Mazagran: How to Make Lemon Coffee

What could be better than a good old fashioned cup of coffee? Wait until you try mazagran, a European coffee drink made with lemon and sugar. It’s sometimes called the original iced coffee — and you may never go back to your previous drinks!

We’ll show you what mazagran is and how to make it at home. Plus, keep reading to find brewing tips and tricks!

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What is Mazagran?

citric acid lemons

Mazagran is a cold espresso drink that originally comes from Algeria, though it’s now much more popular in Portugal. It’s essentially coffee lemonade, combining citrusy acidity with the bold flavor of espresso. The lemon juice was originally added to improve the flavor of low-end coffee beans. But don’t hesitate to use your pricier beans — this tasty drink won’t ruin their flavor.

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How to Make Mazagran:


  • Fresh espresso or strong coffee
  • Lemon
  • White sugar or honey
  • Ice


  • Espresso or coffee maker
  • Spoon
  • Tall glass
  • Lemon squeezer (optional)

1. Pour ice into a tall glass.

coffee ice cubes in a glass

Fill the glass with ice — or, for a stronger drink, use coffee ice cubes.

2. Pull a shot of espresso or brew a strong cup of coffee.

Using your preferred espresso maker, pull a shot. If you prefer, you can use strong coffee instead, though you may want to adjust the ratios. We used the Wacaco Minipresso, an affordable portable espresso maker, for this guide.

3. Add a sweetener.

Mix white sugar, honey, or vanilla extract into the hot coffee. Then let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

4. Add the espresso to the glass.

Pour the espresso mixture on top of the ice.

5. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice.

Depending on how much you like sour flavors, you may want to add more or less lemon juice. We recommend squeezing in half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon of juice). Then stir, taste, and adjust if needed!

6. Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy!

If you’d like, add a slice of lemon as a garnish. Now you’re ready to enjoy your iced lemon coffee!

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What variations can you make?

Want to adjust this drink to your tastes? Here are some suggestions to personalize your drink or take it over the top:

Sour or Sweet?

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If you’re a big fan of sour drinks, you may want to add more lemon juice and less sugar to your mazagran. Try the above recipe and see how you like it. You can always squeeze in another lemon or add a spoonful of honey at the end. And if you want to experiment a little, why not try substituting a lime? You may enjoy the sour twist!

Skip the Lemon

Prefer a drink that’s closer to the original Algerian recipe? Skip the lemon and make a simple iced espresso. You can pull a shot of espresso directly over ice, or mix it with sugar and then add a few ice cubes.

Espresso or Coffee?

What will change if you substitute brewed coffee for espresso? You can expect a difference in flavor — espresso is richer and more complex — and the drink will be less strongly flavored overall. We recommend brewing your coffee as strong as possible to get the best flavor.

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The Bottom Line

We hope you enjoy this easy lemon coffee recipe! It’s simple to make and surprisingly delicious. A squeeze of lemon adds bright acidity to the rich flavor of espresso — and enjoying the whole thing over ice is very refreshing. Why not try a tasty cup of iced mazagran today?

Looking for more coffee recipes?

Featured image: Unsplash

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