7 Ice-Cold Coffee Beverages for Hot Summer Days

From a simple cold brew iced coffee to a creamy Indonesian avocado-coffee shake, these are our favorite cold coffee drinks to beat the summer heat.

20180709-frappe-vicky-wasik-12-
Vicky Wasik

Though it’s hard to believe it’s already summer, the rising temperatures that are creeping up on us are a sweltering reminder. While some of us have held onto our piping hot cups of coffee this far into the year, now more than ever is a good time to experiment with cold coffee beverages. Because really, there’s not much that beats a nice, chilled, caffeinated beverage on a hot day (especially if your apartment doesn’t have AC!).

Many coffee enthusiasts will try to convince you that brewing good coffee requires expensive equipment. But the recipes below prove otherwise, with a cocktail shaker (store-bought or improvised) about as complicated as it gets. From basic methods for brewing iced coffee to enriched versions like a creamy Indonesian avocado-coffee shake, these are our favorite cold coffee drinks to catch a break from the heat.

  • Cold Brew Iced Coffee

    20200619-cold-brew-coffee-daniel-gritzer-2
    Daniel Gritzer

    A good cold brew demands time, but very little of it is hands-on. Simply combine your coarsely ground coffee beans with water in a large vessel, then cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Once the brew has steeped for eight to 12 hours, run it through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and refrigerate until chilled. You’ll be left with a coffee concentrate that tastes less acidic than other iced coffee methods, with a smooth and sweet flavor. Feel free to dilute it with cold milk, alternative milks like oat milk, or water on ice before enjoying.

  • Japanese-Style Iced Coffee

    20200620-japanese-style-iced-coffee-daniel-gritzer-32
    Daniel Gritzer

    This is one of the easiest ways to make iced coffee, and it tastes better than cold brew when served black (according to our panel of blind tasters). At its simplest, Japanese-style iced coffee is hot coffee brewed directly over ice, which causes it to chill rapidly. You’ll want to use a kitchen scale to get your ratios of coffee to ice to hot water right. Blooming your grounds before continuing the process improves the coffee’s flavor. In just five minutes, you’ll have a batch of iced coffee that’s fresh, flavorful, and bright.

  • Jus Alpukat (Indonesian Avocado-Coffee Shake)

    20200602-indonesian-avocado-coffee-shake-smoothie-jus-alpukat-daniel-gritzer-2-2
    Daniel Gritzer

    This rich, chilled Indonesian shake gets its creamy texture from silky avocado and milk, while condensed milk adds sweetness. Though you can omit the coffee for a non-caffeinated version, we recommend a strongly brewed coffee, such as a double espresso shot, for those of you who like a buzz. What’s best is that the ratios are really up to your liking. Want a thinner shake? Just add more milk. Don’t like too much sweetness? Cut down on the amount of condensed milk. You can even add more ice for a frostier turnout, or less for a thicker and more intense one. And whether you choose this as your morning caffeinated beverage or your late-night dessert, a drizzle of chocolate syrup never hurt anybody.

  • Frappé (Foamy Iced Coffee)

    20180709-frappe-vicky-wasik-12-
    Vicky Wasik

    This foamy Greek-style coffee comes together with two of the simplest ingredients: instant coffee and water. The drink gets its thick foam from the concentrated solids in instant coffee. If you’re using a freeze-dried coffee instead of a spray-dried one, you’ll want to add sugar in order to produce a stable foam. Shake up the mix in a jar or cocktail shaker until fully dissolved before adding some ice cubes for a second shake, allowing the coffee to further thicken up with foam. Pour into a glass and top with more water and ice. If you want to make this an extra sweet treat, you can add a splash of evaporated milk.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Caffè Shakerato (Italian-Style Shaken Iced Coffee)

    20200706-caffe-shakerato-italian-iced-coffee-daniel-gritzer-9-2
    Daniel Gritzer

    Though this drink consists of just espresso, sugar, and ice, it’s so much more than a sweet iced espresso. Since a shakerato is made by—you guessed it—shaking everything together, you’re left with a liquid that’s velvety in texture and capped with a creamy foam. Served in a fancy cocktail glass, it’s an elevated way to enjoy an iced coffee. We won’t tell if you add in a splash of Bailey’s!

  • Coffee-Cinnamon Horchata

    20140422-coffee-horchata.jpg
    Lauren Rothman

    This sweet almond- and rice-based milk gets an update thanks to a jolt of coffee and a kick of cinnamon. The almonds, rice, and coffee beans come together in a blender, along with a cinnamon stick and some hot water. After leaving the mixture to soak in a jar overnight, you’ll blend it again before pouring through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Add some agave nectar and serve over ice for a delicious alternative to your morning cup of joe.

  • Coffee, Banana, and Hazelnut Morning Shake

    20140528-coffee-banana-hazelnut-shake-primary.jpg
    Lauren Rothman

    When you notice your bananas getting too ripe, toss them in the freezer for this easy morning shake. Prepping the rest of the ingredients the night before makes assembly easy the next day. You’ll want to soak whole hazelnuts so that they rehydrate and soften overnight, making them easy to break down in the blender. Give your coffee time to chill by brewing it the night before, too. All that’s left to do the next morning is throw everything into a blender. You’ll be left with a smooth, nutty, caffeinated shake that'll fill you up and power you through the day.