I brew coffee using a french press. After I've pressed it, how can I make it chill fast?

I've tried pouring it into a wider container (larger surface area) and putting it in the freezer. This is not optimal since I don't want to thaw the contents in the freezer. Also, this takes some time and risks spilling the coffee.

When it is cold enough I put some ice cubes in a drinking thermos, pour in the coffee, close the lid and shake it. This part of the process works well because the ice "only" transfers the cold to the coffee and not the surroundings. I guess I could use crushed ice instead for greater effect?

Is there a better/quicker way of making iced coffee?

  • I've tried to edit your question but it's not totally clear where you're going with it. Have you posted one method or two? Are you starting out in the freezer to cool it off slightly and then icing it, and looking for a better overall process, or have you switched from using the first method to the second? In either case, please note, we don't permit polls here as per the FAQ, so please avoid questions of the form "here is what I do, what do you do?" in the future.
    – Aaronut
    Aug 6, 2012 at 15:11
  • I don't drink coffee so I don't know what happens to the freshness, but what happens if you make it the night before, and put it in the fridge for consuming the next morning?
    – lemontwist
    Aug 6, 2012 at 16:35
  • @Aaronut, sorry if it was unclear, I just wanted to ask the question in the title. I provided "What have you tried?", so I don't get these answers. Aug 7, 2012 at 7:22
  • @lemontwist I think that freshness is not a problem, but the problem is rather that when I feel like having some ice coffe I want it the same day(hour) :) Aug 7, 2012 at 7:31

15 Answers 15


Brew it strong and then add ice. Alternately, freeze some coffee in ice cube trays and use those frozen coffee cubes to chill the new batch without diluting it.

Agitation (shaking) with cubes is a good substitute for crushed ice -- both ensure that the hot coffee meets the cold surface of the ice quickly.

If you sweeten your iced coffee, using chilled simple syrup will help cool the brew and avoid problems getting the sugar to dissolve (sugar doesn't dissolve well in cold liquids).

  • Thx for the advice with brewing it strong and coffe-icecubes :) I already use (vanilla) syrup so that works fine. Aug 7, 2012 at 7:26
  • 1
    If you crush the coffee-ice and shake, it will cool the fastest, combining all of these methods.
    – Throsby
    Jun 3, 2013 at 2:27

One of the fastest ways to cool something is with an ice bath. Pour your coffee into a large glass or metal bowl, and place that into an even larger bowl filled with ice water. Using a Bundt pan for the inner bowl will cool the contents even faster, as more of the pan comes into contact with the ice water than the bowl.

  • It's an efficient method, but I also want to minimize dishes and work :) I mean filling up 2 ice trays and pouring it over to another container. But thanks for springing an idea, I'll definitly fill up my sink with cold water and placing the french-press itself in the water, since it only has thin glass walls. Aug 8, 2012 at 14:36
  • That's certainly an option! For maximum effect, toss some ice cubes in that cold water. Aug 8, 2012 at 15:10

I would suggest making the iced coffee the night before, brew it at double strength for best results. Make sure to sweeten it with sugar (if desired) after it's just been brewed. Pouring over ice the next morning will dilute it just enough to taste like the perfect cup of iced coffee. I prefer to make my coffee with an aeropress but French Press pot works great too.

If you really need a good fix for same day, make a couple espresso shots and chill over ice.

I've also found this article really helpful on cold brewing which doesn't make the coffee so bitter tasting (less need for sweetening) http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/


  • Looks a bit tedious, but maybe I can use some ideas from it :) I'll also check out the aeropress Aug 8, 2012 at 14:41
  • Awesome, glad you can take some ideas :) Aeropress, you may fall in love with it! Aug 8, 2012 at 17:26

Make your coffee hot, then combine several easy methods to dissipate heat:

1) Pour your hot coffee into a metal cup (a martini shaker?), which has better heat transfer properties than ceramic or glass. For even quicker results, plan ahead by frosting the metal cup in the freezer.

2) Put the full metal cup in an ice bath. For an even colder ice bath, add salt, which can lower the temperature due to an effect known as freezing-point depression.

3) Dip a metal spoon in and out of the full cup. (Note: dipping is more effective than stirring or just leaving the spoon alone.)

If making hot coffee cold quick is what you're after, you'll have a hard time finding a more effective method than this.


As Caleb suggested, brew it strong and add ice. You can also pre-chill the container for an added cool boost.


You could try the cold-infusion technique described by Harold McGee here.

You can improvise a cold-brewing system using a French-press pot or just a pitcher or bowl, with fine sieves, cheesecloth, or cloth or paper filters to strain out the grounds. Infuse coarsely ground coffee overnight in cold water, about 5 cups for every 1/2-pound of coffee, then press or filter the brew from the grounds. In my experience this can become tedious because fine particles clog the filters.


I've got a single-walled steel ice bucket with a tight fitting lid. I pour the hot coffee into it, close the top, and then shake it vigorously under cold running water for a few moments. That'll bring it down to room temperature nearly immediately, without diluting it with melted ice, and the bucket is really easy to clean. I keep the bucket in the freezer also, so it has a slight head-start (though time-wise, it doesn't really make a huge difference even if the bucket was room temperature).

Pros: Really fast. Self-contained and easy to store. Easy to clean.

Cons: If you aren't careful you may be able to burn your fingers if you try to shake too vigorously right off the bat -- the water won't be able to dissipate the heat quickly enough.

A cocktail shaker could work as well, maybe even better! It just needs to be uninsulated, made of a material that conducts heat quickly, and able to seal just well enough to not splash out too much when shaken.


I've often had iced coffee in France. The method the café used, which I have used successfully myself was this:

Put ice in a cocktail shaker Add the coffee (with sugar already added if required) Shake until it feels nice and cold. Then strain into a long glass.

The benefits of this method are that you get a bit of a froth/crema/head on top of your iced coffee, and it's very quick.

  • This works terrifically with espresso. I use my Aeropress with a fellow prismo attachment and the shaker together results in a lovely crema.
    – AlexMA
    Jun 20, 2020 at 14:52

Cold brew is the best but sometimes I forget to make it - Just as a back up when I do make it I fill an ice cube tray with some of the cold brew coffee and keep it in the freezer. That way when I forget and have to brew hot, I can throw in some frozen cold brew ice cubes and boom cold coffee - no watered down taste - and if you brew a lil extra fill the cubes you took out of the freezer with the extra brewed and you will always be ready.

For Cold Brew easy I put 1 cup of ground coffee (I like 365 organic from Whole Foods) with 4 cups of water over night (12 hours) and strain it in the morning.


Far and away best method for French press that I have found is to put in the grinds for a full pot, but only half the water. Let is steep the normal time and then add ice cubes for the rest of the volume. To top it all off I like to make some ice cubes out of coffee so I don't dilute the final drink. Just be careful about getting "soot" in the ice cubes. Best of luck!


If you want daily iced coffee, brew your coffee in the evening and put it into the fridge overnight. Then put in some ice (or even better, coffee ice cubes) to make it even colder.


Variation on cold brew - they have coffee in pre sealed filter bags for some automated coffee machines. You can get a pretty good brew with throwing these bags in a flask w water overnight. Remove the bags in the morning and you're good to go. Gives a light, almost floral coffee :)


use dry ice(solid carbon dioxide) or liquid nitrogen.

  • 1
    Not very practical advice for the kitchen.
    – Aaronut
    Jun 1, 2013 at 20:23
  • It looks like the typical advice from "The modernist cuisine".
    – J.A.I.L.
    Jun 2, 2013 at 10:44

I mostly make iced lattes. When I do I combine the espresso and the optional syrup (caramel in my case) in the same cup to dissolve the syrup faster, then pour it into a cocktail shaker with ice. And then I shake it.

Then I prepare a tall glass with ice cubes, straw and latte-spoon. Strain the now ice cold caramel espresso into the glass, and fill until happy with the milk of your choice. Personally I prefer normal low-fat (0,7%) cowsmilk.

For added "fun" replace the caramel syrup with Baileys irish cream, or whiskey ;)


Well first put ice in a gallon zip lock with salt and put a smaller bag with coffee in seal and shake lightly or set in freezer for 5 mins and poor in ur cup and there u go

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