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Illustration: iced coffee
Credit: Melinda Josie

The delicious-looking iced coffee you see on everyone’s Instagram isn’t made from cooled leftover coffee. Ordinary brewing with hot water releases acids and oils that create a bitter taste. Cold-brewing, a simple technique of steeping ground coffee in room-temperature water, yields a concentrated syrup with a smooth, mild flavor (often with less caffeine than hot). Make a batch of our recipe ahead of time, then stir with milk or water and add ice for picture-perfect refreshment.

To Make: Combine 12 ounces (1½ heaping cups) medium to coarsely ground coffee with 4 cups room-temperature water in a glass container. Let sit at room temperature for 12 hours. Strain through a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter. (This base, about 2¾ cups total, will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.)

To serve: Combine a scant 1/2 cup of the coffee base with equal parts water or milk. Pour over ice. Makes 6 servings.

Can’t get enough cold-brew?

We tested four different makers, designed to streamline the DIY process. Several big and bulky options were not worth the counter space. Our two favorites were slim, simple to use, and easy to clean. Each includes brewing instructions to help you keep a full pitcher in the fridge all summer long.

Hario Cold Brew Pot
Beautiful enough to take to the table, this glass carafe’s fine mesh strainer makes a round, full-bodied beverage.
To buy: $17, amazon.com.

Primula Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
This durable jug can make as little as one cup of cold brew or up to six (fifty ounces total).
To buy: $30, bloomingdales.com.