Iced lattes have the reputation of being the most basic drink. Closely followed by the seasonal hot lattes. There is a magic to coffee being simultaneously refreshing and energizing, and no drink delivers such like lattes do. That is why they are so popular. Nonetheless, they carry the bad rap of being the lowest quality coffee available at coffee shops. Here is how you can fix that.
Most coffee shops advertise selling freshly brewed black coffee. Have you ever wondered what happens with the coffee that they don’t sell fast enough for it to remain “freshly brewed”? Well, they let it cool and pour it over ice, then add milk, a few pumps of flavored syrup, and voilà! That is your standard coffee shop iced coffee.
Temperature and freshness are key aspects of coffee brewing and quality. That is why letting it sit and cool is a fairly common practice but one always frowned upon by coffee connoisseurs who would toss it out if it has been sitting around for longer than it should. There’s even some urban legends about coffee upsetting your stomach and causing different sorts of discomforts if you drink it past its freshness period.
What can you do about this? I don’t mean to discourage what may be your favorite drink and let’s not forget that it remains popular for a reason, but I’ll share some tips on how to have a good quality iced coffee at home and at coffee shops.
At Coffee Shops,
Option number one is to simply order an espresso in a cup with ice. It may sound like an odd order, but if this is one of those coffee shops that have a milk and sugar station on site, you can add them to your cup with iced-espresso and you’ll be all set. Espressos are always made freshly and good lattes are based on espressos, so this is how it should be done anyway. This is also an economical option as you are only paying for a shot of espresso and that is usually cheaper than the lattes.
Option number two. Order a cold brew. The difference between iced coffee and cold brews is that the coffee used in cold brew is never heated and the lack of change of temperatures and sitting time makes a huuuuuuuuge difference. The acidic levels are different from hot coffee and there’s a natural sweetness to it that is lost when coffee is brewed hot and let to cool.
They say that good coffee can be drunk without milk and sugar and cold brew proves this. Most coffee shops sell it black, but you can always add milk and sugar to make it a sort of latte. I say “sort” because if we want to get technical, you can’t call it latte unless it’s based on espresso.
You can always still start with the espresso and pour some milk. Simple. If you don’t have an espresso machine available, a percolator works great and is usually easier to operate, and if you’d like to try an even simpler route, look for instant coffee. There are espresso based instant coffees out there which would be ideal for this. Mix the coffee and milk, maybe add sugar and/or flavors and enjoy.
Cold brews can also be easily made at home. I like to do it with a French Press and any ground coffee works. I highly encourage you to try it with your usual grounds because it will bring out a whole new set of flavors even from the coffee you are used to drinking.
Start by placing the ground coffee in the French Press, add cold water, and let it sit overnight. Let it steep for something between 12 and 18 hours. Pour the coffee out leaving the ground behind and enjoy!
Another great and simple option is the Greek Frappe!
Greek coffee snobs perfected the summer drink and it is very easy and simple to make. Add instant coffee and cold water on a shaker and shake it until a foam is created. You can use a cocktail shaker, an electric mixer, or a blender. Take into account that you are not just mixing the coffee and the water together, but you are creating a thick foam. Once it is done, you can add ice, milk, and sugar. That is it!
I hope you level up your iced coffee experience one way or another this summer and you can start enjoying iced coffees like never before.