The Lazy Person’s Guide to At-Home Iced Coffee

Grady's New Orleans-Style Cold Brew, 32 oz.
Birch Iced Coffee, 64 oz. Jug
Blue Bottle New Orleans Iced Coffee Cartons
Stumptown Cold Brew Stubby, 10.5 oz.

Let's ignore for a second that the obvious solution to the "I'm too lazy to make my own iced coffee" problem is walking to the nearest Dunkin' Donuts (there are more than 515 in New York alone, people) and ordering one. Because that's boring and everyone already does it.

Starting over: So it's summer and you're too lazy to make your own iced coffee. This is an understandable dilemma. Brewing hot coffee and icing it down leads to lackluster results. Steeping your own cold brew requires some advanced planning and fridge space you probably don't have. (Quick refresher: Cold brew coffee is as simple as it sounds—coffee that’s brewed with cold water instead of hot). It also takes longer to make. But there are positives galore: It has about 67% less acid (note the super smooth taste) so it's easier to digest. There's also the delightful little note that drinking coffee can reduce one's risk of heart failure over time if that's, you know, something you care about. In the pursuit of science, we tested a bunch of cold brew options you can order online or pick up at your local fancy grocery store. Here are our favorites (low acid, high flavor, definitely will give you wings) ...

Grady's 32 oz. New Orleans-Style Cold Brew
There are two ways you can choose to drink Grady’s: as it’s intended, by diluting the coffee concentrate with water, milk, or ice. (For the $24, 32 oz. two-fer, you're getting 16 to 20 servings of ice coffee for less than $2 each.) For a more exciting route, drink it straight, have a really productive couple of hours followed by a massive headache. Sure, it's the immediate solution and not terribly sustainable, but YOLO. Order a whole box of 'em from their website and you're ready for the next environmental disaster or quarantine to strike.

Birch 64 oz. Iced Coffee Jug
Birch’s 64-ounce jug delivery service is great for those with magical fridge space to spare. The hand-messenger service can be directed to your home, office, isolation cubicle, etc. And the stuff will last you around eight to 10 cups of coffee depending on your consumption habits—that's at least a week of not worrying about your mode of caffeination!

Blue Bottle New Orleans Iced Coffee Carton
The lactose intolerant among you, beware: Blue Bottle’s cartons come pre-mixed with milk and sweetener. A turn-off for some, but it does make the whole experience taste like you’re drinking melty coffee ice cream which is never a bad thing in my book. The bad news is you can't order these straight to your home. But if you're near a Blue Bottle retail location (Wholefoods is one), have at it!

Stumptown 10.5 oz Cold Brew Stubby
The stubby may vaguely (OK, more than vaguely) resemble a bottle of Red Stripe, but what's more summery than that? Stubbies ship directly from Brooklyn, but if you find yourself close to a brick-and-mortar Stumptown, you can get these (and larger growlers) refilled from their cold brew tap. How very eco-conscious. And hipster, very hipster.

—Emily Ferber

Photos by Emily Ferber and Jenny Achiam.

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  • Scandalous Beauty

    This was just in time! I use my Chemex to make my daily cup of iced coffee, but it's a little time consuming. I have to try some of these brands. Thanks!!

  • Meg White

    The Grady's makes 16 servings per two bottles -- 4oz. concentrate to 4oz. mixer of your choice for an 8oz. cup of coffee. Unless you take your coffee really, really weak.

    • ITGFerber

      Whoa our math went a little haywire! Thanks for the catch.

  • Yum Lovers

    Love Grady's! Veganify it w/ coconut milk, ice, dates, vanilla. Blend:

  • Emma Hager

    Yum...these all look so delicious! The great bottle designs are a plus. Love anything remotely retro.

  • Aubrey Green

    Trader Joes has a really good option

    • ITGFerber

      This would be next on my list!...If only the length of the Trader Joe's lines was a bit more tolerable.

      • Emma Hager

        I've been in the Union Square Trader Joe's once and it was insane. It surprisingly moved faster than I had anticipated. In a city so large efficiency is key. I swear some of those clerks doubled as air traffic controllers.

  • Haiku Jew

    Iced coffee is cool
    I like it with a cookie
    and summer chick lit.

    • ITGFerber

      This is the best.

    • Emma Hager

      Thank you for that, Haiku Jew.

      Your moniker is hella good.

  • aliwos

    These products are a LIFESAVER for me because I hateeee hot coffee and don't always want to stop at Starbucks.

    Trader Joe's has this for $8 for like 10-12 servings. It's with the other coffees and teas. Whole Foods also has a wide selection of local offerings on a refrigerated shelf in the prepared foods section.

  • District Style

    Iced coffee is my summer weakness and great packaging is my all-season weakness, so I will invariably try a couple of these out.

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    You've inspired me to try the cold brew at Trader Joes!

  • Nicole

    For those who like milk in their iced coffee you should def try Califa Farms coffee w almond milk! So delicious and not too sweet at all IMO.

  • kathS

    Don't know where the Nola love is coming from, but I like it!

  • Peaches

    coffee from a carton? chicory? Sounds really good.

  • lalalala

    Stumptown is from Portland not Brooklyn.

  • Denisse

    I have only recently gotten in iced coffee and have to say I really like it!

  • Amy Elaine

    I HIGHLY recommend the cold brew from Seaworth Coffee, Co. It's brewed in San Clemente, California and takes DELISH with some Clover Organic milk .. This sounds like an add, but it's not. I'm drinking it as we type! They also make a killer coconut simple syrup for you sugar eaters :)

  • Amy Elaine

    Ugh ... *tastes and *ad ... Clearly, I should drink some more.

  • duhhh

    Stumptown stubbies are also found basically everywhere FYI. Cafes, grocery stores etc.

  • nataliehere

    I actually use instant coffee granules to make iced coffee and it's super cheap and tastes surprisingly good.