“Hot or iced?” Your barista probably reserves this query for summer, but you are glad he asked.
In the unpredictable weather of a New England spring I often forget to ask to have my drink iced until it is too late. But when real summer heat hits, as it has early in NYC this year, an icy beverage is one thing you can’t stop craving.
The Cure for What Ails You
There are a lot of ways to combat an oppressively hot summer. Air conditioning is definitely one of them (and probably the most effective).
Unfortunately, that isn’t always an option. Whether you just don’t have a unit in your place, work in an antiquated office building, or are trying to be green and save electricity, you can still keep cool from the inside out.
Chilled soda, ice water, and fruit beverages all come in handy. But I think you need something with some actual heft to cool you down. Watery drinks always leave me wanting more. Cold soups can help, but a few sips of a milky iced latte always works wonders.
Faster than You Think
A lot of great summer drinks are pretty time consuming: iced tea, cold brewed coffee. But who has time to wait twelve hours for their cooling caffeinated beverage? Even smoothies require the added inconvenience of washing the blender.
Sure, you can get all of the above at Starbucks for no inconvenience on your part besides standing in line, but have you noticed that they actually charge you 40 cents extra for ice??
This Italian version of iced coffee, caffe shakerato, uses the ultimate cheater method: the freezer. Not in that blended ice, frappaccino way. Real ice and actually putting your hot espresso in the freezer.
Is that a Good Idea?
I’m not 100% sure. I have not been able to find any studies on the negative side effects of freezing brewed espresso for a few minutes (but if you see any, please let me know). So it seems okay.
All I know is it does the trick. The espresso cools down enough to make a refreshing iced drink and the ice cubes don’t melt immediately upon contact.
Iced Coffee – Caffè Shakerato – Recipe
Prep time: 5 mins
- quality espresso
- whole milk (local dairy if you can)*
- Brew your espresso extra strong with your maker of choice. One shot in a mini maker only takes a minute to brew.**
- Once the espresso is ready, pour it into a glass (for quicker cooling) and stick it in the freezer.
- Add 4-5 ice cubes to a glass or mug.
- Top with an inch-worth of milk (about a third to a half cup).
- Pour the espresso on top and add two teaspoons of sugar.
- Quickly stir in the sugar. The mixture doesn’t need to be completely mixed; it’s prettier that way.
Note*: Please don’t substitute; the milk fat level is essential to the taste.
Note**: If you don’t have a countertop espresso machine, you can easily and cheaply get a stovetop version. It’s how the italians do it at home.
Nice piece, Gabi. I love the photos! I’m currently reading this as I wake up at 7AM and *wish* I had some whole milk in the fridge so I could whip up this treat.
p.s. Thank you for the pingback 🙂
Hi Gabi! I do love me some iced coffee, and tried the NYTimes cold brew method for a warm-weather brunch… with mixed results.
When it’s just us at home, we usually brew some good strong espresso in the moka, and pour it in a bowl that is sitting in some ice for about 10 minutes. We try not to stir so as not to aerate it too much, which can cause bitterness. Then pouring it over a tall glass full of ice and adding some cold half-and-half… well, it really works wonders.
I’m not entirely sure I’d trust the in-the-freezer method… it’s certain to make your freezer work extra hard, and may actually partially thaw other stuff in the freezer — especially if it is a full. Seems too risky a method for hom use.
That is one of the prettiest photos of iced coffee I have ever seen!
I like to fill up an ice cube tray with coffee and use those cubes in my iced coffee – that way as the cubes melt they don’t dilute my drink.