How to make an iced Americano: your summer savior is here

Iced Americano
(Image credit: Getty Images; hiroyuki nakai)

Not feeling the love for boiling hot coffee on a sunny day but missing your caffeine hit? Learn how to make an Iced Americano like a pro and enjoy a refreshing alternative to Iced Tea this summer. Caffeine intolerant? No problem; you can make Iced Americano with decaffeinated coffee beans, and it will be just as thirst-quenching and delicious. 

Tools & requirements

- Espresso maker – this could be a Pod machine, espresso machine, portable espresso  machine, or Stovetop espresso maker
- Coffee beans, pods, or grounds
- Coffee grinder (if required)
- Glass
- Jug (optional)
- Ice
- Water

Classic Iced Americano consists of just three ingredients – water, ice, and espresso. There are no precise rules about how much you use of each, which means you don't need to measure anything carefully, so this couldn’t be an easier win on warm, sunny days when you don’t want to spend hours sweating in the kitchen. 

You will need some form of espresso maker before you start, so if you haven’t got one, check out our best espresso machines line-up.

In this simple step-by-step guide, we cover everything you need to know about making an Iced Americano at home, the tools you’ll need, and a few tips to help ensure success every time. Your friends and family will thank you.

Steps for how to make an Iced Americano

  • Source the best beans for making espresso.
  • Make an espresso - one shot or two.
  • Pour water into a glass - about a third will do.
  • Add espresso and a scoop of ice and stir.
  • Sweeten to taste, if desired. Classic Iced Americano is unsweetened.

iced coffee next to coffee machine

(Image credit: Future)

Step by step guide: How to make an Iced Americano

1. Source your beans

(Image: © Future)

As the espresso is the key flavor enhancer here, it pays to invest in decent beans. You can use any coffee beans or grounds to make espresso, but you’ll get the best results if you seek out espresso beans. These are ground and roasted to intensify the flavor and better suit the espresso brewing process. Arabica beans tend to lead espresso blends. Dark roasts are robust and punchy, so they are ideal for Iced Americano, but if you prefer a smoother, weaker coffee, go for a blonde roast.

  • Tip: Bean freshness is key - buy beans with a recent roasting date on the packet, not a Sell by Date. If you are buying pre-ground beans, make sure it states they are suitable for espresso use. The grind needs to be fine but not too fine, or you’ll end up with a watery drink! 

2. Make your espresso

(Image: © Future)

There are various ways to make espresso at home. We think a bean-to-cup espresso machine that freshly grinds the beans, like the Breville Barista Express Impress, offers the best results. You can also use a pod-style machine with espresso pods if speed and ease are your priority. Once you have decided how you will make your espresso, the next decision is how many shots? A single shot Iced Americano is nice, but we think a double shot in a tall glass with plenty of ice produces the best results. The caffeine resilient may try three or even four shots of espresso - it is just a matter of personal preference, but be mindful of how many you drink in one day! 

  • Tip: You can make an Iced Coffee using filter coffee, pour-over coffee, or a French Press, but it’s not, technically, an Iced Americano. 

3. Pour water into a glass

This is not a terribly tricky step, but there are two things you need to consider. Firstly, the water should be cold and filtered. It doesn’t have to be ice cold - just regular room temperature will do. Secondly, consider the quantity of water. The size of your glass will dictate this, how many shots of espresso you are using, and personal preference. There are no hard or fast rules but aim to fill a third of the glass for the first attempt and then adjust according to whether you found your drink too weak or too strong. 

4. Add espresso and ice

(Image: © Future)

Next, the espresso goes in, then the ice last before you give it a swirl. Obviously, the more ice you put in, the colder it will be, but there’s no need to go crazy – a generous handful should be sufficient. Again, the ice should be made with filtered water to prevent anything from contaminating the flavor of the espresso. 

  • Tip: If you put the espresso in first and then add cold water, you’ll get less crema on top. Crema fans should always start with the water.

5. Sweeten to taste!

Some people find Iced Americano a little bitter, even if the espresso has been perfectly extracted, and they don’t usually add sugar to their coffee. This is often down to familiarity – we are all more used to sweetened cold drinks. Whatever the reason, if you’d like to sweeten your Iced Americano, it’s best to use a liquid sweetener that will dilute quickly, such as vanilla or caramel syrup, agave, or even maple syrup if that's all you have in stock. A light dash of milk or almond milk will also help remove a bitter edge but don’t go overboard - otherwise, you’ll have an Iced Latte!

Iced Americano with milk being poured in

(Image credit: Getty Images; hiroyuki nakai)


What is an Iced Americano?

An Iced Americano is a cold version of one of the most popular coffee options – the Americano. Instead of adding hot water to espresso, the Iced Americano is made using cold water and ice. The espresso element is the same as a regular hot Americano drink.

Iced Americano is traditionally made with one or two shots of espresso and adding water and ice to taste. It differs from Iced Coffee because the caffeine element is espresso, not filter or pour-over coffee. You will get the same deep, hard-hitting intensity of an Americano, just in a cool, refreshing format that’s ideal for warmer seasons. 

What is the ratio of Iced Americano to water?

There are no set rules but around 1:3 coffee to water/ice is how you will typically get an Iced Americano served in coffee houses like Starbucks. We definitely recommend experimenting with different volumes to find your perfect blend.

If you like your caffeine hit strong, go for two or three shots of espresso and less water/ice, and to make it weak, tune your ratio to 1:5 coffee to water/ice. Don’t forget the ice will melt if left long enough, which will further dilute the flavor of your drink.

Is Iced Americano stronger than Iced Latte?

The caffeine strength of both an Iced Americano and an Iced Latte will depend on how many shots of espresso (approx. 120 mg caffeine per shot) go in. Typically, an Iced Latte will be made with one shot of espresso, so it will be less strong, but there are plenty of people who ask for two shots. 

Although the caffeine content will be dictated by the amount of espresso used in either drink, Iced Latte benefits from the addition of milk (dairy or alternatives), so it tends to taste sweeter and less bitter than Iced Americano, which is served black.

Iced Americano

(Image credit: Getty Images; BURCU ATALAY TANKUT)

Final thoughts

Making an Iced Americano may not be very difficult, but it does take a little trial and error to find the best ratios of water, coffee, and ice to suit your taste. 

Drinking Iced Americano rather than regular hot Americano is much more refreshing, especially on hot sunny days or perhaps after you’ve worked up a sweat gardening or exercising. It’s also a nice alternative to offer guests and, if you use decaffeinated beans, can also prove popular with children, especially teens.

Linda Clayton

Linda Clayton is a professionally trained journalist, and has specialised in product reviews, interiors and fitness for more than two decades. Linda has written for a wide range of publications, from the Daily Telegraph and Guardian to Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She has been freelancing for Future Publishing (and its predecessors) since 2006, covering design trends, home makeovers, product reviews and much more.