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What you need to make caramel iced coffee

What do you need to make caramel iced coffee?

Summer is just around the corner, temperatures are rising and cold brew coffee is back on the menu. But what if you want to enjoy a tasty sweet caffeinated treat without leaving the house?

It may sound intimidating at first, but you don’t have to be a certified barista to make delicious and cold caramel iced coffee from the comfort of your home. All you need is a simple setup, a few ingredients and some finishing touches to create a professional-quality drink that will make you and your guests happy and wired.

What is caramel iced coffee?

Caramel iced coffee is a simple drink that sounds more complicated than it is, but it tastes delicious. Unlike an iced caramel latte, there’s no espresso and a much smaller amount of milk or milk substitute, but it can taste just as delicious and sweet. 


  • Iced coffee
  • Dairy milk or substitute product
  • Caramel syrup or sauce
  • Often topped with whipped cream
  • Other flavor enhancements or decorative syrup, like chocolate 

When you feel like fancying up your morning brew, all you need is time, the right ingredients and the perfect weather.

What do I need to make a caramel iced coffee?

Iced coffee

While it may be tempting to reuse old hot-brewed coffee, the best way to make a caramel iced coffee is to start with a fresh cold brew. It’s just as easy to make if you have the right equipment. It just takes a bit more time. Start by grinding some fresh coffee beans, pour 100 grams into a cold brewer basket, steep the grounds in cold or room temperature water for 12-15 hours, remove the basket and it’s ready to pour. The result is a richer, sweeter and less bitter cold alternative to hot morning joe.

Milk or dairy substitute

Most caramel iced coffee recipes require a bit of cream, dairy milk or a milk substitute such as soy, oat or other nut milk. This helps blend the coffee and the flavor syrup while cutting any mild bitterness. This element is entirely up to user discretion and may be left out completely if desired.

Caramel sauce or syrup

In this drink, caramel is the star, so it’s crucial to find the perfect syrup or sauce. Making homemade caramel is time-intensive and tricky, so unless you are a pro, feel free to pick up a bottle at the store.

Vanilla syrup

This ingredient is another optional flavor enhancement, but even a tiny amount makes a big difference. It’s easier to make at home than caramel syrup, but if you want to save time, you can find some high-quality vanilla syrups on the market.

Whipped cream

Another ingredient that’s better when it’s homemade is whipped cream. It takes minimal effort, and dispensers are generally affordable. Just make sure to keep extra N2O chargers on hand. If all else fails, canned whipped cream will suffice.

Optional add-ons

This is where you can add a personalized touch, such as sea salt, chocolate syrup or powder, cinnamon or a garnish such as a caramel-coconut cookie.


Your drink deserves an upgrade from the standard mug, so look out for clear Irish coffee glasses or other wares that elevate the visual aspect of your caramel iced coffee.

How to make a caramel iced coffee

  • Make iced coffee.
  • Add a small amount of milk or dairy substitute, no more than two ounces, to the empty glass.
  • Add 1.5 ounces of caramel sauce and .5 ounces of vanilla syrup. Stir the mixture of milk and flavor syrups until thoroughly blended.
  • Drizzle caramel sauce along the inner wall of the glass to create a visible streak the whole way around.
  • Pour iced coffee into the glass, filling it up to an inch from the rim and making sure there is room for the foam topper.
  • Using homemade whipped cream, use your chilled whipped cream dispenser to top the drink with a swirl of the topping.
  • Drizzle chocolate and caramel around the whipped cream topper.

What you need to buy for making a caramel iced coffee

Valerian 10 ½-oz. Glass Coffee Mugs

This riff on a classic hot coffee mug is excellent for cold coffee drinks, too. The size is the perfect middle ground for a sweet drink, and the inner wall is great for making chocolate and caramel swirls.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Pura Vida Professional Whipped Cream Dispenser

You can make fresh whipped cream easily with this durable nitrous oxide-powered dispenser. It comes with three stainless steel decoration tips and is dishwasher-safe. N2O cartridges must be purchased separately.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Torani Caramel Sauce

If you don’t want to make your caramel, this rich and creamy sauce has the burnt brown sugar flavor of artisanal caramel. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Coffee Bear Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Coffee Bear produces this immersion brew pitcher with a custom grounds basket made with metal-free mesh. The resulting cold brew is less bitter and acidic, making it smooth and tasty on its own. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Holler Mountain Whole Bean Coffee

Portland-based Stumptown is a renowned coffee roaster, and their Holler Mountain blend is a good choice for making caramel iced coffee. This blend brings together beans from around the world, roasted to produce a natural creamy caramel flavor.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Califia Farms Oat Milk Barista Blend

If you’re going to use an alternative to dairy milk, we recommend this Barista Blend oat milk, which is a delicious substitute even if you’re a cow’s milk fan. It’s unsweetened, GMO-free, gluten-free and blends fantastically with coffee.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Matt Fleming is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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