Best K Cup For Iced Coffee

  • Dark roast K-cups are ideal for iced coffee: they boast a stronger flavor that can stand up to ice.
  • If your machine lacks an iced option, choose the “strong” setting for a bold, dilution-proof brew.
  • Avoid a watered-down drink by letting the coffee cool before adding ice, or using coffee ice cubes.

While your local coffeehouse may brew a tasty iced coffee, making your own iced coffee with a Keurig machine is a convenient alternative that can save both time and money. Perfect Brew partnership manager and barista Melissa Collins says appreciates that Keurig easily allow you to brew single servings. Plus, many Keurig machines also have an “iced” setting, and there are countless of the best K-cups to choose from, no matter your personal tastes.

Making iced coffee in a Keurig machine does require some special considerations, though. Here are expert tips on how to brew flavorful iced coffee in a Keurig that rivals your local café’s. (If you want to use the best coffee maker or a cold-brew maker, Insider has even more tips and tricks on how to make iced coffee.)

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Step 1: Select the K-cup

Use a K-cup that has at least 8 grams of ground dark roast coffee to get the best flavor possible.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a K-cup for iced coffee, but Quenchlist founder and coffee expert Fanny Surjana advises opting for one labeled “dark roast.”

Although light roasts usually have a higher caffeine content, dark roast coffee beans have been roasted for a longer period of time, yielding a stronger flavor. That means dark roasts are less likely to taste watered down than lighter roasts when ice is added.

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Surjana also recommends seeking out K-cups that contain at least 8 grams of coffee and blend Robusta and Arabica beans. “The Robusta beans give the coffee more caffeine and body, while the Arabica beans give it a smoother flavor,” she explains.

Quick tip: Most K-cups with specialty flavors are light roast coffees, which tend to be weaker. You’re better off adding any preferred flavors — like vanilla, caramel, and pumpkin spice — after you brew the coffee.

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Best K-Cups for every type of brew

Find your new favorite brew in our round up of the best K-Cups.

  • Best dark roast K-Cup: illy Forte Extra Dark Roast K-Cup Pods – See at Amazon
  • Best espresso style K-Cup: Lavazza Espresso Italiano K-Cups – See at Amazon

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Step 2: Prep the machine and cup

Once you’ve chosen a K-cup, insert it into the machine’s compartment, and make sure there is plenty of water in the reservoir to brew. Before brewing, place the best coffee mug or glass under the spout.

Quick tip: Surjana suggests using filtered water in your Keurig, as impurities and minerals like chlorine, sulfur, and iron can negatively impact the taste of the coffee.

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Step 3: Brew the coffee

Some Keurig machines, like the K-Elite, feature an iced coffee setting. According to Surjana, this setting is designed to brew a smaller and more concentrated cup of coffee — that way it won’t get too diluted when you add ice. Select the “strong” button if your machine doesn’t have the iced setting.

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Surjana suggests choosing the 6- or 8-ounce setting so you have ample room to add ice, milk, or any flavorings. A larger pour will also have more water, resulting in a weaker taste once you add ice.

Collins says the longer you can wait to start sipping the better. Allowing your coffee to cool down for at least 20 to 30 minutes, ideally in the refrigerator, will prevent the ice from melting and diluting your drink. If you’re in a hurry, adding cold milk or cream to your coffee will also help to cool it down faster.

When the coffee has cooled somewhat, pour it slowly over a tumbler, Thermos, or glass filled with ice.

Quick tip: Coffee ice cubes can help to chill your drink without watering it down, says Surjana. To make them, brew a 10-ounce cup of your go-to K-Cup and pour it into the best ice cube tray.

Step 4: Add some flavor

Use ice cubes made from coffee, then add extra flavorings to make the most impact.

Once you’ve brewed and chilled your coffee, you can amp up the taste with sweeteners, syrups, extracts, and spices.

  • Caramel or chocolate syrup: The rich taste of caramel sauce or chocolate syrup can instantly give iced coffee a dessert-worthy flavor boost — and all you need is 1 to 2 tablespoons of either to sweeten up your drink.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: This is a key component of Vietnamese-style iced coffee. Since water has been removed from the milk, it has a thicker consistency. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons while the coffee is still hot.
  • Flavored syrups: From French vanilla to cinnamon, dolce to hazelnut, coconut, and lavender, there are countless flavored syrup options for taking your iced coffee up a notch.
  • Salt: Salt can bring out the sweetness of the cocoa beans in your coffee while canceling out the bitterness for a smoother taste, says Collins. A pinch (about ⅛ teaspoon) should do the trick.
  • Natural sweeteners: Liquid natural sweeteners blend well into beverages, as they’re less likely than granulated sugars to create a gritty texture. Surjana suggests adding a teaspoon of honey or agave while the coffee is still hot. For a sugar-free option, consider a natural substitute like stevia.
  • Spices: Add spices like cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom into your iced coffee for a more complex flavor profile, Surjana says. If you want to blend the spices throughout your beverage, whisk them into the milk you plan to add to the coffee, or combine them with the milk or cooled coffee in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
  • Peanut butter: Collins recommends stirring 2 teaspoons of creamy peanut butter into your coffee while it’s hot for a rich and nutty twist.
  • Eggnog: For a festive holiday beverage, try topping your iced coffee with a splash of creamy eggnog and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
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Quick tip: Keep in mind that syrups and sauces may start to harden if you add them to an iced beverage. That’s why you’re better off stirring them in while the coffee is still hot.

Insider’s takeaway

Making a single-serve iced coffee in a Keurig is super easy. Some machines even have a special “iced” setting designed to brew a stronger cup that won’t get too diluted once you add ice — but if yours doesn’t, selecting the “strong” option is just as effective.

For the most flavorful results, opt for dark roast K-cups with at least 8 grams of coffee, and select a smaller-sized brew.