I love me some iced coffee.
When I saw The Pioneer Woman's ode to the precious, I knew it had to be my new best friend.  My new way to finally end my current (really expensive) VIA love affair.

Plus, it would mean the two minutes that I normally spend making it each morning would be reduced to zero.  Imagine what I could do with those extra two minutes a day?

Two minutes of peace.
Two minutes before I have to brush the tangles out of my wimpy scalped daughter.
Two minutes to read a paragraph in a magazine.

Life changing, I say.  Life changing.

 I don't consider myself a coffee snob.
I really don't.  But on my recent kid filled, solo road trip I NEEDED coffee.  Like keep from crashing on the freeway needed.  The girls wanted breakfast... so I decided to pull a two-fer.  They get food, I get power to drive another few hours.  But I have been burned before by McCafe.  Burned badly.  I have tried it three times. Three times it has ended up in the trash.  But people like it... like really, really like it...

Why don't I???  How badly can they mess up ice, coffee and milk?
No sweeteners.  No weirdness.  Just three ingredients.
Three ingredients gone so very, very wrong.
So wrong, that the one sip of wrongness kept me alert for the hour it took to get to the nearest Starbucks drive-thru.  The one that gets me.  That knows that I like my coffee like I like my men.  A drummer with green-blue eyes named Jason.

McCafe got dumped in the bushes at Starbucks.
All was right with the world again.
We didn't crash on the freeway.  I didn't throw up on the side of the road.

But back to the real story....
P Dub and her gallons of iced happiness.
The food storage thing that she used was easily found at my local Smart N Final.
The coffee was only $3.74 at Target.

Also found at Target, this happy aqua dispenser, perfect to tuck into my fridge.

With supplies gathered, kids in bed, I carried on in my quest.
Filled the water, dumped in the coffee, stirred, covered, and went to bed with visions of coffee dancing in my head.

I woke up extra early the next day to strain the coffee concentrate.
Extra early should have been my clue that things were about to go very, very, very wrong.

I don't do well with extra early.

It is HEAVY!
Straining it takes lots of care and patience.
I lack care and patience.  Especially early.  Especially pre-coffee.
I spilled it everywhere.  
But I kept going.

Kept straining.  Kept pouring.
My kitchen and my clothing smelled like we went swimming in a vat of strong coffee.

After the straining portion was complete, I poured it into my cute little drink dispenser.
Excitedly I transferred the dispenser to the fridge and shut the door.

Then I proceeded to clean up the coffee massacre that filled the counters, my pajamas and the sink.

As I was cleaning I heard dripping...
Sort of like the sound that the ice maker makes when it is filling up with water.

Sort of.
But I was too busy cleaning to pay it much attention.
Kids were about to wake up and I needed my coffee.
My husband needed to come down to a usable kitchen.

All was well.  All was clean.
I poured myself a big glass from the leftovers that didn't fit in the dispenser, and walked to the fridge to get some almond milk.

Kids are stirring upstairs.

I open the fridge.
A tidal wave of coffee comes rushing out.
All over me, my feet, the floor, under the fridge.

Apparently, when I shut the door it hit the spout on the dispenser.
The dripping I heard?
The dispenser dispensing a GALLON of coffee inside my fridge, all sinister and waiting to come out.

Good times my friends, good times.
Cleanup on aisle five.

At this point what is a girl to do?

It is barely 7am, I am soaking wet, the kitchen is chaos, the kids need to be fed and get ready for school...
I don't get paid enough to deal with such things.

So I cleaned.  Mopped.  Scrubbed. Shamwowed.
Tried not to cry.  Or cuss.  Or throw the dispenser through a window.

Where was the Brawny man when I needed him?
Or Calgon to take me far, far, far away.

Then I made it again.  A half batch, mind you.
(But this time I used my favey Starbucks Pike Place Roast.  Maybe I'm a snob after all...)
Because it was good.
But this time I was more patient, rested and careful.
It is now safely tucked in half gallon mason jars.
Spout-less mason jars.
Happily greeting me each morning.
As I take the two minutes to reflect on how dramatic I sometimes make my life.

Thank you Pioneer Woman.
No thank you cheapy Target dispenser.
Although, my scrubbed and cleaned fridge has never looked better...


  1. I make my iced coffee by just brewing a pot of regular coffee the night before. I put it in the fridge so it will be nice and cold the next morning and not melt my ice. I agree about the McDonalds coffee, I have tried it a couple of times too and it is just yucky!

  2. I know what you mean about having your coffee - only mine is tea. I drink a mug of Organic Green Tea every morning (to keep me healthy) and then around 10:30 or so - I treat myself to a Chai Tea Latte. I buy the Tazo Chai liquid mix from Costco, mix it with skim milk and pop it in the micro to warm it up. Mmmmm a little bit of heaven at 10:30 every day!

  3. Oh my goodness. I am oscilating between total horror and complete hilarity. WOW that is a nightmare. I can just imagine staring at the GALLON of coffee all over the floor, and the fridge...oh man. I am glad to know it is good though, I have been wanting to try it. And I will stay very far from that dispenser.

  4. oh my gosh you are crackin me up. i was gonna comment on my fav line: i like my coffee like i like my men. 'cause that was hilarious. but then the coffee disaster of 2011. may have been worse than the mod podge spill of 2011. less collateral damage, but way worse clean up. can't believe the fridge door pressed down the spout of that thing. wrong.

  5. Sounds like a messy coffee making experience. Actually, I liked PW tute a lot, but thought the whole thing sounded ridiculously messy, so I pulled out my french press and made a small batch there instead. It doesn't last as long (5-7 days), but there is no big mess and takes little thought or effort on my part. I also keep my brew in a mason jar... and really who besides the PW has that much space in their fridge to devote to coffee? Enjoy! Sounds like you deserve it!

  6. I'm so going to make that now! Yay! Oh - and I bought the same Target dispenser - and took it back for LEAKING!!! Boo! My experience was lemonade everywhere! Target rarely disappoints - big fail T! :0)

  7. I am glad to hear that you liked the recipe in the end because I read on another blog that it wasn't as good as they had hoped. So, I'm off to go to Smart 'n Final and get the tubs. :)
    patti - urbanbundle.com

  8. You are story teller my friend. A Dramatic story teller and I just love you.

  9. Hubby and I have found the secret to getting good iced coffee at McD's. First off you have to know it's not 3 ingredients....they add this sugar water stuff. To get tasty not overly sweetened coffee you ask for the iced coffee, specify NO sugar water stuff and just one or 2 pumps of the syrup. I get 2 pumps in the med size. One in the smaller size. Def drinkable. I too prefer to make my own. I brew really strong coffee--1/3 C bold verona to 4 C water and add just short of a 1/4 C of homemade simple vanilla syrup and add milk, keep in fridge. Supre simple and hubby and I love it and it saves us $$$. ;)

  10. you ma'am are my hero. totally agree that mcdonald's coffee is overrated! made pw's coffee last week too!! i did make a bit of a mess & I like you LOVE Ball jars. mostly because Ball is my last name. I found one with a NONE leaky spout at a craft's store. L<3ve it!!{http://bit.ly/jjuTcg}

  11. ICK!!! McD's is so nasty!! My husband even wrote a letter to complain about the nasty, undrikableness of this $4 a cup breww and all he got was a thank you for his comment! I make a full pot of coffee and then pour into a pitcher to chill, then it is all ready to go when I need some yumminess in the a.m.

  12. I'm HOOKED on the Via's w/ almond milk, thank you very much! :) I'm a lil scared to try PW's now..haha But being the coffee addict I am, I'm so curious..

  13. So funny, I absolutely can't stand Starbucks but am addicted to the mc donalds iced mocha. lol! One thing I have noticed though is that they are not consistent. And this varies by day and location. I've found one location that I love. Yay for me!

  14. I love Sbucks iced coffee but since I am po, I have to make my own and sometimes splurge on a McD's... now, it's horrible the way they make it. I have to specify ONLY 1/2 the cream. They put too much and it makes me drive heave otherwise :)

  15. "My kitchen and my clothing smelled like we went swimming in a vat of strong coffee."

    I see nothing wrong with the above statement. ;)

    Starbucks will always get my fivebucks because I always know what I'm getting no matter where I am. Phoenix, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Roswell....it's always the same.

    I love coffee but I don't really love my homemade iced coffee. Maybe if I pre-make it I will like it better.

  16. One benefit to not liking coffee... not spilling it all over your kitchen floor. Because Diet Coke? Comes in a can. Already. Nice and Neat.

  17. I saw that recipe just a few days ago and was super excited about it, but didn't go to the extremes of smart n final to get the right supplies. My make shift attempt was just meh...I think I'll make a trip and try again.

  18. I made it last week too and it was great! I'm glad you powered through the disaster and made it again! It's better than the old "regular coffee in the fridge" method. I just made a half batch because I wasn't sure how I would like it but it's almost up so I must've liked it. :) I think the almond milk in it sound pretty good. I may have to give that a go next time.

  19. oh my goodness, friend! that is crazy with a capital C. But see if it was me, it would have happened when all 4 of my kids were underfoot. Yay for you getting up before everyone else :)

    And I do have to agree with Jamie - I (and by *I* - I mean *my sweet wonderful husband*) always makes the coffee the night before and puts it in the fridge. In the morning, add ice and half and half, and we're good to go. PW's seemed way too complicated for an impatient (and accident prone) person like me - not to mention the lack of fridge space. Either way, love iced coffee, and I'm so glad to be warned away from the McD's - not that I was particularly tempted, mind you ;)

  20. At least it's good! I'm planning on trying this next time I have to buy coffee!

  21. Poor baby! I've been obsessing about this ever since you pinned it, of course I never would have found it on PW's blog because I get way too jealous of her to read her regularly. It's bad, I'm working on it but...it's bad.
    Anyway, I'm still planning on making this too...nom nom!

  22. I totally think McD's is disgusting too! I do a smaller cold brew version. 2 cup ball jar, filled with 1/2 cup grounds, filled to the top with water and stored in fridge for 12 hours. Pour through filter placed in sieve over measuring cup.

    And your coffee tidal wave had me laughing out loud!!!

  23. OY. That so would have happened to me too... especially since I would have never heard that ominous dripping sound!

    Glad you tried it again... and gave it your approval. Now I need to follow me that link and find out how! :)

  24. We had a similar experience until we cut the recipe in half. And it's so worthmit! Now I just need to find a cute dispenser!

  25. I am not a coffee drinker, so I can't be snobby about it, but this post made me laugh so hard, I have tears streaming. Thanks! This was a hard lesson to learn. Thanks for being real and sharing. I love your witty writing.

  26. What a coffee experience. I'm proud of you for trying again after such an incident. I need to try iced coffee...especially during these hot summer months. It's OK to be a coffee snob.

  27. that is not funny but yet i was laughing.
    i have more than one time brewed a pot of coffee without putting the coffee POT in the machine.
    and walked away.
    you can understand the mess that it was can't you?

    i make a full pot in the morning and have it hot in two cups and then the heat turns off and i either drink it over ice all day or put it in the fridge if there's room.
    mccafe is nasty.
    i am on your side.

  28. You are a brilliant story teller! The "good stuff", like sinister coffee tidal waves, always happen to brilliant story tellers.

  29. Oh I did the same thing once with a cheapy dispenser, only it was Red Kool-Aid and I didn't notice it until we had been gone for a three hour grocery, errand running spree. Yeah, I came home to sticky icky red kool-aid mess all over my refrigerator. The refrigerator I then had to clean before I could put away all the groceries. I so feel your pain. I have been wanting to try the PW coffee thing. Is it really as good?

  30. Absolutely hilarious. I wondered how she got all that coffee through a strainer!

  31. this was one of your most amazing blog posts ever. so glad you shared! i'm going to have to try making a pot of coffee and leaving it in the fridge. so convenient!

    now if i can only find a more convenient way to make my hot tea in the mornings...

  32. Yikes, so sorry about the "situation" that occurred in your fridge : ( but I'm glad you made a second batch! Good storytelling, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next! Have a good day!

  33. I just thought I should let you know that you're the reason I got addicted to iced latte's made with Starbucks Via packets. Adore. I also tried Pioneer Women's iced coffee last week and it IS messy...but its a decent replacement. Its no Via...but its much more friendly on the budget. Thank you for my coffee addiction. lol. :D

  34. I have that same dispenser from Target. And I have had that same issue more than a few times!! Thankfully mine is filled with water at all times...but in a house full of boys who barely close the fridge door, let alone take time to push something back further into the fridge, I've also had my fair share of mopping up a gallon of water!! My fridge and the condiments on the door get a nice wiping down at least once every other day due to this!! Sorry yours was coffee...boo!! Hooray for the PW coffee though!! :)

  35. My husband and I are total coffee snobs--to the point where it's freakish. He loves iced coffee in the summer, so cold his in a cool vintage mason jar every night before bed and then strains it with the gold filter from our coffee pot into his thermos for work (he tried using our french press, but you have to let it set over night and it wouldn't fit in our fridge with the sticky push down thing up). Sometimes, if he's feeling sweet, he'll make me a batch to have that afternoon. I always add a little milk and a tad of vanilla syrup to mine and it's a nice naptime treat to keep me going :)

  36. I've been wanting to try this but here is my question... I can only find a 6 qt food storage container at Sam's. Would that work if I cut PW's recipe in half??

  37. Oh, can I relate! I just made PW's iced coffee a couple of weeks ago...I had issues with the straining and dumped a large amount on the floor. I was doing it a pretty dumb way though...holding the cheesecloth over a container??? I put the cheesecloth in a strainer after that and it was much, much easier! And I used the same coffee that you did at first and that PW uses and it was just okay. So you didn't miss much with that brand! And I'm feeling your coffee all over pain too...the other day I got up to find my seven year old standing in the biggest puddle of milk ever in front of the open fridge. He had dropped an opened gallon of milk on the floor and the jug split open! Can you say milk all over the floor, under the fridge and dripping down into the basement storage area? (Which we didn't find out about until it was spoiled!) So long comment but I related so much to your misery here....next time I'll make the coffee with starbucks!

  38. I feel your pain! A friend of mine who used to be a barista at SBC came up with a brilliant home iced coffee method that makes an extremely minimal mess and requires little effort. She sewed a cloth pouch for me that is big enough to hold a bag of ground coffee. The top cinches closed with ribbon. I simply fill the sack, fill a gallon rubbermaid pitcher with good old purified water, put the whole thing in the fridge for about 24 hours and voila! awesome cold brewed coffee. After it is brewed it is really rich. Add water to get the strength required to get you going in the am. ;) The best part is that the grounds are confined to the sack. Take it to the garden and spread the grounds around your roses. Very minimal mess. Wash the sack with a load of towels and repeat when you deplete your supply. Good luck! :)

  39. What you need is the Nespresso citiz. It was life changing for me:) It can be purchased at Williams Sonoma. Nespresso actually makes a new smaller version...The Pixie. Either way...it gives you a perfect shot of espresso for a latte. LOVE it!

  40. My jaw dropped when I got the part about the coffee spilling out of the fridge from your cheery container. I can only imagine... and early in the morning, nonetheless...

    Enjoying your blog!

    Stephanie from Make Home Make Sense

  41. I went to target right after I read this. I, however, didn't listen, and bought the red cheap dispenser. Hopefully, I won't have a mess. But let me tell you, my iced coffee this morning is amazing!!

  42. drink enemies for life. you've made me gag twice in two days.

  43. thanks so much for sharing! Love coffee in the a.m. but without airconditioning (don't even get me started!) and living in RAncho (boo!) it is too hot even in the a.m to have hot coffee!!
    Love it- love you!!!

  44. You and Ree are my lifesavers! I'm 20 weeks pregnant and had totally lost the taste for coffee during this pregnancy...until now! My husband told me I was crazy while making this last night but right now both of us are enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. THANK YOU!!

  45. so funny! I know it wasnt funny for you, but so funny for me (since it was your kitchen)... I was also going to suggest a different coffee.... theres a reason one is a coffee snob. Because the Pike Place stuff is just so much better!

  46. I made this too and am in love! I did end up spilling 1/4 of it during the straining and I only made a half batch but my life will never be the same!! And I use mason jars and almond milk too!! Ahhhhh iced coffee!

  47. Oh my gosh, I am sorry to be laughing at your expense! But I love me some iced coffee and I would go to the ends of the earth for some!

    Something random to add, I too have 3 daughters with long tangly hair. I just bought The Tangle Teaser at Sally Beauty Supply. To say it will change your life is an understatement. That thing rocks - you need to run out and get one! : )

  48. Oh yes! Finally a friend who agrees about McD's gross-o coffee! I, too, gave it many more fair try's than I should have. I so wanted it to work! But, it always tasted like industrial cleaning solvant to me! Ick! Funny story: The last time I tried it was en rout on a solo road trip with our 3 kids. After stopping through a drive through and purchasing said yucky McD's iced coffee, we were on the interstate for not too much time, logging miles, when my 4 year old little guy had to "go potty"! Desperate times call for desperate measures. I had drank roughly half the gross coffee before deciding it wasn't fit for consumption ---- what did it turn out to be fit for? You guessed it. Like I said . . . alone, driving with the kids, freeway, no where to stop = desperate. Half cup was handed back to little guy. Little guy filled it without skipping a beat, stopping the car, or unbuckling a seat belt. It was carefully thrown out later at our next stop (safely off the freeway and thankfully without catastrophic spills). I'd like to tell McD's that THAT is what I think about their coffee! Don't mess with the Momma's and their coffee, man!!!

  49. So Julie, I didn't read through everybody's comments to see if anyone suggested the Toddy Coffeemaker. (If you can't find one locally, World Market sells it online: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11769115 )

    The huge difference we found between cold brew & regular coffee is the acidity. ♥♥♥ cold brew!

    Of course, here in Phoenix we live on iced coffee 9 months out of the year...

  50. Love this story - ral life told by an amazing story teller!

    Happy iced coffee day to you!

  51. Uhh, well that stinks, what a mess! I did see PW’s coffee recipe post awhile back, but haven't got up the gusto to make it yet. I saw yesterday at Target (um, hmm, yes Target...back to shopping there after dd got a bday gift card; I saw they do still sell quite a bit of U.S.A. made products still and colorful rainbow goodness…I’m in trouble I tell you!) a knockoff of the Pottery Barn dispenser for at least half the cost. I think they look pretty cool, but reading your dispenser dilemma has probably warded me off of ever using a dispenser in my fridge. Thank you for sharing your story because you have saved me and several of your other readers from at least one more mess and headache in life. ;)

  52. Good move with the Starbucks coffee choise. The Cafe Bustelo was horrible, especially with the cold brew method. I know I'm forever late in commenting on this, but, well, I just found your blog and LOVE it!

  53. I had the displeasure of getting an iced coffee at McDonald's last week. If there was coffee in that cup, it was strictly a rumor. Just milk and enough sugar to give an elephant diabetes. I tossed it almost immediately.
    Starbucks is no good either: every time I have ever gotten anything made with coffee from them, it tasted like someone burned it first.