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Upgrade Your Iced Coffee With These 4 Easy Ideas

Upgrade Your Iced Coffee With These 4 Easy Ideas

Words Erin Meister

Want to take your iced coffee to the next level? Hack your brew with these ideas for what to put in your iced coffee, plus better ways to make it.

For many of us, getting up and ready to go in the mornings is like running to board an economy-class seat on a long flight: A tight squeeze, a little turbulent, and definitely rushed. Coffee is undoubtedly one of the bright spots on any morning though.

We at OXO think it’s important to savor the bright spot and treat yourself to a few easy upgrades to your morning iced coffee.

lavender ice cubes

Nicer Ice

The one ingredient of iced coffee that we overlook most is the ice, but there’s no quicker or easier way to boost your morning brew than by treating yourself to some nicer ice. If you’re a cold-brew iced-coffee drinker, try infusing cold milk with a delicious flavor—like cinnamon, or vanilla extract, or lavender simple syrup—and stirring them into your heavy, creamy brew. If you drink a lighter and more delicate iced coffee, prepare an iced-cube tray with cubes that are half water and half rosewater or orange-blossom syrup, or make simple syrup spiked water cubes with a few sprigs of mint in each one. If you don’t want your coffee to get watered down, make your own coffee ice cubes with your leftover brew.

shaken iced coffee

Shaken, not Stirred

Once the fancy ice is ready, why not level up once more by shaking it into your coffee, rather than stirring. Stirring provides a more mellow infusion of flavor as the ice simply melts and incorporates with the iced coffee, where shaking breaks chips of ice off and allows for quicker cooling, a frothy texture, and a lot of fun. A cocktail shaker with fancy ice and your iced coffee of choice will do the simplest trick: close it tightly and give it a vigorous shake, and pour it into glasses that make you feel special. (May we recommend Martini glasses?)

coffee soda

Spritz It

Coffee soda sounds like a weird idea at first, but the combination of intense coffee flavor with the light and refreshing tickle of seltzer can make any iced coffee seem like a party. Sweeten the coffee first if you like, stir well, top with ice, and slowly pour seltzer into the coffee at about a 3 to 1 ratio. Try mixing a skosh of chocolate sauce into the coffee, pour in your seltzer, and top it off with fresh milk or nondairy milk for a variation on a coffee “egg cream.”

coffee upgrades

Tropical Inspiration

We don’t know about you, but if we were flying anywhere right about now it would probably be a secluded tropical destination where drinks come with paper umbrellas and all the clocks have seemed to stop. Since that’s not likely to happen at the moment, draw inspiration from tropical flavors. Use coconut milk to punch up your coffee, or try a dollop of sweetened condensed milk stirred in to transform an everyday coffee into a Vietnamese favorite.

Now lean back, relax, and enjoy your upgraded ride! Want more creative coffee ideas? Try these 3 delicious coffee-flavored frozen desserts and smart ideas for using up leftover coffee.

By Erin Meister

Erin Meister is a freelance writer for OXO. She is a specialty-coffee professional with 15-plus years as a barista, café manager, wholesale account representative, speaker, and educator; she currently sells green coffee for the Minneapolis-based importing company Café Imports. You can also hear her on weekly episodes of "Opposites Extract: A Debate Podcast about Coffee," available on iTunes.

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