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Jack Merriman

Content Marketing Manager

How to Drastically Improve your Iced Coffees

Summer is just around the corner here in the UK which means one thing – cold coffee drinks are back on the rise. In the video above, and article below, we’re diving into the four steps you need to take to improve your iced coffees from standard, bitter and flavourless iced lattes into delicious, bold, interesting and unique summer coolers. The four steps to undertake in order to increase the quality of your iced coffees is actually very similar to creating delicious hot coffees – the fundamentals are always important. Step one is to decide the brew method you’re going to use to create delicious cold coffee drinks.


1. Choose your Iced Coffee Brew Method 

The method in which you brew your iced coffees will have a massive impact on the flavour profile and the type of drinks you are able to create. In general, for iced coffees, you have three brew methods – espresso, flash brew (iced filter), and cold brew. The easiest method for a coffee shop to begin serving iced coffees is by brewing espressos with your espresso machine.

Espresso Over Ice

If you can already serve espressos, lattes, flat whites etc. then this is the place to start. All you need is some ice. Using your coffee machine to brew espressos is quick and user friendly, with no additional training needed, and can be used to brew delicious drinks with all types of coffee beans.

Pouring your espresso over ice gives you a wide range of drink possibilities including iced lattes (just add milk) or iced americanos (just add water) amongst a wide range of others. It’s also a great entry point for customers that are looking to drink iced coffees for the first time, as you can easily customise the drink to their tastes with syrups and other flavours.

Cold Brew

This is a brewing method that’s gaining in popularity for coffee shops, and typically involves steeping coarse coffee grinds in cool water for 12 to 24 hours. It’s very well suited to darker roasted coffees that are naturally very flavourful, and getting more of the chocolately notes out of the grounds.

There are plenty of affordable brewers ranging from the Toddy system to simply mixing coffee and water in a mason jar for straining, however the commercial sector is now seeing a rise in solutions for easier, faster cold brew. One that we recommend is the Marco ColdBru which is a great solution for brewing around 5 litres of delicious cold brew in as little as two hours with little mess. Watch our review here ->  Cold Brew Coffee, Fast.

Iced Filter Flash Brew

The final of the three brew methods is arguably the most labour intensive. With a flash brew, you brew a filter or pourover coffee using about 1/3rd less brew water to brew a hot concentrate, then chill the coffee and dilute it back to a normal drinking strength using ice.

This method is infinitely customisable and is therefore perfectly suited to all types of coffees. Brewing manually with a pourover dripper like a v60 can be a little labour intensive in terms of time and skill, but you could also set up an automatic filter brewer to use less hot water during the brew, and add ice into the server to chill it down. We recommend adding extra ice into the glass when serving to keep the drink extra cool.


Which Brew Method Should you Use?

Start with whichever brew method uses the equipment you already have available. For coffee shops, this is probably going to be espresso over ice. For home baristas, this may well be steeping your grounds in a French press for 12 hours to make a cold brew.

All brew methods listed can make delicious coffee, but the flavours will be subtle different. For a strong coffee that you can dilute into an americano or iced latte, brew espresso. For a chocolatey black coffee that you can add milk to if you choose, go with cold brew. For a sweet and fruity light roasted black coffee that takes minutes rather than hours, make a flash brew iced coffee.

Once you’ve decided on the brew method, step two to upgrading your iced coffees is to choose the right coffee bean for your taste preferences.


2. How to Choose a Coffee Bean for Iced Drinks

When you’re choosing your coffee, there are here are three main things to consider – the roast level, single origin vs blend, and the processing method.

Coffee Roast Level

In general, light roasts will be crisp acidic, fruity and floral, medium roasts will have a balance of chocolate and nuts with some sweet and fruity notes, and dark roasted coffees will taste quite nutty and chocolatey in general.

Single Origin vs Blend for Cold Brew

Single origins will be sourced from one location and you’ll get to taste the flavours from that region, whereas blends will typically have a mixture of coffees and therefore a more balanced and rounded flavour profile.

The Coffee Processing Method

The way the coffee is process also affects the flavour, with the most common methods being washed coffees that have a very clean and crisp flavour profile, and natural coffees that can often be sweet, fruity and a bit funky. (stock footage coffee being picked / processed)

Once you’ve decided on the style of coffee you’re going for, you want to make sure that it’s been roasted within the last month or so and that you’re grinding it fresh to get the best flavour possible.

Choose a high quality coffee that your customers are going to love, and that bests suits the brew method you’ve selected – then step 3 is to start designing some delicious iced coffee drinks.


3. Build your Menu of Iced Coffees

 So you’ve obviously heard of the iced latte, the iced americano, cold brew and iced filter coffees. These are very popular, easy to brew, and absolutely delicious – but if you want to step up your iced coffee game then why not try something a little more interesting.

Brew up a concentrated cold brew, and dilute it back down to a normal strength using a craft lemonade for a refreshing summer drink. Grab a small glass and fill with ice, pour over a flavoured tonic and a sweet and fruity double shot of espresso for a fancy afternoon pick-me-up. Experiment with fun combinations of flavours to elevate your iced lattes like a butterscotch syrup for a fabulous dessert style coffee. Or even serve an actual dessert with a scoop of high quality vanilla ice cream and pour a double shot of espresso over the top.

Elevating your iced coffee menu is easy when you think outside the box – don’t be afraid to be creative and offer something unique. But don’t forget the tried and true recipes for delicious cold coffees like an iced latte, cold brew and iced filter coffees which are always delicious.


4. Elevate your Presentation

The final step in upgrading your iced coffee game is to elevate your presentation. Half of the customer experience is the visual element and the expectations that you set during the preperation of the drink. So choose a high quality glass and make sure to think about any visual elements you could potentially add.

To elevate your ice coffee from a boring cold brew into a silky, creamy, nitro style drink only takes a couple of extra steps. You’re going to pull a double shot of espresso over a cup full of ice, then top the glass to 2/3rds the way up with cold water. Pour all of this into a jug and steam for around 5 seconds to add your foam whilst keeping the drink as cold as possible.

All of your coffee drinks can be upgraded with a little extra presentation, like garnishing your espresso tonics with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint to add a visual element and create an intense aroma around the glass. A twist of lemon peel can also bring your cold brew up in quality elevating it from a basic black coffee to an elegant mocktail.

Whatever you do, try to be intentional with the visual element of your menu to upgrade your cold coffee drinks from good to great.

Serving great iced drinks starts with a quality coffee

Here at Bridge Coffee Roasters, we pride ourselves on our wide range of coffees loved by our wholesale customers around the UK. Whether you want to serve a delicious cold brew or flavourful iced latte, we’ve got the perfect coffee to suit you and your customers. Find you favourite coffee here -> wholesale coffee.

We also offer a year-round rotating menu of seasonal coffee drinks, including your favourite winter warmers and bespoke summer colours. For more information, get in touch.