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What is Iced Coffee: A Journey Through Global Varieties and Brewing Techniques

Discover a world of delicious iced coffees from different countries and brewing techniques that will give you an unforgettable caffeine boost.

16 min read
 What is Iced Coffee
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Iced coffee has become a summer staple for millions of people around the world. This refreshing drink is loved for its ability to provide a cool and caffeinated pick-me-up during hot summer days. Despite its widespread popularity, many coffee enthusiasts are unaware of the global varieties and brewing techniques that go into creating the perfect cup of iced coffee.

In this post, we will take you on a journey through the different types of iced coffee enjoyed around the world, explore the various brewing techniques that produce this beloved drink, and provide you with some delicious recipes to try at home. So, let's dive into the world of iced coffee and discover what makes it so special!

What is Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is simply a cooled coffee served over ice. It differs from hot coffee not just in temperature but often in flavor, as the chilling process tends to bring out subtle notes and nuances that might be overshadowed by heat. Iced coffee can be brewed in various ways, with some methods producing a smoother, less acidic flavor profile than others.

As such, it is no surprise that there are many variations and interpretations of this iconic beverage. From Japanese iced coffee to the Vietnamese ca phe sua da, each country boasts its unique take on this refreshing drink. Now, let's take a tour around the world and explore some of the most popular iced coffee variations, the techniques that go into making them, and the cultural significance behind them.

Iced Cappuccino

Iced Cappuccino

The iced cappuccino is a twist on the classic cappuccino, combining espresso, cold milk, and ice. The traditional method involves pouring a shot of espresso over ice, followed by cold-frothed milk, which creates a velvety texture and a beautiful layered look. It's perfect for those who love the richness of a cappuccino but crave a cooler, more refreshing experience.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Cà Phê Sữa Đá)

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Cà Phê Sữa Đá)

This strong, sweet concoction hails from Vietnam and features robusta coffee brewed with a phin filter, sweetened condensed milk, and ice. The coffee is slowly dripped over the condensed milk, then stirred and poured over ice, resulting in a bold, creamy, and slightly viscous drink. It's the ideal pick-me-up for those with a sweet tooth and an appreciation for strong, dark coffee.

Iced Mocha Coffee

Iced Mocha Coffee

This indulgent beverage is like a dessert in a glass, blending the flavors of coffee, chocolate, and ice cream. To make it, mix cold brewed coffee with chocolate syrup, pour over ice, and top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Perfect for special occasions or when you need a little treat, the iced mocha coffee float is sure to satisfy any craving.

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Coconut Iced Coffee

Coconut Iced Coffee

Tropical and refreshing, this variation involves adding coconut milk or coconut cream to cold brewed coffee, then pouring it over ice. You can also add a splash of coconut syrup or a few drops of coconut extract for an extra burst of flavor. This drink is great for those who prefer a dairy-free option or simply enjoy the taste of coconut.

Japanese Iced Coffee

Japanese Iced Coffee

Japanese iced coffee, also known as flash-chilled coffee, is a method that involves brewing hot coffee directly onto ice. This process preserves the coffee's acidity and bright flavors, resulting in a crisp, clean, and refreshing taste. Japanese iced coffee is perfect for those who enjoy a lighter, more delicate flavor profile.

Iced Americano

Iced Americano

A popular variation of iced coffee. It is made by pouring a shot or two of espresso over a glass of ice and then adding chilled water. The result is a deliciously smooth and refreshing beverage that provides a strong caffeine kick.

The origin of its name, Americano, is believed to have come from its creation during World War II when American soldiers stationed in Italy would dilute their espresso shots with water to create a milder-tasting coffee more similar to what they were used to drinking back home. Today, iced Americanos can be found in many coffee shops around the world and are a go-to choice for those seeking a cool and satisfying coffee fix.

Iced Flat White

Iced Flat White

The iced flat white, originating from Australia, is a twist on the classic flat white coffee. It is made by pouring a double shot of espresso over a glass of ice, followed by a velvety layer of cold milk. Unlike a traditional flat white, which has a thick layer of creamy foam, the iced version is served without foam, making it a more refreshing option.

The result is a creamy, smooth, and refreshing coffee that is perfect for hot summer days. Thanks to its popularity, iced flat whites can now be found in coffee shops around the world, bringing a touch of Australia's coffee culture to every corner of the globe.

Freddo Espresso

Freddo Espresso

Freddo Espresso, from Greece, is a popular iced coffee beverage that has taken the coffee world by storm. It is made by mixing two shots of espresso with sugar to create a thick syrup which is then poured over ice. The syrup is then topped up with cold water and gently stirred to create a frothy layer on top.

The result is a rich and bold espresso flavor that is both refreshing and invigorating. Freddo Espresso is a staple of Greek coffee culture and is often enjoyed with a glass of cold water on the side to cleanse the palate between sips. So, if you're looking to satisfy your caffeine cravings while cooling down in the summer heat, Freddo Espresso is definitely worth a try.

Freddo Cappuccino

Freddo Cappuccino

Freddo Cappuccino, another beloved iced coffee drink from Greece, is a delicious and refreshing take on the classic cappuccino. It is essentially a Frappuccino without the whipped cream on top. The drink is made by mixing two shots of espresso with sugar until it becomes a thick syrup, which is then combined with cold milk and ice in a blender.

The result is a frothy and creamy iced coffee beverage that is perfect for hot summer days. Freddo Cappuccino is often enjoyed as a mid-day pick-me-up or as a social drink with friends. It is a beloved staple of Greek coffee culture and can be found in many coffee shops across the country. For a unique twist on a classic coffee drink, Freddo Cappuccino is definitely worth trying.



Mazagran is an iced coffee beverage with roots in both Portugal and Algeria. It originated during the 19th century when French troops were stationed in Algeria and needed a refreshing beverage to combat the scorching heat. The beverage was named after the Algerian town of Mazagran, where the French soldiers had their first taste of the drink.

The traditional method of making Mazagran involves brewed coffee, lemon juice, and sugar, served over ice. The acidity from the lemon juice, combined with the sweetness of the sugar, creates a unique and tangy flavor that is both refreshing and energizing. Mazagran has become a staple of Portuguese and Algerian coffee culture and is often enjoyed as a mid-day thirst quencher or as an after-dinner digestif.

Iced Latte

Iced Latte

The iced latte is a beloved classic that can be found in coffee shops around the world. It is a perfect balance of creamy milk and strong espresso, poured over ice. The ratios of milk and espresso can vary depending on personal preference, and some people even like to add syrups or flavorings to give it a unique twist.

The origins of iced latte can be traced back to Italy, where it is known as Caffe Shakerato, and it has since become a popular beverage globally. It is a perfect choice for those who love the flavor and aroma of coffee but also crave a refreshing and cool treat. With its versatility and accessibility, the iced latte has become a classic staple of coffee culture and is enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

Iced Spanish Latte

Iced Spanish Latte

The Iced Spanish Latte is a variation of the classic caffeinated beverage that originated in the United States. It combines a double shot of espresso with sweetened condensed milk that's been infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, which is then poured over ice and topped with milk.

The mix of warm and comforting spices, combined with the bold flavor of espresso and the creaminess of condensed milk, gives this iced latte a distinct and satisfying flavor profile. This unique twist on a classic has quickly become a coffee shop favorite across the US and is sure to be a hit with those looking for something sweet and indulgent to cool down with on a hot summer day.

Iced Shakerato

Iced Shakerato

The Iced Shakerato is a classic Italian iced coffee beverage that originated in the streets and cafés of Rome. This refreshing drink is made by shaking a double shot of espresso with sugar and ice until it is frothy and chilled then poured into a glass. The result is a velvety smooth and refreshing iced coffee that is perfect for hot summer days. Some variations include the addition of milk, cream, or flavors like vanilla or hazelnut.

The Shakerato is the perfect pick-me-up for those seeking a cool and refreshing coffee creation, and it has become a staple of Italian coffee culture. Whether enjoyed on the go or at a café, this timeless classic is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and energized.



Frappé is a frothy and refreshing iced coffee drink that originated in Greece. It was invented by accident in 1957 by a Nestle representative who was showcasing a new instant coffee product in Thessaloniki. The representative mixed the instant coffee, sugar, and cold water in a shaker, which accidentally created a deliciously frothy coffee mousse.

The drink quickly became popular among the people of Thessaloniki, and over time it became a staple of Greek coffee culture. Today, Frappé is made by whisking a mixture of instant coffee, sugar, and water until it becomes frothy, then pouring it over ice with milk. It can be served plain, sweetened, or flavored with syrups like chocolate or caramel.

Frappé has now expanded its reach beyond Greece and has become a popular iced coffee drink globally, appreciated for its frothy and refreshing flavor profile.

Iced Irish Coffee

Iced Irish Coffee

Iced Irish Coffee, hailing from Ireland, is a unique twist on the classic hot Irish Coffee. It is made with cold-brew coffee, Irish whiskey, and a touch of sugar, which are then poured over ice and topped with whipped cream. The cold-brew coffee adds a smoother and less acidic flavor profile to the drink, while the whiskey adds a rich, warm flavor that is sure to please.

The whipped cream on top adds a cool and creamy component that balances out the strong flavors of the whiskey and coffee. Iced Irish Coffee is a popular choice year-round in Ireland and is enjoyed both as an after-dinner dessert beverage or as a refreshing pick-me-up during the day. So, whether you prefer hot or cold coffee, Iced Irish Coffee is a delicious and unique option that is definitely worth trying.



Eiskaffee is a popular iced coffee drink that originated in Germany. It is typically made with a strong brewed coffee poured over ice, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and served with a straw and a long spoon.

Some variations may even include a shot of liqueur, such as Kahlua or Amaretto. This indulgent and refreshing drink is the perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day. Eiskaffee is a favorite among Germans and can be found on the menu of nearly every café or restaurant in the country.

It is often served as a dessert or afternoon treat and is a delightful way to enjoy a classic coffee beverage in a refreshing new way. If you're looking for a delicious and indulgent way to cool down during the hot summer months, Eiskaffee is definitely worth a try.

Coffee Tonic

Coffee Tonic

Coffee Tonic is an iced coffee drink that has its origins in Scandinavian countries. It is a unique and refreshing combination of espresso and tonic water. The drink is typically made by adding a shot of espresso to a glass filled with ice, then topping it with tonic water.

Some variations may include the addition of flavored syrups, such as grapefruit or citrus, to add a touch of sweetness and complexity to the flavor profile. Coffee Tonic is a popular drink among individuals who are looking for a refreshing alternative to traditional iced coffee drinks.

It has become increasingly popular in recent years and can now be found in coffee shops around the world. If you're feeling adventurous and want to try something new, the Coffee Tonic is definitely worth a try.


Affogato (Italy)

Affogato is a classic Italian dessert that combines two simple ingredients: vanilla ice cream and espresso. This indulgent treat is perfect for those who crave a sweet and sophisticated ending to their meal. The word "affogato" literally means "drowned" in Italian, and that's exactly what happens when you pour a shot of freshly brewed espresso over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The combination of the bold and hot brewed coffee espresso with the cool and creamy ice cream creates a delicious and contrasting flavor profile that is both indulgent and satisfying. Affogato is a popular dessert in Italy and can be found on the menu of many restaurants and cafes. It is often served as an after-dinner treat or as a mid-day indulgence. If you're a lover of coffee and ice cream, Affogato is definitely worth a try.

Cold Brew Coffee  

Cold Brew Coffee (International)

Cold Brew Coffee is a popular iced coffee drink that has become a staple in coffee shops around the world. It is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended period of time, usually 12-24 hours. The result is a smooth and less acidic iced coffee that is perfect for those who prefer a less bitter flavor profile.

Cold Brew Coffee can be served on its own, with milk, or with flavored syrup. It is a perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day and has become a beloved beverage among coffee drinkers worldwide. With its smooth and refreshing taste, it's no wonder that Cold Brew Coffee has become a popular choice for coffee aficionados across the globe.

Unveiling the Secret to Brew the Perfect Iced Coffee

If you're looking to brew the perfect cup of iced coffee, there are a few secrets that can help you achieve a delicious and refreshing result. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing iced coffee:

Choose the Right Beans

Start with high-quality coffee beans that are freshly roasted and ground just before brewing coffee. This will ensure that your coffee has the best possible flavor profile.

Use Filtered Water

When brewing your coffee, use high-quality filtered water to achieve the best flavor possible.

Adjust Your Brew Ratio

Experiment with different brew ratios to find the perfect balance of coffee to water. Depending on your personal taste preferences, you may want to adjust the strength of your coffee to achieve the perfect balance.

Experiment with Brewing Methods

Try different brewing methods, such as Cold Brew or Pour Over, to find the one that works best for you.

Don't Forget the Ice

When serving your iced coffee, make sure to use high-quality ice cubes that is made from filtered water. High-quality coffee ice cubes will ensure that your coffee stays fresh-tasting and enjoyable.

By following these simple tips, you can unlock the secret to brewing the perfect cup of iced coffee. Experiment with different methods and ratios to find the combination that suits your taste preferences. With a little bit of practice and patience, you can create a delicious and refreshing cup of iced coffee right in the comfort of your own home.

Iced Coffee FAQ

Does coffee ice cream have caffeine?

Yes, most coffee ice creams contain caffeine, as they're made using real coffee beans. However, the caffeine content can vary depending on the brand and recipe. If you're sensitive to caffeine or prefer a caffeine-free option, look for decaffeinated coffee ice cream or a coffee-flavored dessert made without real coffee.

What is the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

Cold brew and iced coffee are both delicious cold coffee drinks, but they're prepared differently. Iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee and then cooling it down over ice. In contrast, cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period (usually 12-24 hours). This process results in a smoother, less acidic taste compared to iced coffee. Learn more about the differences here

How long does iced coffee last in the fridge?

Iced coffee can last up to 1-2 weeks in the fridge if properly stored in an airtight container. However, for the best flavor and quality, it's recommended to consume iced coffee within the first 3-4 days.

Is iced coffee good for you?

Iced coffee can be a healthy beverage option, depending on how it's prepared and consumed. Black iced coffee is low in calories and contains antioxidants. However, added sugars, syrups, and creamers can increase the calorie and sugar content, making it less healthy. For a healthier iced coffee, opt for sugar-free flavorings, low-fat milk, or plant-based milk alternatives.

When was iced coffee invented?

The history of iced coffee is somewhat unclear, but some sources suggest that it dates back to the 1600s in Algeria, where a cold coffee drink called "Mazagran" was popular. This beverage was made with coffee syrup and cold water, and it is considered one of the earliest forms of iced coffee.

When did iced coffee become popular?

Iced coffee gained popularity in the United States in the 20th century, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s. Its popularity has continued to grow, thanks to coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts offering an extensive range of iced coffee beverages and flavors.

How to sweeten iced coffee?

There are several ways to sweeten iced coffee, depending on your taste and dietary preferences. Some popular options include:

  • Granulated sugar or sugar syrup: Dissolve sugar in a small amount of hot water to create a simple syrup, then add it to your iced coffee.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Use sugar substitutes like Stevia or Splenda for a low-calorie option.
  • Flavored syrups: Add your favorite flavored syrup, such as vanilla or caramel, for a sweet and flavorful twist.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: This can add a rich, creamy sweetness to your iced coffee.

Final Thoughts

Iced coffee has taken the world by storm, and with so many delicious variations and recipes, it's easy to see why. From strong and sweet Vietnamese iced coffee to light and refreshing Japanese iced coffee, there's a perfect brew for every occasion and personal taste. So go ahead, and experiment with different brewing methods, ingredients, and ratios to create your ultimate iced coffee experience. Happy sipping!

Be sure to check out top-of-the-line iced coffee makers to recreate your favorite icy brew at home, or explore the convenience and flavor-enhancing benefits of coffee makers equipped with grinders. Ready to explore? Click here to find your dream iced coffee maker, and here to elevate your coffee game with a grinder-equipped maker. Let's get brewing, coffee lovers!

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