The History Of Iced Coffee And Its Rise In Popularity

Have you ever wondered how iced coffee became such a popular beverage? It’s hard to imagine a hot summer day without a refreshing cup of iced coffee in hand. But when did this trend start?

Iced coffee has been around for centuries, but its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. From specialty coffee shops to fast-food chains, iced coffee is now a staple in many people’s diets. But how did this happen?

The history of iced coffee is a fascinating journey that spans across continents and cultures. From its humble beginnings as a way to preserve coffee in the hot summer months, to its current status as a trendy and refreshing beverage, the story of iced coffee is one that is worth exploring. This article will take you on a journey through time, exploring the history of iced coffee and its rise in popularity.

Brief History Of Iced Coffee

Iced coffee drink has become a popular beverage worldwide with its refreshing taste and energizing effects. The origins of iced coffee can be traced to the 17th century when Dutch traders introduced cold brewed coffee to Europe. However, it was not until the 19th century that iced coffee gained popularity in America as a refreshing summer drink.

The first known usage of iced coffee can be traced back to Algeria, where it was consumed by the locals during hot summers. The method involved brewing coffee grounds and adding cold water to the mixture to create a refreshing beverage. This method was later introduced to Europe by Dutch traders, where it was enhanced with the addition of ice cubes.

Iced coffee gained popularity in America in the mid-1800s, where it was initially served with sweetened ice cream, creating a popular dessert. Soon, coffee shops started offering iced coffee drinks as a specialty item, with the addition of coffee syrups and milk options such as almond and condensed milk. Today, iced coffee can be prepared using various brewing methods such as cold-brewed coffee, espresso and double shot, and served with vanilla ice cream for a chilled treat.

Early Use Of Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is a beloved beverage enjoyed by coffee enthusiasts worldwide as a refreshing alternative to hot coffee. However, iced coffee’s roots extend back much further than you may think, with evidence of early usage found in Algeria during the 17th century. The locals of Algeria would brew coffee grounds and add cold water to create a refreshing beverage that was consumed during the hot summers. From there, the practice of brewing coffee with cold water spread to Europe and eventually found its way to America, where it became a popular summer drink in the 19th century. Today, iced coffee is enjoyed in numerous forms, from cold-brewed coffee to frozen concoctions mixed with syrups and ice cream, but its early use remains a fascinating piece of coffee history.

17th-Century Dutch Traders

The history of iced coffee can be traced back to the 17th century Dutch traders who brought the concept of chilled coffee to the Western world. The Dutch established a thriving coffee trade with East Asian plantations, leading to the introduction of coffee in Europe. This new beverage quickly became popular, but the Dutch traders preferred their coffee chilled in hot weather.

They started experimenting with cold water and ice cubes to cool down their coffee, leading to the development of chilled coffee. This practice spread in Europe, and soon, coffeehouses started offering chilled coffee as a refreshing alternative to the hot beverage.

Eventually, iced coffee became popular worldwide, with coffee shops and retailers developing their own unique recipes. Today, there are many variations of cold coffee drinks, whether it is cold brew, coffee concentrates, iced coffee with syrups, or coffee with ice cream.

19th-Century Popularity In Europe

In the 19th century, Europe saw the rise of iced coffee as a popular beverage choice. Dutch traders were believed to have introduced coffee to Europe in the 17th century. It wasn’t until the 19th century that they began experimenting with cold water and ice cubes to cool down their coffee, leading to the development of chilled coffee.

The cultural and societal factors of the time contributed to its popularity. Europe was experiencing a heatwave, and hot coffee was no longer appealing. The invention of iceboxes and refrigeration led to an increase in the availability of ice, allowing people to enjoy iced coffee as a refreshing alternative.

Chilled coffee and other types of iced coffee drinks such as coffee with ice cream, also known as “café liégeois,” were popular during this time. Chilled coffee was usually made by brewing hot coffee and then letting it cool before pouring it over ice. Some people added sweeteners like sugar or condensed milk to enhance the flavor.

The Rise Of Cold Brew Coffee

Over the past few years, a new trend in the coffee industry has emerged, and it’s not hot coffee. Cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular across the globe, with more and more specialty coffee shops and large coffee retailers offering this refreshing beverage. But what exactly is cold brew coffee, how did it come about, and what sets it apart from your normal cup of coffee? In this article, we’ll explore the rise of cold brew coffee, its brewing method, and what makes it so unique and popular among coffee consumers.

19th Century Japan

In the 19th century, iced coffee and cold brew became a popular drink in Japan, influencing modern Japanese culture. Cold brew’s popularity in Japan may have been influenced by Dutch traders from Indonesia who introduced coffee to the country. In Japanese culture, the refreshing and cooling benefits of iced coffee and cold brew were highly valued during the hot and humid summers.

In more recent times, the development of canned coffee by UCC Ueshima Coffee made coffee even more accessible, with canned coffee machines becoming ubiquitous in Japan. This led to a significant increase in coffee consumption, with iced coffee and cold brew remaining a popular choice for many.

The spread of cold brew around the world can be attributed to Japan, as it was introduced to the US in the 1960s by a Japanese company. Today, cold brew is a staple in specialty coffee shops and mainstream coffee retailers worldwide.

20th Century USA

In the 20th century, cold coffee began to garner attention in the United States thanks to the influence of coffee shops and growth of the specialty coffee industry. This trend gained traction with the introduction of modern innovations, including instant coffees, syrups, ice creams, and milkshakes, which allowed for the creation of a wide range of iced coffee drinks.

Cold-brewed coffee also rose in popularity during this time period, with some coffee shops specifically specializing in this method of coffee preparation. Espresso-based iced coffee drinks also began to emerge, with the introduction of new brewing methods and techniques.

Today, the specialty coffee industry continues to thrive, and iced coffee has cemented its place as a popular beverage for coffee consumers. Cold-brewed coffees remain a popular choice alongside traditional espresso-based iced coffee drinks, and coffee shops continue to experiment with new flavors and combinations, including mix-ins like almond milk and syrups. Overall, iced coffee has become a staple of coffee shop menus and a favorite of coffee consumers throughout the United States.

Different Types Of Iced Coffee Drinks

Iced coffee has become a staple in mainstream coffee culture. With countless variations of this popular beverage, from basic refreshers to iced coffee cocktails, it’s clear that the possibilities are endless. From cold brews to espresso-based drinks to flavored syrups, there is something for every coffee lover’s palate. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of iced coffee drinks that have taken the coffee industry by storm. So whether you’re a fan of the classic iced latte or looking to try something new, keep reading to discover the many ways to enjoy a cold cup of joe.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has been around for centuries, with its origins tracing back to Japan in the 1600s. During this time, the Japanese began brewing coffee with cold water instead of hot water. The result was a coffee concentrate that could be diluted with water, making it a refreshing and easy-to-drink beverage. The method was eventually introduced to Europe by Dutch traders, where it gained popularity as a drink for sailors on long voyages.

The cold brew method involves soaking coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time, usually 12 to 24 hours. This produces a coffee concentrate that can be diluted with water or milk for a milder flavor. Cold brew coffee is traditionally served cold or over ice, making it an ideal drink for hot summer days.

Today, cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular in the specialty coffee industry, with different types of cold brew coffee offered at many coffee shops and retailers. Some variations include using different types of coffee beans or adding syrups and milk alternatives like almond or condensed milk. Its popularity is due to the smooth and less acidic taste that the brewing method produces, making it an ideal alternative to regular hot coffee.

Chilled Coffee

Chilled coffee is a popular variation of iced coffee that is brewed traditionally and served cold over ice or in cold milk. Unlike cold brew coffee, chilled coffee is made by brewing coffee normally with hot water and then chilling it by adding ice cubes or refrigerating it.

Chilled coffee is usually brewed at a higher strength than normal coffee as it is diluted by the melting ice, maintaining its flavor even when it becomes diluted. It’s a refreshing beverage, much like regular iced coffee, and is an ideal drink for hot summer days.

This type of coffee can be found in different countries worldwide, and each one has its twist on the traditional recipe. Italy, for example, has the affogato, which consists of pouring espresso over vanilla ice cream. In Spain, there’s the Café con Hielo, where a cup of coffee is served with ice and a slice of lemon. In Vietnam, they have Ca Phe Sua Da, a combination of chilled coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and ice cubes.

Cold Water & Ice Cubes

The traditional method of making iced coffee involves brewing hot coffee and then cooling it down with ice. However, this can lead to a watered-down flavor. A better method is to use cold water and ice cubes. This involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, usually 12-24 hours, to create a coffee concentrate that can then be diluted with water and served over ice.

A variation of this method is flash-brewing, where hot water is quickly passed over coffee grounds and then immediately cooled with ice. Japanese-style iced coffee is another variation, where hot water is used to brew a concentrated coffee, which is then immediately poured over ice to create a refreshing and flavorful iced coffee.

Using cold water and ice cubes can lead to a smooth and less acidic flavor, compared to hot brewing methods. It also allows for a more subtle and nuanced taste of the coffee beans used. Popular types of coffee beans used for iced coffee include Ethiopian, Colombian, and Brazilian beans, while grind size may vary depending on the preferred method of brewing.

Modern Innovations & Popularity Of Iced Coffee Drinks

In recent years, iced coffee has become an increasingly popular beverage worldwide. The latest innovations in the coffee industry have brought us new flavors, brewing methods, and creative ingredients that take the iced coffee drinking experience to a whole new level. From cold-brewed coffee to flavored syrups and almond milk, modern innovations have transformed the way we enjoy our cold coffee beverages. Through this article, we explore the history of iced coffee and the factors contributing to its global popularity in modern times.

Instant Coffees & Syrups Combined With Ice Creams & Milkshakes

The popularity of iced coffee drinks has been on the rise in recent years, with new and innovative flavor combinations being created by coffee industry professionals. One factor contributing to this popularity is the combination of instant coffees and syrups with ice creams and milkshakes.

These ingredients allow for endless possibilities when it comes to flavor combinations, creating a refreshing and indulgent iced coffee experience. Professionals in the coffee industry use these combinations to design unique flavor profiles and cater to varying tastes.

Some popular instant coffees used in iced coffee drinks include Nescafe and Starbucks VIA, while popular syrup flavors include vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut. When it comes to ice cream, flavors like chocolate and vanilla are often paired with these coffee flavors, as are milkshakes for extra creaminess.

By combining these ingredients in different ways, coffee industry experts are able to provide coffee consumers with a refreshing and delicious cold coffee option, all year round.

Growing Influence Of The Specialty Coffee Industry

The growing influence of the specialty coffee industry has played a significant role in the rise of popularity of iced coffee. With the emergence of artisanal coffee shops, there has been a shift towards high-quality, locally sourced, and sustainable coffee beans, which has changed the way coffee is consumed and perceived. Specialty coffee shops, with their emphasis on unique and creative flavor profiles, have created a demand for a variety of iced coffee beverages.

The specialty coffee industry has also influenced trends in plant-based milk alternatives. Many coffee shops now offer customers a range of milk options such as almond, oat, and soy, in addition to traditional dairy milk. This is due to the increasing demand for alternatives that cater to dietary restrictions and preferences.

The emphasis on high-quality coffee beans, sustainable practices, and unique flavor profiles has attracted a new wave of coffee consumers, who are willing to pay a premium for a good cup of coffee. As a result, there has been a growing demand for iced coffee drinks that are not only refreshing but also offer a complex flavor profile. The specialty coffee industry has thus played a major role in shaping the popularity and evolution of iced coffee.


In conclusion, the evolution of cold coffee drinks has had a significant cultural and environmental impact on the coffee industry. From the 16th century when Dutch traders introduced the concept of drinking coffee with ice cream, to today’s modern brewing methods that produce cold-brewed coffee and coffee syrups, cold coffee drinks have become a popular beverage among coffee consumers worldwide.

However, it is important to be mindful of potential health risks associated with consuming cold coffee drinks. Coffee concentrate and ground coffee, used to make cold-brewed coffee, can contain higher levels of caffeine and may lead to dehydration and increased heart rate in some individuals. Therefore, moderation is key when consuming cold coffee drinks.

As the world continues to seek healthier and more sustainable alternatives, the coffee industry must continue to innovate and address the environmental impact of coffee production. By embracing more sustainable practices, specialty coffee shops and retailers can help to reduce waste and alleviate the impact of coffee production on the environment.