Summertime is coming to a close (tear), but there’s still some sunshine to soak up this holiday weekend before the fall chill sets in. So what better way to cool off while barbecuing and boating than with some refreshing and tasty iced coffee.
I have to write a disclaimer here. Not only am I lactose intolerant, but I also can’t handle caffeine very well. My hands get shaky, my head starts to pound, and my stomach starts turning more somersaults than a Cirque Du Soleil show whenever I have even a few sips of caffeinated drinks. Any drinks. Soda, tea, coffee, espresso – it doesn’t matter. I even have to monitor the amount of decaf that goes into my body.
But I love coffee. So much. I adore the rich creamy taste, the dark earthy aromas, the bubbly sound of it brewing in the morning, and the warmth of a mug in my hand. I might as well be in a Folgers commercial when I have coffee in the morning. I clutch my mug with two hands while I shrug my shoulders and take a deep, drawn out breath of it’s aromas with eyes closed and a silly grin on my face while the morning sun streams in through the kitchen window and a sweeping orchestra plays in the background.
Vietnam was my downfall. While Jeff and I were backpacking in Southeast Aisa last year, we ended up in Saigon. Saigon is also known as the iced-coffee-that-will-kick-you-in-the-teeth-and-have-you-begging-for-more capital of the world. So when we came home to San Diego, we were addicted to Vietnamese iced coffee even though it would lay me out with lactose pains and caffeine headaches for hours. So I thought it would be so fun to feature iced coffee here on the bloggy-blog, and we’re doing it three ways. Oh yeah.
1. Sweetened Iced Coffee w/Simple Syrup
2. Dairy-Free Iced Coffee w/Coconut Milk
3. Vietnamese Iced Coffee w/Sweetened Condensed Milk
First, you’ll need to brew your iced coffee. Now please – pretty, pretty please – do NOT brew a regular batch of coffee and pour it piping hot over ice. You will have nothing but lukewarm, watered down coffee. Blech.
In order to brew true iced coffee, you will need to make a double-strength brew. How do you do that? You know how you’re supposed to use 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee per every six ounces of water? You didn’t? Well now you do. So if that’s normal strength, then you would need to use 1-2 tablespoons of coffee for every 3 ounces of water. Basically make your pot of coffee twice as strong as you would for a normal batch.
Once the coffee is brewed, you need to let the coffee cool, so pour the coffee into a pitcher and let it refrigerate until chilled. That’s the thing about iced coffee, it isn’t instant, so plan ahead and make a big batch a few hours before you actually need it. Also, be careful not to place piping hot coffee in a glass pitcher into the fridge immediately. The intense temperature change could crack the glass. We like to use plastic pitchers and then transfer to a glass one once the coffee is cold and we’re ready to serve.
Once you’re double-strength coffee is chilled, you can serve it over ice. The ice will slowly melt and make the coffee regular strength. But we actually like to use our cocktail shaker. It’s great way to mix in flavor elements and chill the coffee without having tons of ice cubes melt in the coffee and water it down.
1. Sweetened Iced Coffe w/Simple Syrup: Use simple syrup instead of straight sugar to sweeten – it mixes in a lot easier. To make simple syrup, just bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to boil in a saucepan on the stove over high heat. Cook and stir until the sugar completely dissolves and the liquid becomes clear.
2. Dairy-Free Iced Coffee w/Coconut Milk: We had never tried this option before, but it sounded like a fun idea. Jeff couldn’t find coconut milk at the store, so he bought some cream of coconut, a much thicker option. If you love coconut, this drink was TASTY. But I actually don’t like coconut that much, so I wasn’t a fan. Oh well. Back to my lactose pains.
3. Vietnamese Iced Coffee w/Sweetened Condensed Milk: My favorite (and worst for me) option. Shake it up with some sweetened condensed milk. This is the yummiest drink ever, and you’ll have folks coming back for more.
If it’s a hot day, we like to use large square ice cubes that melt slowly. It’s a better way to keep your coffee chilled without watering it down as fast.
There you have it folks. Basic iced coffee – three ways. Experiment and have fun with as many flavor combinations as you can muster. I’d love hear the different drinks you come up with!