This cold brew iced coffee with honey and milk is a wonderful way to enjoy a refined-sugar free coffee! The coffee is brewed very strong, so it won’t taste watered down from the ice, the honey simple syrup, or the whole milk. I promise you won’t miss the cream and sugar!
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to hop on the cold brewed iced coffee bandwagon. THIS IS AMAZING and I don’t think I’m EVER going to drink iced coffee any other way.
Cold brewed iced coffee is smooth, delicious, and bold. Because it’s never heated up, it doesn’t taste burned or bitter. And when whole milk and honey are added, you have a delicious, refreshing treat that’s refined-sugar free!
I usually drink my coffee black, but there’s something about iced coffee that just begs for some sweetness and creaminess. I love how milk and honey help lighten this up, as an alternative to more traditional cream and sugar.
Why cold brew coffee is superior for iced coffee
Nothing is more tragic than walking into a restaurant, ordering iced coffee, and having the server whip up an impromptu iced coffee by pouring hot coffee over ice. Ugh. Watery, blah, and not cold enough.
This is absolutely NOT that kind of iced coffee.
The beauty of the cold brew iced coffee is three-fold:
- It’s concentrated, so it’s stronger than your average coffee. This means when ice melts into it, or when you add ample amounts of milk (like in this recipe), the flavor won’t be diluted!
- It’s smooth, smooth, smooth. Hot coffee is acidic, and when it cools down and is exposed to too much oxygen, it becomes bitter. Cold brew coffee is brewed with cold water, so it’s never heated up.
- It’s 99.9% effort-free. It’s SO easy to do- it’s almost easier than setting up a pot of coffee to brew as you normally would.
How to make cold brew coffee
First, it’s very helpful to have a French press for this. If you don’t have one you can still make cold brew iced coffee- and I’ll explain how! But a French press is a nifty device to have around, not only for cold brew iced coffee but for some of the best tasting fresh coffee in the world.
When using a French press, you mix coffee grounds directly with water (this works with hot or cold coffee). Then after allowing the grounds to steep for a while, as with tea, you push the top of the press down, which is covered in a mesh sieve.
The coffee comes through the sieve and the grounds are pushed down, leaving you with the smoothest bold coffee ever!
You can also just use a container or pitcher to soak the coffee grounds.
To make cold brew iced coffee:
- Mix cold water and an ample amount of coffee grounds together and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. You want more grounds than usual because you are making a coffee concentrate that is stronger than your average coffee.
- When you are ready to serve, if using a French press, just press the grounds down and you are done! If you mixed the water and grounds in a container or jar, simply strain the coffee using a fine mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth or even a coffee filter, into another vessel.
I love these glass pitchers for storing the cold brew coffee concentrate.
How to make honey simple syrup
Now for the milk and honey part of this iced coffee.
First, you’ll make a quick simple syrup from the honey. You can do this two ways:
- For a single serving: In the bottom of whatever glass you want to use for your iced coffee, add a bit of honey. Dilute it with a couple of tablespoons of warm water, stirring to dissolve. This will ensure the honey dissolves into the coffee.
- For a batch of honey simple syrup: dissolve 1/4 cup of honey with 1/4 cup warm water. You can store this in your fridge for about 2 weeks. Then, use about 2 tablespoons of it per iced coffee.
To make the milk and honey iced coffee, add 1 cup of the coffee concentrate to your glass, along with the honey simple syrup. Add ice, and top with 1/2 cup of whole milk, or more, depending on how creamy you want it.
Stir and enjoy!
How to make this ahead to serve at a brunch
This recipe was recently featured in the Taste of Home Sunday Brunch special as part of an Easter Brunch special. It was so cool to see this recipe featured in print!
Here’s what I recommended in the feature for making this cold brew coffee ahead of time for a brunch or a party:
I recommend brewing the coffee two days ahead. The day before brunch, strain the coffee into a pitcher (preferably with a lid, as it will keep the coffee fresher for longer) and mix in the honey simple syrup. On the day of the brunch, set up a casual coffee bar with ice, glasses, the coffee pitcher, honey simple syrup (labeled in a small easy-pour jar), milk in a small pitcher, straws and spoons for stirring. Make a little extra simple syrup to accommodate any sweet tooths. And double the recipe if you’re entertaining more than four coffee drinkers. This cold brew recipe is strong, so the milk doesn’t water down the taste. If guests prefer black iced coffee, I’d recommend they add a little water to their glass.
Other refreshing iced beverages:
- Love the combo of milk and honey? Try this iced honey vanilla latte.
- More of a tea person? Try this Iced ginger honey lemon tea.
- For a refreshing mocktail, try this Honey Blackberry Mint Mocktail.
- For a batch-made cocktail, these Rosemary Greyhounds are delicious.
Check out all my drink recipes here.
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Milk and Honey Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
- 1 cup coffee grounds (16 tablespoons)
- 4 cups cold water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 cups milk preferably whole
- Mix the coffee grounds (1 cup) with the water (4 cups) in a container or pitcher and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and as long as 48 hours.
- Strain the coffee with a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or coffee filter.
- In a small bowl of pyrex measuring cup, mix the honey (1/4 cup) with the warm water (1/4 cup) to make a quick simple syrup. Stir until honey is dissolved.
- Pour 1 cup of the cold brew coffee over ice in a glass, then add 2 tablespoons of the honey simple syrup and 1/2 cup of the milk.
- Stir and enjoy!
- This cold brew coffee is especially strong, since a lot of milk is added to it so it doesn't taste watered down. You can use the cold brew coffee as a concentrate, and if you prefer black iced coffee, just water it down a bit. Or, you can brew it with half the amount of coffee grounds.
- For a party or to serve at brunch, I recommend brewing and straining the coffee and mixing the honey simple syrup beforehand. You can serve each separately and let guests pour themselves however much coffee they want.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious in June, 2015. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information.