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Iced Espresso: The Refreshing Pick Me Up

Espresso is the cornerstone of a coffee enthusiast’s drinks arsenal. Espresso forms the basis of so many of our favorite coffee beverages, be that a single or a double shot. 

But, another, lesser-known application of espresso is simply to serve it over ice…

This offers a simple and refreshing pick-me-up for the coffee lover that wants a thirst-quenching drink on a summer’s day!  

What is An Iced Espresso?

An iced espresso is a very simple drink, made by pouring freshly brewed espresso over ice and optionally adding a sweetener like sugar or honey. 

Whilst this may not sound like much, an iced espresso is an incredibly refreshing drink that offers a nice pick-me-up on a hot day. 

Where an iced espresso differs from any other type of iced coffee-based drink, is that the espresso quality is the star of the show. 

Unlike an iced latte, frappe, or even iced americano, there is no water, milk, or flavored syrups available to mask the taste of a poor espresso shot. 

This makes it important to get your single or double shot of espresso perfect, as the ice will also highlight the flavor profile of the coffee beans used

How to Make an Incredible Iced Espresso

Making an iced espresso couldn’t be easier! It is simply a case of adding your freshly brewed espresso to a cup of ice and hey, you’re ready. Right?

Well, yes.

But you also want to make sure you have your espresso game dialed in before you start serving it to all of your friends over ice. 

First things first, let’s break down the equipment you’re going to need. 


  • Serving Glass
  • Teaspoon


  • 1 Cup Ice Cubes
  • ½ Cup Espresso (or strong coffee)
  • ½ Teaspoon Sweetener (Sugar, Honey, Stelvia, etc)


Here is a simple, easy-to-follow step-by-step method to guide you towards the perfect iced espresso! 

Prep Time: 2 Minutes

Step 1: Brew Your Coffee

First things first, let’s brew the perfect cup of espresso. 

Now, there are many variables that go into perfecting the espresso shot, too many to cover in this short article. 

However, one of the most common mistakes people make when selecting the coffee they want to use for espresso is actually picking coffee that is too old… 

If your bag of ground coffee or coffee beans does not have a ‘date roasted’ label on it, chances are it is actually starting to lose some of its flavor. 

This is particularly an issue when espresso is on center stage in a drink like this! 

Rather than just picking up a random bag of coffee from your grocery store, see if you can find a local coffee roaster or coffee house that will sell you a bag of fresher beans that have been roasted within the last week or so. 

The difference between fresh and stale coffee beans when brewing espresso is night and day! 

In terms of grind size, you’ll want to go pretty much as fine as you can. This ensures the water in your espresso machine has the most contact time possible with the coffee grounds. 

The choice of bean is up to you, but I would recommend a medium roast Arabica as a good place to start. 

Simply add your coffee grounds to your espresso puck, distribute them evenly, tamp, and brew! 

If you don’t have an espresso machine to hand, here are a few alternative options: 

  • Combine instant coffee with ½ a cup of a small amount of hot water
  • Use a Percolator to brew strong coffee
  • Add coarsely ground coffee and a cup of hot water to a french press
  • Use a moka pot. 

Once your coffee is brewed you can leave it to sit and cool down whilst you prepare the other ingredients. 

I would recommend letting your espresso brew into a separate cup from the ice-filled glass you will be using for your iced espresso drink. 

Step 2: Mix Sweetener Into Your Coffee

The next step is optional, but if this is your first time trying an iced espresso I would recommend following it. 

A double shot of espresso can be quite a bitter and abrasive assault on the taste buds of people that are not used to their coffee without any milk, extra hot water, or sugar. 

Adding half a teaspoon of sugar, honey, or alternative sweetener to your shot of espresso can just take the edge off it and make it more enjoyable to drink over ice. 

However, if you are a regular espresso drinker, feel free to skip this step! 

Step 3: Serve Over Ice

The next step is to fill your serving glass with ice to ensure it is perfectly cold and ready to receive your strong, freshly brewed coffee. 

Ensure you only add ice to your glass when you are getting ready to serve, as we don’t want any melted ice watering down the strong coffee! 

You can even place your glass in the freezer before serving so it is misted up and extra cold, a great way to impress your friends! 

Using larger ice cubes is preferable when making any iced coffee, whether that be an iced latte or iced americano. This is because they melt more slowly and have a lower chance of diluting your coffee. 

Tip: If you want to take your iced coffee game to the next level, give coffee ice cubes a try. 

Once your cup is filled with the ice cubes of your choice, simply pour over your now-cooled and (optionally) sweetened espresso shot, stir, and enjoy! 


Overall, iced espresso shots are incredibly popular in stores for busy coffee lovers that want a quick, refreshing pick-me-up on the go! 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a great iced espresso from the comfort of your own home. 

Simply follow the steps and tips above and you’ll have a perfectly brewed iced espresso to enjoy at a moment’s notice! 

Related Questions

Is Iced Espresso Actually A Thing?

Yes! In fact, it is actually quite popular in Europe. Whilst the drink is very easy to make, it places greater emphasis on pulling a great espresso shot. So, it is not quite as easy as adding any old coffee to a cup of ice and calling it a day! 

Can You Buy Pre-Made Iced Espresso?

Yes, in fact, there are many online retailers that sell pre-made iced or chilled espresso. To check some of the most popular on Amazon, click this link


Frequently Asked Questions

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