How to Make First Watch Iced Coffee

With hundreds of locations across the country, First Watch, a popular breakfast and brunch spot, holds a special place in the hearts of many. The restaurant chain is generally known for its welcoming atmosphere and an extensive menu that caters to every breakfast craving. Oh, and there’s something else that customers love about First Watch – the iced coffee.

If you’re a busy professional or an exhausted parent (or both), you may not always have time to make it to your nearest First Watch. But this shouldn’t stop you from indulging in your favorite morning pick-me-up.

Keep reading and you’ll learn how to make First Watch iced coffee at home. With a few easy steps and the right ingredients, you can whip up this drinkable delight whenever you please.

First Watch Iced Coffee Ingredients 

  • 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee (brewed to your preferred strength)
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1/4 cup of milk or half-and-half (adjust to your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of simple syrup or sugar (adjust to your preferred level of sweetness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional, for added flavor)
  • Whipped cream (optional, for topping)

Instructions for Making First Watch Iced Coffee

Step 1: Brew the Coffee

Begin by brewing a cup of your favorite coffee. 

The magic of First Watch’s iced coffee lies in the coffee’s strength, so aim for a brew that’s slightly stronger than your usual cup. This added strength will ensure that the coffee maintains its flavor even after the ice begins to melt.

Step 2: Chill the Coffee

After brewing, allow the hot coffee to cool down to room temperature. 

If you’re in a hurry to enjoy your iced coffee, you can expedite the cooling process by placing it in the refrigerator for a short while.

The coffee should no longer be hot when you proceed to the next steps.

Step 3: Prepare the Ice

Take a large glass and fill it with a generous cup of ice. 

Using a chilled glass is important to ensure that your iced coffee remains refreshingly cold throughout the experience. 

The ice not only chills your coffee but also dilutes it to your preferred strength.

Step 4: Sweeten the Coffee

Now, pour the cooled coffee over the ice in the glass. This is the moment to add sweetness to your iced coffee. 

Start by adding 2 tablespoons of simple syrup, which is a basic mixture of sugar and water. If you don’t have simple syrup (or don’t feel like making it), you can use 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Ultimately, the sweetness is a matter of personal preference, so you may want to begin with less and adjust to taste. You can always add more simple syrup or sugar later, but you can’t take it out if you’ve added too much.

Step 5: Add Milk or Half-and-Half

To achieve the desired level of creaminess in your iced coffee, stir in 1/4 cup of milk or half-and-half, along with a splash of cold water if needed. 

Pouring milk into iced coffee

The exact amount can vary depending on your taste; if you prefer a richer coffee, add a bit more. The milk or half-and-half combines with the coffee and ice to create a refreshing, creamy blend.

Step 6: Flavor with Vanilla (optional)

For another layer of flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to your iced coffee. 

While this step is entirely optional, it can provide a subtle, aromatic twist to your beverage, making it even more enjoyable.

Step 7: Stir Well

To ensure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, give your iced cup of coffee a good stir. 

Stirring helps evenly distribute the sweetener, milk, and any added flavoring throughout the coffee, guaranteeing a balanced taste with each sip.

Step 8: Add Whipped Cream (optional)

If you want to indulge a little and create an extra layer of richness, add a dollop of whipped cream on top of your iced coffee. 

This step is completely optional, so you can skip it if you prefer a simpler beverage.

Step 9: Serve and Enjoy

Your homemade First Watch-inspired iced coffee is now ready to be enjoyed. Stir it once more just before sipping to ensure that all the flavors are well blended. The result is a cool, sweet, and creamy coffee that can brighten up your day.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use any type of coffee for making First Watch iced coffee?

Absolutely! You can use your favorite coffee beans, whether they’re light, medium, or dark roast; Arabica or Robusta. Brew the coffee to your preferred strength, as this recipe is versatile and adaptable.

Can I make a large batch of iced coffee in advance?

Certainly, you can scale up the recipe to make a larger batch if you’re serving multiple people or want to have iced coffee ready for several days. Simply adjust the ingredient quantities accordingly.

How long can I store homemade iced coffee in the refrigerator?

Homemade iced coffee can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days. However, it’s best consumed within the first 24 hours to retain its freshness and flavor.

What is the ideal coffee-to-ice ratio for First Watch iced coffee?

The coffee-to-ice ratio can vary depending on your taste. A general rule of thumb is to use approximately equal parts of coffee and ice. Adjust the ice quantity to make it milder or stronger, according to your preference.

Can I use cold-brew coffee instead of hot-brewed coffee?

While this recipe uses hot brewed coffee cooled down, you can certainly use cold brew coffee as a base for your iced coffee. Cold brew coffee is known for its smooth and less acidic taste, which can provide a unique flavor to your homemade iced coffee.

The Final Scoop

Recreating First Watch’s iced coffee at home is surprisingly simple, requiring just a few basic ingredients and straightforward steps. 

You don’t need to be a barista or have fancy equipment; all you need is freshly brewed coffee, a handful of ice, a dash of milk, a touch of sweetness, and a hint of vanilla if you prefer.

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