by Jeanette Kierstead
As the weather begins to cool off and the snowflakes start to fall, more people are getting ready to cozy up with a nice hot & fresh cup of coffee. At the same time, there are still those who are walking up to the counter and nonchalantly ordering a nice cup of… cold brew?!
Yes, why I heard someone do that very thing just the other day at my local coffee shop and the weather outside was freezing. It made me stop and wonder, what the heck was that person thinking? Is buying iced coffee in the winter a thing? Like, people actually do it? …and for the love of God, why?!
After doing some digging, I found out that there is a general trend towards more coffee fanatics purchasing more iced coffee beverages, and not even the cold winter weather can stop them, apparently. Call it the "Big Chill"…iced coffee purchases are on the rise, folks!
If you haven't heard of the National Coffee Association, or N.C.A., they are the authority on all things coffee, and they study the trends like its their business (it is, actually). Well, according to the National Coffee Association, there was a big leap of about 29% in the percentage of Americans who consume iced coffee drinks between 2003 and 2004, and although that may have been the most dramatic jump for whatever reason that year, there has been a slow upswing ever since.
The next day - I'm at my favorite coffee shop, and an woman of about 35 is in front of me in line and orders an iced coffee to go, straight up! The weather since yesterday had gotten even colder, and this lady was wearing a toque and mittens. I was starting to think there was some sort of conspiracy going on here. The lady smiled at me as she walked past…not sure why, probably just because she sensed my befuddlement.
So there I was once again, back on the laptop and looking up reasons that people drink cold coffee even in cold weather. I felt like a crazy lady…and my four cats didn't help. <sigh> My boyfriend says that soon I will be changing my official title from "crazy cat lady" to "crazy coffee lady". Great. Lol!
Anyways, one little factoid that I unearthed is that when people "discovered" mocha lattes and cappuccinos, as in, their popularity started exploding all around the country and around the world, people also learned that these drinks tasted pretty damn good cold. "So its about taste…" I reckoned. That's when it occurred to me that I'd always seen people drinking pop in the winter, and I never thought twice about that, and pop is usually cold, right? People drink water all year long, and no one heats up water before they drink it. Maybe coffee just tastes better cold to some people? Could it be that its even more refreshing that way? My gears were turning…
And then I read what might be the scientific answer to all of this, which is simply that some people have higher core temperatures than others. Finally, something that made actual sense! In fact, I can think of a couple of friends who hate the winter because they don't like all that layering. Unless they're out in a blizzard, they're sweating their t*ts off. I can just see them now. And come to think of it, at least one of them I seem to recall ordering a cold coffee the last time we hung out. Hm, interesting…
In terms of preparation, iced coffee is just as easy to make as its counterpart, iced tea. The thing about coffee is that you have more options, in the form of things like adding milk, flavored syrups, spices, chocolate, which gives you the power to make (or have someone make for you) your own personalized coffee-based drinks that are just as yummy hot or cold.
Drinks like the iced vanilla mocha, iced latte, or iced rum coffee are quick and easy to throw together at home.
Being a little bit adventurous myself, I decided maybe I should jump on the cold coffee train for a while and see how it goes. That's when I became, just last week, a bit of a mad scientist in my kitchen, trying out different cold coffee recipes. You know, throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck. I'm not chef, but it was a fun week of trying new things.
Well, when the proverbial smoke cleared, or, in my case, my little blade grinder stopped working after I overloaded it with cinnamon sticks and it choked (my fault, not the grinder), I came to some conclusions I want to share with you about making cold coffee drink at home.
Here are 6 little tips for making these very refreshing iced coffee beverages. You can of course take 'em or leave 'em, but when I jotted them down in my notebook last week they seemed like revelations. In any case, making these drinks at home should save you a bit of money, since you won't be buying $6 drinks at the coffee shop:
1. Pour your coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze it overnight. The next day you can take it out the next day and put it in a blender along with sugar, milk, and maybe some chocolate syrup to get yourself a very tasty mocha beverage. If you blend it to exactly the right consistency, you will find that you've created something very special. If you're like me, you'll have to toy with the consistency a little. It took me 4 days to get it right.
2. Put some whipped cream on top if you want to impress guests. Actually, if you manage to get the consistency perfect and you can do it on command, that's when you get some friends over and have them try it. At this point, adding whipped cream is a great way to set it off and dazzle folks. Your drink suddenly becomes a work of art, especially if you drizzle a nice pattern of syrup on top.
3. Use a nice glass. To some, this would be a no-brainer, but for me I wasn't even thinking about that part until it occurred to me that presentation is a big deal to some people.
Once again, this little detail is not only to impress the guests, but it can make you feel like you're drinking some exquisite drink, because really, that's true! Now when I make these cold coffee drinks I absolutely have to use a special glass. Its part of the ritual.
4. Fresh brewed coffee. Oh yes, this does make a difference my friends. That's where having a good grinder really comes into play, and this website is all about that so you might want to take a look over here at the burr grinders if you want to go all out, or you can save money and go with a blade grinder as I did, which you can look at over here in the blade grinder section.
Once you grind your beans, the sooner you brew up some espresso or coffee with them, the better your drink will taste. If you buy a few different beans, and grind a few different ways, you're going to really feel like a total expert there, sitting and sipping your drink to detect those nuances. I'm not even kidding, you should seriously try this!
5. Good espresso / coffee machine. Maybe you already have a good one, and that's great, but you definitely need some way to brew your coffee if you're doing this at home. Of course, you may not want to splurge and get a fancy electric coffee maker just so you can try this, but you don't have to. There are different ways to go about brewing fresh coffee, but just in case you're already on the market for a good coffee or espresso machine, you can check out the top espresso machines by clicking here.
Or you can use a simple Chemex, which is really fun as well. Just remember that we're talking cold drinks here so you're either have to go the iced cube route, or you can do something wild and crazy like figuring out a way to cool your coffee off ASAP, and there are many ways to do that as well.
6. Have fun and get creative! Yeah, I'm actually putting this down as a tip. By this I just mean don't forget to try crazy things, like using nutmeg (insane), cinnamon, chocolate shaving, or any number of ingredients. Sure, you might ruin a cup or two when you put in something that does go with it, but this is your chance to really personalize your cold coffee drink!
Thanks for reading everyone, and enjoy your cold coffee drink on a cold winter's day!
About Jeanette Kierstead
Jeanette has been testing and reviewing kitchen appliances for over six years now, so she knows her stuff when it comes to finding the best ones. In her spare time, she loves nothing more than baking cakes and cookies – especially if she can do so with one of her favorite stand mixers! When she's not in the kitchen, Jeanette is usually looking after everything homes-related; from garden tools to smart home products.