Hungry Girl: My Guide to the Best Iced Coffees of the Summer

Iced coffee
Photo: Nicole Peattie/Getty: Inset: Lisa Lillien

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

Iced coffee season is in full effect! Take a look at the biggest trends in iced coffee, plus some at-home tricks you’ve got to try.

Cold Brew Is Hot!

Starbucks’ Cold Brew Drinks
Cold-brew coffee rose to popularity in independent shops, due to its mellow flavor and reduced bitterness. Now, you can get it at the ‘Bucks for just about 5 calories (before sweetener and milk)! And Starbucks recently launched its Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew drink (sip a 16-oz. Grande for 110 calories). If you live in Seattle, try the test launch of the coffee chain’s Nitro Cold Brew: infused with nitrogen and served on tap!

Lucky Jack Nitro Cold Brew
Speaking of the slightly effervescent java known as nitro brew, you can score some without the assistance of a barista. Lucky Jack has a whole line of bottled nitro-infused coffees, with three 7-calorie options: plain (Old School), stevia sweetened (Lean Bean), and espresso boosted (Double Black). So good!

Cold-Brew Concentrates
From smaller sellers like the aforementioned Lucky Jack to grocery brands like Trader Joe’s, these just-add-water concentrates are everywhere. They’re generally unsweetened, but check the ingredients just to be sure. A bottle will last you many, many servings — good investment!

BIY (Brew It Yourself)

If you want to go beyond the standard “brew coffee, and let it cool” technique try the below options.

Keurig K-Cups Shortcut
If you have one of these machines handy, iced coffee is a snap. Brew your regular pod on the iced coffee or espresso setting, pour over a cup of ice, and voilà! No cool down required.

Coffee Ice Cubes
Freeze leftover brewed coffee in a standard ice-cube tray. Then just add a bunch to fresh coffee without worrying about watering down your brew. So simple; so smart!

Flavor It Up

Non-Dairy Creamers
There are some delicious, low-calorie creamers made from coconut and almond milk. I’m a fan of Califia Farms Better Half and So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamers; the unsweetened versions have around 10 calories per tablespoon. (Both brands are carrageenan free, FYI.) Big improvements from standard half-and-half!

Natural No-Calorie Sweeteners
Want to sweeten up your drink without adding calories or artificial ingredients? I recommend stevia-based sweeteners, like the kinds by Truvia, SweetLeaf, and Stevia In The Raw. HG tip: These are much sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way!

Flavored Extracts
Forget sugary beverage syrups – just stock up on multi-purpose extracts! They’re virtually calorie-free, and there are a bazillion options. Vanilla and almond are great, but the sky’s the limit. Maple, coconut…YUM.

‘Til next time… Chew (and sip) the right thing!

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