No matter the season, no matter the reason, iced coffees always hit the spot.
Americans aren’t the only ones enjoying iced coffee beverages, around the world iced coffees and espresso drinks are popular. There’s more to an iced coffee then, well, ice and coffee.
In the northwest, where American fascination with coffee was born, an iced coffee includes very little flavoring or sweeteners. Seattleites will pour a shot of hot espresso over a cup of ice and add a bit of coffee to fill it to the top.
In California, iced coffee drinks are often created by filling a cup with ice, adding milk about half way up the cup then topping off with strong coffee. A squeeze or two of caramel and whipped cream topping finishes it off.
Coffee lovers on the east coast dig coffee martinis. Cold brewed coffee is mixed with vodka and a splash of coffee liquor, shaken in a martini shaker and served in an iced martini glass.
Italians have been known to serve iced coffee drinks on hot days by placing a cup filled with ice under the espresso maker nozzle. They claim espresso begins to turn bitter if cooled slowly.
In France, they like their iced coffee sweet and syrupy. After brewing a strong cup of Joe, they add sugar cubes and spices before stirring and adding ice.
Iced Coffee 101
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you add something hot, like coffee, to something cold, like ice, they both end up diluting and becoming lukewarm. There are a couple ways to counter this rule of science.
Making cold brewed coffee is one way to combat the ice melting issue.
Don’t confuse the cold brewed coffee described below for cold, brewed coffee – the leftovers from this morning’s pot.
When made properly, cold brewed coffee serves as a refrigerated coffee concentrate that can make hot beverages as well as cold.
- Start with a pound of freshly roasted, high quality, coarsely ground coffee beans.
- Place the beans in the bottom of a one gallon pitcher.
- Fill the pitcher with ten cups of filtered water.
- Leave at room temperature for twelve to fifteen hours.
- Place folded cheesecloth or other fine mesh filter over another pitcher that is one half to a full gallon in volume. Secure cheesecloth with a rubber band around the lip of the pitcher. It doesn’t have to be tight, just secure.
- Pour the cold brewed coffee and sludge over the filter, filling the bottom pitcher with a filtered concentrate.
- Squeeze the remainder of the essence from the beans by wadding the cheesecloth or filter around the beans and compressing tightly over the pitcher.
You can use cold brewed coffee to make a plethora of iced coffee drink favorites.
Fill a glass one quarter full of milk. Stir in two tablespoons of chocolate beverage syrup or Ovaltine. Fill with ice. Pour concentrated cold brewed coffee to the top of the glass. Substitute strawberry beverage syrup or protein shake powder to make a tasty iced coffee treat.
Another way to combat the melting issue is to use the low temperature of your other ingredients to temper the coffee or espresso, making the melt far less obvious. When you will be using milk in your iced coffee drink, you can mix the shot, milk and anything other than the ice before adding your ice cubes.
With a little forethought, you could also place your iced coffee drink glass in your freezer until you’re ready for it. Pour the hot coffee or espresso shot into the frozen glass. The liquid from the coffee or espresso will absorb the cold temperatures, making for a cool cup of coffee in just a minute.
Keep cool. Keep caffeinated. Travel far.