Cold coffee. I don’t mean like you let it sit for too long and you come back to a luke-warm brown (I won’t lie though, sometimes taking a sip once it’s cooled…well a lot can bring a whole new flavour). But purposefully cold. It’s a beautiful thing, really, but only if that’s your thing! It’s my thing that’s for sure, so I’m going to go right ahead and talk about it, because it’s summer, and it’s hot, and there’s just something about it that’s so tasty about these fairly similar yet very different drinks.
Simply put, it’s hot coffee made in whatever method you choose that is then cooled and poured over ice. Easy, yet not the most optimal and here’s why.
Iced Coffee is made one of a few ways, either left out and poured over ice, or brewed and then refrigerated or set in a cooler. While it get’s the job done, it lets the coffee oxidize and loses a lot of its flavour or makes it taste rather bitter (or whatever Calgary’s hard water flavour comes out to be).
However, you can in-fact make a pretty good iced coffee with just a little more time with something called the Japanese Method. It takes a little more coffee to water and slower of a process so that the coffee doesn’t become diluted. What you do end up with is something delicious, crisp, and refreshing!
Also called cold water extraction. The obvious difference between this and iced coffee is the price. Cold brew is a tad on the pricer side in cafés anyway, but the process explains why.
Not only do you get a fuller flavour and taste to cold brew, but it’s brewed…well cold. Rather than using hot water and slowly chilling the coffee, cold or room temperature water is used and the coffee never actually comes into contact with hot water. While it may take some planning ahead, it’s super easy and gives a smooth and rich flavour with low acidity when it’s done while also capable of being stored longer for larger batches. Interested in making your own? You can get away with a lot more for a lot less and it’s wildly easy! Check out DHC’s Mason Jar Cold Brew. We recently came back to the recipe for a camping trip where it was prepped the night before and just hung out in the cooler while travelling to the campsite, and ready to go the next day after some lake swimming and rock climbing on a super hot summer day. Nothing better!
Nitro Cold Brew
If you’re looking for a very Guinness-like feel and very rich taste, Nitro Cold Brew is the next step up. Full of flavour and texture, it’s made the same way as cold brew, but is then served through a keg which infuses nitrogen. Typically served ‘on tap’, Nitro Cold Brew offers a creamy texture and a hint of sweetness, definitely on the more expensive side as it takes some added time and equipment to prepare, but it’s definitely a treat! Nitro Cold Brew can also be about 30% higher in caffeine since it requires more grounds in the process, so be wary with this powerful kick of a drink!
Say what you will, but this is by far my favourite go-to. Just ice, filtered water, and a double shot of espresso, this rich and refreshing treat is the perfect kick on a toasty day. It does require an espresso machine, and can be a bit finicky as we’re back to the hot extracted espresso over cold water. There’s a risk in bitterness depending on the roast, but it’s totally possible to get the brighter top notes of that roast in an iced Americano whether that be something like hazelnut, amaretto, grapefruit, or rose. All susceptible to a bit of bitterness, and maybe not as clean and clear as cold brew, but delicious!
The common theme with these iced drinks is they’re all relatively easy and have similar components (coffee and water), so this one doesn’t quite fit the category, but the ease and reward is almost unbeatable.
Firstly, Affogato is Italian for ‘drowned’. Italian coffee culture is neat in a way where coffee to go is pretty rare, where standing to enjoy the espresso at the counter and chat with the barista or a comrade is much more of a typical experience. Affogato is gelato (or ice-cream) ‘drowned’ in a fresh and hot double shot of espresso. That’s it! The balanced and strong espresso plays really well with the sweetness of (especially vanilla) gelato. It’s not exclusive though! You can get wild with the flavour combinations and even include alternatives such as coconut milk based ice-creams which is a whole treat in itself.