Coffee Craze #5: Cold Espresso Bar 101

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by Leah Voskuil, Lifestyle Editorial Assistant

Even when it is -40 degrees outside, people want iced coffee. As a human, I will never understand. As a barista, I am grateful that I can stop steaming milk for a minute or two. That being said, here is your guide to all things icy.

Iced Latte

An iced latte is espresso and cold milk over ice. As with nearly all drinks, the amount of espresso depends on the physical size of the cup and the shop that makes it. For example, some coffee houses put one shot of espresso in a 12 ounce drink, whereas others put three. Take note to be sure you get the most bang for your buck.

An iced mocha is the same thing as an iced latte but with chocolate syrup mixed with the espresso.

Syrup can be put in anything (for all you iced vanilla latte lovers). As I mentioned last week, an iced Starbucks macchiato is an iced latte with caramel drizzled on top. If I am not mistaken, it is actually cheaper to order your drink that way rather than under the formal name that Starbucks provides, but that is neither here nor there.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is exactly what it sounds like. The barista fills the container 90 percent full of ice, grinds a full portion of coffee grounds and sets the machine to brew half a pot. This creates a sort of coffee concentrate to then melt the ice and create a chilled product to be served over more ice. The deeper you dive into the coffee world, the more prominent the discussion of iced coffee’s quality compared to cold brew. This is a discussion that deserves a post of its own, so I digress.

Iced Americano

An iced americano is espresso with water and ice. That is right, it is the same thing as iced coffee.

Iced Triple Lindy/Iced Red Eye

This drink is iced coffee with a double shot of espresso on top. Yes, it hurts.

Iced Chai

Same as a hot chai drink, an iced chai is half milk and half concentrate or powder except this time, it is not steamed. If you are going to order an iced chai, I would recommend asking for an adjusted proportion. Most places will split the drink evenly between the two ingredients, but this time you have ice involved that dilutes the flavor. The more chai mix, the longer the drink lasts.

Iced Dirty Chai

An iced dirty chai is the same thing (with the same advice) but also espresso on top. Order this if you are in the market for a simultaneous sugar and caffeine rush.

As a general note on the combination of cold and espresso, the shock of ice does turn the espresso bitter if there is no buffer between the two degrees, namely milk. The order of iced drinks’ composition matters a great deal and can become tricky once the line gets long and the bar gets busy. This is a friendly reminder that your barista puts a lot of time, effort and consideration into your drink. As every catchy tip jar in Wisconsin says, “Tipping isn’t just for cows!”

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