipe…

1. Make your coffee like you usually do

2. Pour the whole pot of coffee into a bowl (this will free-up the coffee maker if you’re going to do a double brew)

3. So, what double brewing does is it makes the coffee super strong, and it also helps to the coffee to continue to have that “coffee” taste when the ice starts to melt and water it down.

How-To Double Brew: Dump out the grounds from the 1st pot of coffee (or even better, save them to re-use later as a coffee grounds exfoliator) then scoop fresh coffee grounds into the coffee maker/french press. This time though, instead of using fresh water, pour in the coffee that you just made. There you go, you just double brewed. Super easy, right.

On a side note: I’ve made a couple of batches of iced coffee and I tried the single/normal/one-time brew and the double brew just to see if it really did make any difference (because if it didn’t I didn’t want to spend the money on the extra coffee). Turns out, double brewing is much better for iced coffee, but then again, I like crazy strong tar-like coffee so if you don’t like your coffee like that then a single brew might do you just right.

4. Next, it’s time to make the Simple Syrup. I never knew this stuff was so easy to make either. I’ve made the mistake of using regular old granulated sugar in my previous attempts at iced coffee and then I would get a mouthful of sugar grit, which sucks and then it’s like, “Why am I eating raw sugar? Oh yeah, because I don’t know that Simple Syrup exists.”

Simple Syrup: Boil 2 cups of water, then pour in 2 cups of granulated sugar. Stir it up until the sugar dissolves completely.

5. Pour the Simple Syrup into a container. There’s no need to buy something new to put it in. I looked around my apartment to see what I could use. This 24 oz water bottle was the perfect fit, and I was sure to label it to make sure no one accidentally downed the sugar syrup, dumped it out or… watered a plant with it.

6. Then, pour the coffee into a bowl, pitcher or some other container to store it in. I used an old orange juice jug that I rinsed out twice and it worked great!

7. Put the coffee and Simple Syrup into the fridge to cool down. I let it mine chill overnight and then got into it the next morning.

8. My husband got a water at a coffee shop and they gave it to him in a large plastic cup with a straw (lucky me) so I’ve kept that cup and straw and have used it for my iced coffee for a few days now. It’s amazing how putting off-brand or generic stuff into name-brand containers makes some things seem not so rickety (this is a great tip to use with kids who love having name-brand stuff).

9. Fill up the cup with ice, pour in your ice-cold coffee, and then add creamer and Simple Syrup to taste.

I can hardly believe how easy iced coffee is to make and it really does taste as good as the coffee shop version. I’m so glad I’ve got this recipe ready to go for the summer!


Do you have any tips or tricks for making iced coffee? Do you make anything now that you used to buy and were surprised to find how easy it was to make yourself?


in DIY, Food, Groceries, & Recipes, Practical Solutions, Seasonal, Staying Out of Debt, Things To Do


  1. Katie // April 24, 2012

    This is genius. It's never occurred to me to double-brew coffee. I usually end up with single-brewed weak stuff that sits in my fridge for a while (because I'm not really that into it), or I'll use Starbucks VIA. The problem with VIA, besides its cost, is that I can't get a half-caf pack. So thanks for solving my many-faceted iced-coffee dilemma with this totally customizable process.

  2. gingermandy // April 24, 2012

    I never thought to double brew, that is such an awesome idea. I actually had an iced coffee epiphany recently too (and blogged my amazing findings), and I pour the extra small bit of coffee leftover in the pot every morning into a small ice cube tray I have to make coffee ice cubes. That way when they start to melt it doesn't get all gross and watery. So far I love it!

  3. Margaret // April 24, 2012

    Another way to double brew (and it probably tastes fresher since you are not "cooking" the first batch of coffee a second time is to simply double the amount of grounds and keep the amount of water the same. I second the idea of coffee ice cubes. Great way to use up leftover single brewed coffee.

    Just be sure to drink your iced coffee within a day or too. Coffee has a lot of oil in it and when the oils go rancid, they can give you a tummy ache.

    The other reason I think iced coffee from a shop is a ripoff is because they are increasing the price based on the cup size. For example, hot coffees are usually 12 oz, 16 oz and 20 oz. BUT… iced coffees are usually 16 oz and 24 oz. Unfortunately, the iced coffees are not actually more coffee since the ice accounts for some of the volume. So it kinda doesn't matter that it is "double-brewed." Also, in my experience, it's sometimes just their leftover hot (single-brewed) coffee. BOOOO.

  4. Anna Newell Jones // April 24, 2012

    The ice cube coffee is such a good idea gingermandy.

  5. Anna Newell Jones // April 24, 2012

    Hi Margaret, thanks for the additional info and ideas… would never have guessed that coffee is high in oil?!?!

  6. Kara // April 25, 2012

    This. Is. Genius. I also love the Pioneer Woman's "perfect iced coffee" recipe but it's a lot more time consuming and requires more tools, haha!

  7. Anna Newell Jones // April 25, 2012

    Thanks Kara! I'm gonna check out Pioneer Women's recipe, I'm curious about it now.:)

  8. Rebecca Hoy // April 25, 2012

    If you don't want to make simple syrup, you can also sweeten your coffee while it's still hot, and then all you have to do is add ice and cream when you make it. :)

  9. Anna Newell Jones // April 25, 2012

    That's a good idea too Rebecca.

  10. Lena H. // April 25, 2012

    This is great! Never thought about the "double brew" process — I've just been using a normal cold brew process so far.

    And I absolutely second (or third?) the coffee ice cube suggestion.

  11. jon payne // May 11, 2012

    Even though I have grown accustomed to drinking hot coffee in hot dessert climates (Iraq, Afghanistan..) I still find iced coffee to be a nice treat. The method I have been using lately is to make several cups (1-3) of black coffee and freeze overnight. The following day I pour fresh coffee over the frozen coffee and I have 'iced' coffee within a matter of minutes. This process keeps cool for several hours even in extreme temperatures. By repeating this method daily there is little if any wait time for iced coffee.

    Some things to consider:
    -I use a plastic water bottle (stored upright) when freezing with the lid only slightly threaded on the cap -loose enough to allow air to escape as the coffee expands during freezing, this avoids bulging or rupturing of the container.
    -For those of you that like blended drinks you may want to freeze black coffee and add your other ingredients (milk, cream, sugar syrup,etc.) after your hot coffee has begun to cool off.
    -Depending on how quick you like to get ingest your caffeine (and in what quantity) you may want to experiment with the ratio of frozen to hot coffee. It is probably best to err on the side of too much frozen coffee as hot coffee can be added later without running out.

    Lastly if you find this process to work well for you it may be worth purchasing this nifty product:
    Though I have no affiliation with the product I am planning on getting one upon return. If you are pleased with me method I will happily accept one (upon my return) as a gift.

    Enjoy your sipping…

    -SGT Payne

  12. Anna Newell Jones // May 13, 2012

    Insightful tips Jon!

  13. Tracy // June 26, 2012

    Another idea when adding the cream is using flavoured creams like the ones from CoffeeMate. Also to make a iced mocha add a couple squirts of chocolate syrup to the mix. or add powdered hot choc to the coffee before it cools down.

  14. Emiilee // July 5, 2012

    Hey there Anna I'm emiilee I'm from Australia I was wondering do cafes in the states put icecream in iced coffee? Because that's common practice over here (I work in a cafe by the way) thanx :)
    P.S I'm loving your blog I just wanted a leave in conditioner recipe and now I can't stop reading LOL

  15. Anna Newell Jones // July 5, 2012

    Hi Emiilee, they don't put ice cream in the iced coffee but, oh my gosh, that sounds amazing!

  16. Alice G. // July 14, 2012

    Hi Anna!

    Ever heard of cold-brew coffee? I have whats called a "Toddymaker" cold brew set. It saves on time, electricity, money and cuts the acidity of the coffee way down! I've been really cutting back on sugar, so I use 2 packets of artificial sweetener and lowfat or nonfat milk. It's awesome! Here's the link that shows you what it looks like and how it works.

    The Cupboard, a kitchen supply store in Fort Collins, carries them for less, I think!

    Alice G.

    P.S. This isn't some promo or anything! My boyfriend turned me on to it years ago. Hot brewed coffee was upsetting his stomach and this doesn't upset his stomach at all! Later!

  17. Megan M // December 9, 2012

    I never thought of the double brewing for iced coffee! I put my leftover pressed coffee in to ice cube trays like some of the above comments and then just add sweetened almond milk to make my iced coffee (kind of a reversed iced coffee, can also do the same with cocktails ie. bloody mary, etc). I look forward to trying your recipe.

  18. elizabethcarole // December 31, 2012

    I second the Toddymaker! I drink iced coffee year round and it’s amazing. No electricity and less acid = happy planet and happy tummy. :)

  19. Lindsey // April 12, 2013

    I’ve made my debt free pledge and the first habit I gave up was coffee! I actually named my blog after it. This is exciting news for iced coffee making. Since the weather is getting warmer, I’m starting to crave it. Even better, I can make it the night before and keep in the ‘fridge for the morning which is one less thing to do.

  20. Stacey // May 7, 2013

    found this blog by accident through pinterest, and can’t stop reading!! This is seriously the kick in the butt I needed to kick my ridiculous coffee-buying habit. I’m saving up for a big trip, and seriously, the iced coffees and teas were something I didnt think I could cut back on, but now I’ve made it my summer goal. Any clever ideas for iced teas that arent too bitter?

    • Anna Newell Jones // May 28, 2013

      Hmmm… I haven’t tried iced teas yet. If you find a good recipe let me know.

  21. Kristina // June 3, 2014

    I also have used sweetened condensed milk added to the double brew and its pretty amazing

One Trackback

  1. By cheap thrills | The Dinner Party Association on August 13, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    […] Brew your own iced coffee. This is strong and summery and simple (especially if you’ve got a French press). I like this tutorial. […]

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