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Coffee is a staple of many people’s lives and coffee served cold is perfect for any season. In fact some of us just don’t enjoy hot beverages ever, full stop.
Iced coffee is simple to make. Just brew hot coffee and put it in the fridge to cool. Easy. But what if you don’t want to wait?
You could cool it quickly by adding ice, but then you risk a weak, diluted brew. How many ice cubes is okay to use before you’ve ruined your coffee?
Thankfully, some modern iced coffee makers make it simple to brew hot coffee then chill it quickly, without having to wait for hours and without a loss of potency.
If you’ve been looking for an iced coffee maker and finding a list of cold brew makers instead, you’ve come to the right place. We understand that iced coffee and cold brew are not the same thing.
Further reading: Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew Coffee what’s the difference?
What we use ourselves:
- Keurig with pour over ice capsules
- Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee maker.
What else we considered:
- Ninja Dual Brew Pro Specialty
- Nostalgia 3 quart iced coffee and tea maker
- Gourmia Iced Coffee Maker
Why pour over ice?
The best way to get a rapid cup of iced coffee is to use the pour over ice technique. Brew a strong cup of coffee with hot water and let it drip at a controlled (slow) rate over lots of ice.
The combination of a slow drip and lots of ice keeps too much ice from melting as the drips are instantly cooled. Brewing it strong offsets any dilution.
You could easily do this with a pour over cone filter and a little patience (read how to make pour over ice with a cone filter). But, if you don’t want to hold a kettle of boiling water for 1-2 minutes while you slowly pour, or you’re having trouble getting the coffee ratio just right then an automated coffee maker may provide the consistency you desire.
Keurig revolutionized coffee making with its single cup brew machines. These machines allow users to make individual cups of coffee.
With the wide range of K-cups available they are perfect for households with multiple coffee drinkers each with their own taste preferences.
The machine heats the water and passes it through a single use coffee capsule. The machine works rapidly and you usually have a cup of hot coffee in 60-90 seconds.
When brewing over ice, just place a heat proof tumbler filled with iced under the spout. If your tumbler is tall, some models allow you to remove part of the base to gain some extra clearance.
It is recommended that you choose the strong brew, 8 oz. setting in order to have coffee brewed strong enough to withstand dilution by ice.
Green Mountain makes a few different K Cups specifically for pour over ice coffee. These K-cups produce a smooth strong brew and their Classic Black is my favorite for making iced coffee.
I have also tested Illy Intenso coffee K cups and it also held up to the ice without losing strength or flavor. Again, the key is to use a strong coffee and choose the strong brew setting on your machine.
Any Keurig will work for this, but I use the Keurig K-Express.
Why I love the Keurig:
- It’s fast
- The Green Mountain Classic Black pods make great iced coffee
- Minimal mess and maintenance–empty the water chamber and allow to dry and toss the spent K-cup
- Because it is fast, the coffee usually needs additional ice to cool it down completely
- Only a handful of pods specifically designed for pour over ice, but any strong coffee will do
Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker
This is my second choice. When it comes right down to it, this is just a basic automatic coffee maker. The design has been modified to be taller to accomodate the included tumbler for brewing into.
The other adaptations are the included scoop and tumbler are designed to give the correct ratio of coffee to water that takes into account dilution by ice.
In other words, follow the given proportions and it will brew a perfectly strong cup of iced coffee.
Use the tumbler to measure water and pour it into the maker, then coffee is measured and placed into the re-usable brew filter. Fill the tumbler with ice and place it under the spout.
Turn the machine on and wait. Unlike the near instantaneous brewing of the Keurig, it takes about 30-50 seconds before coffee will start dripping out. The total brew time is around 4 minutes.
The brew process is slower, and the coffee dribbles from the machine at a slower rate than the Keurig so less ice is melted and the coffee is actually cool by the end of the brew cycle.
What I like about Mr. Coffee:
- No need for additional ice, coffee is ready to drink
- Use any coffee you would like.
- The included double wall tumbler and two stainless steel straws are a bonus that would cost nearly as much as the coffee maker itself (I got mine on sale and with an extra 20% off at BB & Beyond).
- Takes longer to brew
- More to clean up–the filter basket needs to be washed and the machine does need de-scaling from time to time
If you want to read a more in-depth review of these two machines, I pitted them against each other and share the results here.
Other Iced Coffee Makers I Considered
I have not tried these machines, but in my research found them to be great alternatives for making iced coffee.
Ninja DualBrew Pro Specialty
Ninja is a revolutionary brand that changed the coffee game. The Ninja brand prides itself on its coffeehouse-style drinks on an at-home budget.
The Ninja Dual Brew Pro Specialty contains intelligent brewing technology that ensures consistent temperature, even saturation, and smart brewing cycles which helps take the guess work out of a perfect cup of coffee.
This machine comes with an over-ice settling, which ensures that your coffee isn’t watered down and is optimized for the best-iced coffee experience possible.
This model can brew both pods and grounds. There are four pod-brewing sizes, ranging from a 6oz to a 12oz cup. It also has nine ground-brewing size options, ranging from a small cup to a full carafe.
There are also size options for large cups and travel mugs, giving you lots of flexibility in how much coffee you brew.
Not only are these sizes convenient, but they’re also environmentally friendly. You can make sure you’re not brewing just what you need at one time, which prevents waste, saves plastic, conserves energy, and saves money from going down the drain- literally.
You can choose from four brew styles: classic, rich, over-ice, and specialty brew. Additional features include settings that can delay brew time and keep coffee warm for up to four hours.
This product also comes with a built-in frother. This adds to the luxurious coffeehouse-at-home feel.
With its hot water system, you can also make hot non-coffee beverages such as tea and hot chocolate and warm foods like oatmeal.
When you consider all that this machine can do, calling it a DualBrew is selling itself short. It can brew many things. (Incidentally, dual brew refers to its ability to use pods or grounds).
Top Reasons to Consider the Dual Brew:
- The built-in frother is convenient and a great addition to any coffeemaker. Many models do not have this feature. This model has a built-in frother. Many models don’t have this and you’re required to buy it separately.
- It brews faster than the classic Keurig model.
- It offers a customizable cup. Not every coffeemaker offers such a wide range of sizes and brew styles.
- Environmentally friendly and limits waste.
- The DualBrew Pro Specialty has a special setting for iced drinks.
Why it Might Not be Right for You:
- This is a pricier option—if you aren’t serious about your coffee, the Ninja DualBrew Pro may be more than you need.
Nostalgia Café’s Ice 3-Quart Iced Coffee and Tea Brewing System with Plastic Pitcher
This Nostalgia model has a fun yet simple retro look and holds a lot of coffee compared to most models. In fact, it will make up to six 10 oz. servings of iced coffee at once.
Quickly make flavored iced lattes and coffee with this model, as well as iced tea. This coffee maker uses a shower head effect to completely saturate the grounds or tea leaves, optimizing full extraction of flavor.
You can choose your brew strength, ranging from one at the weakest to eight, the strongest setting.
This model also has a flavor extraction chamber where you can add ingredients like sweeteners, herbs and fruits. You can also make other cold creations like flavored water or lemonade.
Top Reasons to Consider the Nostalgia
- This model is specifically designed for iced beverages. If you like a variety of iced beverages, this will do it all in one appliance.
- Make a whole pitcher of coffee instead of a single serving
- The flavor extraction feature allows you to easily add the flavors of your choice to your iced coffee.
- Also makes a pitcher of iced tea
Why it Might Not be Right for You:
- It does not come with a built-in frother.
- You can’t customize your cup size like you can with some other coffeemakers.
Gourmia Iced Coffee Maker
This option is ideal for iced coffee lovers on a budget. This is similar to the Mr. Coffee model but is less expensive.
You can choose between a regular or strong brew. Both options are concentrated brews so that the coffee doesn’t taste watered down once you put it over ice.
To make a cup of iced coffee with the Gourmia model, add water and coffee grounds to the maker, add ice to the tumbler, and press the start button.
Top Reasons to Consider the Gourmia
- This model includes an insulated tumbler and reusable straw for iced coffee on the go. It also comes with a scoop to use for coffee grounds.
- The Gourmia Iced Coffee Maker comes with a reusable filter and lessens waste from the use of paper filters.
Why it Might Not be Right for You:
- Can be hard to find in stock.
- It is a simple model with minimal settings.
- Cannot brew coffee pods like some more expensive models.
Gourmia Iced Coffee Maker at Walmart
The Scoop on the Best Iced Coffeemakers
You can enjoy iced coffee year-round if you have the right coffeemaker. There are hundreds of models from several brands, and the choices can be daunting.
To add to the confusion, not every machine billed as an iced coffee maker is truly making iced coffee (there is a lot of confusion between cold brew and iced coffee and the words are often used interchangeably).
If you love cold beverages but are on a budget, you may want to check out the Gourmia Iced Coffee Maker or the Mr. Coffee.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle and mess of coffee grounds, opt for a model that allows you to brew with coffee pods, like the Keurig or Ninja options.
The right coffeemaker can make your mornings (and afternoons—we aren’t judging) smoother and more enjoyable.