In our pre-COVID world, I used to love going to a coffee shop and ordering a latte, or an iced coffee or any of the other fancy drinks on the menu. I used to find it so satisfying waiting and watching as the barista precisely measures and grinds the beans… sets up the timer, and then places that drink on the counter. And then finally when that cup is placed on the counter in front of me, and I would try to shimmy it to just the right part of the counter to get the perfect photo.
That used to be such fun thing to do! But now you don’t really get to do that any more. It’s mostly take away cups with the cover, and we try to get away from the crowds as quickly as we can. It’s so easy to have taken that cafe experience for granted… having your coffee prepared in a way that gives you the caffeine kick, looks exciting and most importantly tastes good.
Iced coffee has always been one of those drinks I used love getting on hot afternoon at a café. It's a perfect caffeine injection on a sunny summer afternoon. It used to feel like the greatest luxury on earth when the barista presented a cup of iced coffee on the counter, and I felt my fingers slide on the condensation on the cup before they retain their grip. Nothing beats that first chill as the liquid meets my throat... and then that involuntary tension release after the first sip. It's the opposite of the warm winter afternoon coffee. I miss that!
Of course, it doesn’t have to end there… You can recreate some of that at home. Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy and serve coffee at home in a way that reminds you of just a bit of the normality we were used to in our pre-Covid world?
Here's how to make a really easy iced coffee. This one is deceptively easy to make, and it’s a perfect coffee thirst quencher on a hot summer afternoon.
The first thing to know about iced coffee is that it’s different from cold brew… Cold brew is made with cold water where the coffee is allowed to extract in cold water over for a few hours. We made some cold brew in a previous blog post (click here to take a look), but for now we’re doing iced coffee where we’re going to brew a hot shot of coffee and then use ice to chill it.
Traditionally, the barista at your cafe would use a shot of espresso to make this, so f you have an espresso machine at home, then you can pull a either a single or double shot of espresso and use that.
But we’re going to be doing this without an espresso machine. The key thing about this drink is to have a solid espresso like base.
We’re going to use a plunger for that. I know you’re not going to get that great looking crema that comes with an espresso, but this is a pretty good alternative.
I like using the Tanzanian Tango in this recipe… It’s a medium roast and makes a great espresso, especially for milk based drinks. The mild chocolate and nutty aftertaste is great works really well for an iced coffee. But you can use any coffee you like… the important thing is that it’s freshly roasted and ground coarsely for the plunger.
We’re going to use 15g of coffee for 125g water because we want it really, really stong… almost espresso like. I know it seems insane to want to measure this with a scale… so if you don’t have a scale, here’s a rough guide: Six teaspoons of coffee to half a cup of water should just about do it. But if you do happen to have a scale, use it - takes the guesswork out of it.
That should give you a single drink, so multiply that if you’re making more. Give it a mix and leave this to steep for 4 minutes. This is going to quite a bit thicker and stronger than your usual plunger coffee, but it does get diluted at the end with the ice.
While we’re waiting, we get some ice and a glass ready. A short glass works best here. Apart from looking cool, you also want as much of the ice to come into contact with the hot coffee, cooling it down quickly. Pour in some cold milk over the ice…
After the 4 minutes are up, it's time to slowly plunge the coffee. You don’t want to be too aggressive with this or you end up with coffee grounds coming up into your drink.
Pour it over the ice and milk immediately and you’re ready to serve it up!
It’s great on it’s own, but if you have some syrup - Hazelnut or Caramel works really well to sweeten. I like it just without the sugar, but you can experiment a bit with different flavours. Try sweetening with honey or molasses to add another level of flavour.
Give it a try and let us know in the comments below how it turned out. Post your creations on Instagram and tag us... We'd love to see what you came up with.