Iced coffee is one of the trendiest beverages to drink today--and you'll quickly see why. It's easy to make, refreshing to sip and simply delicious! Plus, on hotter days or after a workout, iced coffee lets you get your java fix without breaking a sweat. We'll drink to that!
But, as we all know, iced coffee can be healthy or unhealthy depending on how it’s prepared and what you add to it after it’s brewed. When ordering an iced coffee at a coffee shop or restaurant, it’s fairly easy to request a healthier option. For example, you can order iced coffee without sugar or cream, or ask for non-dairy milk instead of cow’s milk.
What about when you want to make your own healthy iced coffee at home? Don’t worry, it’s very simple to do by just keeping a couple of things in mind. Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Try cold-brew
Cold-brew coffee is all the rage these days, because the end result is a much smoother, less acidic and often healthier beverage than drip coffee or French press. Since no boiling water is applied to the grounds, the coffee ends up being less acidic and may be gentler on the digestive system than other types.
The trick to making cold-brew is to place a concentrated amount of coffee grounds in a pitcher with cold, filtered water. Steep overnight in the fridge and strain with a sieve or cheesecloth the next day. Make enough to have coffee on hand all week. Then, use your cold-brew coffee to make a healthy iced coffee concoction anytime.
2. Ditch dairy
Choosing non-dairy milk is one of the simplest ways to improve the nutrition of your iced coffee. You can add chilled, unsweetened almond or cashew milk to your iced coffee in place of milk. Better yet, make almond milk ice cubes to use in your iced coffee to avoid watering down your drink.
Rice milk, hemp milk and even oat milk are other options. Not only will you enjoy the delicious flavor of non-dairy milk, but you'll skip all the negative side effects of dairy. Always choose unsweetened, non-dairy milk whenever possible to avoid added sugars.
3. Grind your own beans
To really improve the nutrition and flavor of your iced coffee, grind your own organic coffee beans at home before making your cold-brew. Coffee beans contain several B vitamins, antioxidants, minerals such as magnesium and manganese, and even small amounts of other trace minerals.
However, in order to retain the most benefits, the beans should be ground right before the brewing process. Once coffee is ground, air and time on store shelves can cause the natural oils in coffee to go rancid or taste stale.
To ensure you have the best-tasting iced coffee possible, give some organic coffee beans a quick run through a grinder, use them to make cold-brew and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, more delicious iced coffee.
4. Skip the sugar
Sugar is sugar is sugar. No matter what type it is, it’s still sugar at the end of the day. And we all know the white stuff is not the kindest ingredient to our bodies, regardless of its form. So skip the sugar and opt for a natural alternative, such as stevia, to sweeten your iced coffee.
If you don’t care for stevia, try drinking your iced coffee without any sweeteners. For an even more natural alternative, soak your coffee grounds with several dates before straining. You'll get a cold-brew with a naturally sweet, almost caramel-like flavor.
5. Choose pre-made cold brews carefully
If you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time to make cold-brew coffee,” or you just aren’t up for making your own, we totally get it. That’s where choosing pre-made cold-brew coffee comes in handy for making your own iced coffee in minutes.
Always choose unsweetened options whenever possible, or choose those that have less than 2 grams of sugar per serving. Brands that are organic are also a huge plus.
Vitacost carries several products to help you enjoy healthy iced coffee at home. Whether you need organic coffee beans, organic instant coffee, organic coffee grounds or unsweetened non-dairy milk, there are limitless options to choose from to help you get your iced coffee fix at home.