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Given the choice between a piping hot mug of freshly-brewed coffee, or a chilled glass filled to the rim with iced coffee, I would choose the latter every single time. However, many are caffeine traditionalists, and don’t quite understand my fascination, believing coffee should only be enjoyed tongue-scorchingly hot.

Yet, numbers are slowly bending in my favour. Research reveals the volume of iced coffee drinkers has steadily increased with each passing year, and this number jumped remarkably higher in 2013. Even in the winter, a survey from Dunkin’ Donuts discovered nearly 60 per cent of iced coffee drinkers prefer to drink the frozen fluid during the colder months. So needless to say, iced coffee’s here to stay.

If you’d like to enjoy some iced coffee from home, but don’t have access to fancy cold-brew machines, we spoke with one of Starbucks’ head honchos, Kathleen Cook, an 18-year partner and certified coffee master, for her top-notch tips on preparing premium iced coffee from your kitchen. Let’s get started, shall we?

The Classic Home-Brewed Iced Coffee

  1. Use cold, filtered water, a clean machine and grind beans just before brewing.
  2. To brew double strength (the same amount of coffee you’d use for a full pot, but with half the water) use 4 tbsp (20 g) ground coffee for every 6 fl oz (180 ml) of water.
  3. After brewing slowly fill the pot with ice, or add the same amount of ice to a pitcher.
  4. Serve fresh over ice; add your favourite flavouring syrup, sweetener and/or milk.

To help preserve fresh flavour, keep the coffee bean bag sealed tight in a cabinet (not in the refrigerator or freezer) and brew within a week of opening.

The Instant Classic: Starbuck Iced VIA

Starbucks does sell portable packets of instant iced coffee that can be prepared from home or on-the-go within seconds. A package of five retails for $5.95, which happens to be a much cheaper alternative to purchasing five iced coffees from a store. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Tear open a packet of Starbucks VIA Iced Coffee.
  2. Add 16 fl oz (2 cups) of cold water, stir.
  3. Pour into a tall glass filled halfway with ice.
  4. Add milk or other flavours to taste.

Shaken Iced Tea

If iced coffee isn’t your cup of, well, tea, opt for iced teas instead! We spoke with Oliver Stern, bartender and owner at Toronto Temperance Society, for his expert tips and tricks to shaking up the best iced tea in town. The simple recipe is as follows:

  1. Steep 2 tsp. of your favourite tea for two to three minutes.
  2. Add three to four pumps of flavouring syrup or your choice of sweetener.
  3. Pour over a full glass of ice or toss into a shaker with a scoop of ice and shake about 10 times for a perfectly chilled iced tea.

The trick is all in the shake, according to Stern. Doing so brings out and disperses flavours evenly, and is the only way to fully incorporate juices and syrups, which can often separate when mixed. “The ‘Over the Shoulder’ shake is great for beginners,” Stern advises. “Simply protect the seal, ensure it’s secure and throw the mixer behind your shoulder in a repeated upward motion for 10 to 12 seconds for the perfect chill.”

Now sit back, relax and enjoy. Sigh…

Recipes courtesy of Starbucks