Summertime (Coffee) Brews

the best coffee in life is strong

There’s nothing I love more than a good, strong iced coffee. I’m one of those crazies who drinks iced coffee year round, no matter what the temperature is. It’s my favorite, favorite, favorite part of warm weather because fun versions of iced coffee come out to play.

Yes my friend, there are different types of iced coffee. Prepare to be wowed.

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First up is plain ol’ iced coffee. I take mine black with 1-2 pumps of vanilla usually, but if you’re not a black coffee person, add a splash of milk (pictured here). It’s best if you do it yourself so you can add how much you want or else you may end up with more milk than coffee (cough, cough Dunkin Donuts). Iced coffee is brewed hot, like regular coffee than chilled in the fridge until served. Nothing too special about it except its perfect on a hot day of exploring in the city. Also, let’s note how I’m wearing a winter jacket in this picture and still drinking iced coffee, I have no shame.

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This is the ever so creamy and smooth iced caramel macchiato. While the one pictured is from Starbucks (honestly, most of them are but don’t pigeon hole yourself), the best caramel macchiatos are from the little coffee shops. A macchiato is basically milk plus espresso. This one includes caramel syrup. I take mine with skim milk and an extra shot of espresso (not sorry). This is my go-to drink when I need an extra jolt or I’m feeling decadent (there’s a lot of sugar from the syrup). Be warned, this drink is stronger than typical brewed coffees or regular iced coffees. It’s also pretty because it’s served with the milk and espresso seperated (until mixed of course). Once I ordered it and the barista at Starbucks thought it was so pretty she took a picture and Instagram’d it.

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This is my dear friend cold brew. Praise whoever invented this form of brewing because it’s honestly life changing. I know what you’re thinking, it’s the same as regular iced coffee, what’s the big deal and more importantly, why does it cost $5? WELL, cold brew is brewed differently than iced coffee, hence the name. Instead of being hot brewed, aka hot water seeping into coffee grounds, coffee grounds and cold water are stirred together and seep overnight, garnishing a deeper, bolder flavor. The reason it costs more is because the coffee to water ratio is different than hot brew. You use more coffee to water ratio and it takes longer to prepare. Here you can see my cold brew concotion that I brewed. It’s a lot more work than just sticking ice cubes in your hot coffee, but the flavor packs a punch, seriously. You know how a shot of whiskey kicks the back of your throat? A gulp of cold brew kicks your heart into overdrive. Because of the increased ratio and the longer seeping time, the coffee itself is stronger and bolder than regular coffee. Not to say it isn’t good because trust me, it’s really good. Allow me to be technical for a moment. Cold brew coffee also allows you to taste the beans a lot more because of the extra brewing time, mmm so good.

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Starbucks just rolled out it’s new and improved cold brew with vanilla sweet cream. They describe their cold brew as “super smooth tasting coffee” and the “house-made vanilla sweet cream” adds a “sweeter, smoother finish.” First of all, I’d like to say that when I tried their cold brew when it was rolled out last year, I was not a fan at all. I guess I’m kind of a coffee snob and I was really turned off by the fact that they poured maybe a quarter of a cup of cold brew mixture and they filled the rest up with water. Excuse me Starbucks, that isn’t how cold brew works. The cold brew ended up tasting watered down, weak, and most of all, not smooth. I tried it once and never went back. When I heard of their new “improvement” I decided to give it another go. I’m not sure if they changed their recipe, but they are indeed still adding water, but the vanilla sweet cream cold brew actually tasted like cold brew. I got a grande (which I never, never do) just to taste it and I’d give it a 7.5/10. While it was much, much smoother than their original cold brew, it was only a bit stronger than their regular iced coffee (probably because they still add water). While I’m glad it’s tasting closer to cold brew, I’ll probably stick with my other coffee shops.

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Last but certainly not least is the nitro cold brew. Nitro cold brew is a crazy combination of nitrogen (liquid magic) and crafting that combines into sweet, creamy, foamy goodness. Nitro cold brew comes straight from the tap (how cool!) and is infused with nitrogen for an extra smooth finish and it looks a bit like a Guinness. The cold brew is pressurized with nitrogen gas and the forces create a creamy, stout-like effect. The best part about nitro cold brew is that (for all you black coffee lovers) it’s best served black with no milk, sugar, nothing. It doesn’t need it! Because of all the nitrogen infused magic, this concoction is naturally sweet and smooth and perfect just the way it is. Similar to cold brew, it’ll cost you a pretty penny, but honestly it’s worth it (for you coffee diehards). It’s served in small amounts so no venti or trenta nonsense. If you’re a serious coffee lover, you need to try this at one point this summer, just go to a specialty coffee shop!

You have reached the end of my ode to iced coffees, wasn’t it worth the read? I’ll never apologize for being a coffee snob because I know I’m not alone. Venture on out there and try one of these concotions, you never know how it may change your life, or your coffee palette.

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