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Should Ice or Coffee Be Added First to Iced Coffee?

Two glasses filled with ice coffee sit side by side.

Much like the chicken and egg debate, which came first? The ice or the coffee? Does it really even matter? It could.

When making iced coffee, your ice should come first because of the flash brew method.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to make iced coffee is through flash brewing. Instead of allowing your coffee to brew completely and then setting it aside to chill for a few hours, you’ll brew it directly over ice cubes. The method is actually a Japanese approach, and not only does it allow your coffee to cool as soon as it comes in contact with the ice cubes, but it also helps to lock in the aroma and flavor.

Ideally, flash brewed coffee is made using the pour over method. You’ll double the strength of your coffee by using more grounds and less water. The ice will act as the other half of the water, and this prevents your cup from getting watered down.

If you have a drip maker, this method can still work, just a bit differently.

You’ll brew your coffee, but you’ll make it extra strong, increasing the amount of grounds. Then, let it brew as normal. As that’s happening, place ice into a glass measuring cup or bowl. You’ll want something resistant to thermal shock. Add a cup or two of ice. Once your coffee is done brewing, pour it over the ice, mixing quickly until it’s chilled. Add your dairy or sugar options, and you’ve go iced coffee.

If you’ve already got some chilled coffee on hand, whether you add ice or coffee doesn’t matter much. But for those making it from a hot brew, it’s ice first. You might even want to make a few coffee ice cubes for it.

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