How to Make Easy Iced Coffee Concentrate. (BTW Halloween is 100 days away!)


I’m working furiously on my manuscript these days, and I don’t feel like composing thematically appropriate blog posts.  I didn’t even want to take my scheduled Artist Date, (ala Julia Cameron) until I realized the significance of today’s date. I knew I had to start the countdown when it occurred to me to wonder how the pumpkins are coming along.

100 days collage

When I got to the nearest produce farm, the owner wasn’t home. So I went prowling his fields anyway. (Respectfully and carefully, of course.) I discovered the pumpkins aren’t really doing much right now. Well, the vines are looking healthy and sprawly, but what you see up in the collage is a squash. The pumpkins are barely blooming yet.

I was heading back to the truck, with all the pictures I needed, when the farmer came home. Long story short, we made friends, and I’ve been invited back to check on the pumpkins any time.  He’s confident they will be ready in time for Halloween.

Meanwhile, IT IS STILL SUMMER DAMMIT, and I’m drinking a lot of iced coffee. Earlier today, I instagram-ed a photograph of it which garnered some interest and requests for the “recipe”.  The process is really more of a method, I think, but I’m willing to share.


You will need:

  • time (overnight or, better, 12 hours)
  • good water (room temp / tepid, not ice-cold or hot; my tap water has been working fine)
  • coarse-ground coffee (grind it on the coarsest available setting at the grocery store – that’s as far away from ‘Turkish” or espresso as possible; we’ll talk about amounts in a minute)
  • two pitchers (or other glass containers)
  • a fine sieve

More about the equipment:


Sieve – If you are a coffee drinker, just save yourself some hassle and buy a fine-mesh sieve (see photo) if you don’t already have one. If this recipe stops you from buying one fancy iced coffee a week, you’ll pay for the sieve in no time. Yes, if you insist, you can do this with coffee filters or cheesecloth.  (I did it that way the first time. It works, but you have to be patient. I am not patient.)

Pitchers – The size of your available pitchers will determine the amount of concentrate you can make at one time. (See below.) I prefer to use glass, rather than plastic, which would stain terribly. As you can see, I get by with a mason jar and small, crock-style pitcher.

coffee iced ingredients

The “recipe”:

You will use 1 part coffee to every 4.5 parts water. That means:

  • for 8 cups of water use 1 and 1/2 cups of grounds
  • for 6 cups of water use 1 and 1/3 cups of grounds
  • Step 1: Stir the appropriate amount of coffee grounds into the appropriate amount of water.
  • Step 2: Refridgerate overnight or, better,  for 12 hours.
  • Step 3: Strain the grounds from the water by passing it through the sieve, between the pitchers, 2-3 times.*
  • Step 4: Store coffee concentrate in fridge. (I have no idea how long it will keep, because I always drink it all within 3-5 days.)

NOTE: Measure pitcher capacity before you start. I use the 6 cup recipe. I steep the coffee in my pitcher. My mason jar is a little small even for 6 cups, but a lot of the water stays in the grounds, so the mason jar can take what comes from the first straining. If I have a little extra, that’s just my first glass of iced coffee.

*Things to know about the straining process:

  • It’s easiest to scoop the floating layer of grounds off the top of the coffee to start. Just try not to get too much liquid.
  • You may need to discard grounds out of the sieve several times during the first straining.
  • Don’t press on the grounds to get more concentrate, it will get bitter.
  • Lots of grounds may stay in the first pitcher after you’ve poured all the water away. Just discard them and rinse pitcher.
  • After the first straining there won’t be many grounds in the sieve BUT a little residue of denser solution will have settled at the bottom of the pitcher. Discard these dregs with each straining.

coffee iced slurry of grounds and water in pitcher

To prepare a glass of iced coffee, using concentrate:

Again with the ratios: use 1 part concentrate to 3 parts fresh, cold water. Adjust ratio to taste.

So, for example, the following illustration was made with:

  • 1/3 cup concentrate
  • a little splash of heavy cream
  • 1 cup water
  • ice to fill the glass

iced coffee for pinterest

I don’t like any sweetener in my coffee, but if you do, be aware that sugar is unlikely to dissolve well in a cold solution. The easy answer is to invest in a bottle of your favorite coffee flavoring. (Or make your own – but that’s for another post.) Of course MY favorite flavoring is this:


Enjoy your summer, folks.

Halloween is coming.


Primary recipe category: Food for Writers / Artists / Other Obsessives

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12 Comments on “How to Make Easy Iced Coffee Concentrate. (BTW Halloween is 100 days away!)”

  1. theipc says:

    While I’m not a coffee guy – I tried back in college and it never “took”. I did want to say that I like your new header image : )

    • I think it was your blog that made me go looking for a template with a header pic. I don’t know which one you saw when you came – there are 5-6 of them and they appear randomly. My favorite is the jack-o-lanterns I think.

      Iced coffee has become a thing for me because I was drinking WAAAY too much Diet Pepsi. Couldn’t afford it, and couldn’t think it was remotely good for me. Couldn’t give up the caffeine though.

  2. Patrick says:

    I have to have my coffee hot… and in a flower pot size cup. But you had me at Baileys. You also have me pumped for Halloween!! I can’t wait for more of the countdown! (Best of continued luck with the manuscript!)

  3. Yikes! 100 days until Halloween? I better get myself motivated to start building my new props! Thanks for the heads up. I like the drink recipe too.

  4. Hmmm…now I’m thinking about iced pumpkin lattes!

  5. Andrea Kienholz says:

    I was just finishing up my purchased coffee concentrate and wondering what to do to get more. I came over to the computer and I read your blog! Thank you, thank you! I live in Warsaw Poland and they don’t have Trader Joe’s here!

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