The sun is shining, the days are lengthening, and you’re just… melting. Of course, that’s an upgrade from the freezing that you were doing just weeks ago, so we’ll take the wins where we can get them.
One of the best respites from the heat, of course, is starting your day off with something cold. And that includes your morning caffeine fix. Gone are the days of needing to warm yourself from the inside out with a hot cup of coffee in the a.m.—instead, you’re likely looking to achieve the opposite with a refreshing glass of cold brew (or iced-whatever).
Nature’s tendency toward homeostasis, however, means that even your chillest cup of coffee can’t stay cold indefinitely. Adding some extra ice cubes will certainly delay the move toward room temperature, but it’s hot outside, and nothing is worse than an iced coffee with a layer of melted ice and water on top. Luckily, there is an easy way to keep your coffee not only chilled, but strong as well: coffee ice cubes.
Indeed, ice cube trays are capable of much more than you give them credit for. (If you haven’t been freezing your pesto in their perfectly-portioned squares or de-puffing your face with turmeric ice, it’s time to try.) Given that coffee is made almost entirely out of water, your morning beverage actually freezes extremely well.
The premise is simple. Coffee ice cubes help to preserve the optimal flavor of your beverage, as they won’t dilute your cold brew as they start to melt. If anything, they’ll just make your drink stronger. For those who don’t down their iced drinks in seconds, this tip will come in handy—drop a few coffee ice cubes into your to-go cup to keep your coffee rich and full-bodied in any weather.
Making coffee cubes is about as straightforward as making your coffee. Here’s how.
1. Brew your coffee
In order to get ice cubes out of coffee, you must (of course) have coffee on hand. Luckily, it doesn’t matter whether you’re making hot coffee or cold brew to begin with—simply brew a pot, fill up a French press, or use the that bit of extra cold brew. And no need to make a batch specifically for freezing purposes if that can be avoided; using the leftover coffee that you would otherwise have poured down the drain is the ideal zero-waste, zero-effort solution.
2. Grab your ice cube trays
Once your coffee is ready to go, allow it to cool to room temperature so that your freezer doesn’t have to work so hard to get it the rest of the way to solid (and so you don’t heat up the other frozen foods inside). Next, pour it evenly into your ice cube tray.
As an aside, if you are working with leftovers, don’t worry about using the dregs that have a little bit of sediment in them. Once the cubes are frozen and floating in your chilled latté, you won’t taste a thing.
3. Be patient
Be prepared to give your ice cubes a bit of time to set. The exact wait time will depend on the size of your ice cube tray, but plan to set aside roughly three to four hours before they’re frozen solid.
4. Drop the coffee ice cubes into your cold brew—and next time, get creative
Sure, black coffee cubes get the job done and prevent your drink from losing its robust flavor. But keep in mind that coffee isn’t the only ingredient option that’ll make for an even more delicious cup of joe. You could also make ice cubes out of other ingredients that you would typically pour into your morning coffee, like milk and milk substitutes. Who wouldn’t want a few oat or almond milk creamer cubes cooling your coffee as they melt? Adding a dash of inflammation-fighting cinnamon or even hot sauce for a touch of spice is a surefire way to wake you up.
In addition, this hack works like a charm with other beverages as well. If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, try making ice cubes out of matcha, passion fruit tea, or your favorite herbal blend instead. Simply follow the same steps above to create iced tea that won’t get watered down as you sip it under the blazing sun.