For Iced Coffee, Do You Chill Java Quickly Or Slowly? We Asked An Expert

Whether you're new to home brewing or moved away from instant long ago, getting that perfect iced coffee can still feel like a secret you're not privy to. Recently, Mashed spoke with Matt Woodburn-Simmonds, a coffee expert and ex-barista who shares tips on brewing great coffee at home via his website, Home Coffee Expert, about his technique for cooling your hot java. "You want to pour your hot coffee straight onto the ice to cool it as fast as possible," he explains.

If you're worried about the hot liquid melting the ice and spoiling that coffee shop aesthetic, there are ways around it. While it's true that the heat of the java will melt the ice fairly quickly, you can always transfer the cooled coffee to another ice-filled glass. Alternatively, add more ice before serving if you don't fancy doing extra dishes.

He also advised what not to do: "If you put your coffee in the fridge to cool gradually ... it will oxidize and probably taste stale." Using the fridge might seem like a great idea if you're brewing a large amount of coffee for use throughout the day, but the taste will suffer if it's kept in an open container. You can alleviate this by storing the java in an airtight container, slowing the oxidization process. Still, serving immediately will give maximum freshness.

How to get cafe-worthy coffee at home

Matt Woodburn-Simmonds also shared a few more iced coffee tips with Mashed, adding that you should "[brew] your coffee at double strength so it isn't too weak after the ice dilutes it." This will ensure your java doesn't taste like mildly coffee-tinged water, hardly an ideal conclusion after all that effort. Popular coffee shops like Starbucks tend to use a double shot, so mirroring this at home will help give that professional feel.

Another way of maximizing the coffee's taste is by making coffee ice cubes, which Woodburn-Simmonds describes as "an easy ingredient to add to any iced coffee to make it cafe-worthy." Making these will require some extra prep, but it's worth it. "Simply freeze brewed coffee in your ice cube tray and use instead of regular ice cubes to ensure your iced coffee doesn't get watered down as you enjoy it," he explains. This will ramp up the coffee's taste (and caffeine kick!), and give your drink a deeper, more interesting color.