With summer fast approaching and the long range forecast promising some sunshine for a change, it seems like a good time to talk about cold drinks. Although coffee is enjoying such a boom in popularity that sales have tended not to dip too much over the warmer months, it is still wise to think about maximising profits by offering something cool and refreshing alongside your normal espresso based offerings.
While there is nothing wrong with the tried and tested Frappes and Smoothies, it doesn’t hurt to be a bit adventurous with your drinking choices every now and again and the summer time, with it scorching hot days and warm, light evenings, is the perfect time to do so. Take a look at the five drinks that are a ‘must try’:
Italian for “drowned”, this is a simple and traditional way of giving sweet lift on a summer’s day. Just “drown” a scoop or two of high quality ice-cream (or gelato if we are being particular) with a single or double espresso poured over the top. Classicists would opt for vanilla, or pistachio at a push, but there is no reason why you can’t try something like chocolate or hazelnut.
Just starting to gain a foothold in more forward thinking coffee scenes, cold brew is a new take on iced coffee. People have long realised that when coffee cools, it tastes very different and sometimes develops unwelcome taste characteristics. Rather than just resort to sweetening to mask these bitter flavours, coffee can be brewed with cold or even iced water to make a concentrate that is bursting with fruity sweetness and refreshing acidity. Using brewers like the Toddy, a very slow brew process allows the cold water to gently extract the desired flavours. Normally drunk black over ice, this is a great way of enjoying fine single origins when it’s too hot for drip filter or Americano. It can even be bought bottled and ready to drink from a number of independent producers.
This is a kind of tisane brewed using the dried fruit of the coffee cherry. Normally discarded during processing, this wonderful product is just becoming easily available and is a real must-try for any coffee fan. Bursting with a range of exotic fruit flavours, the cascara is made in a teapot like any other tea and then drunk hot or cold. When brewed strong, it can be made into iced tea or topped up with soda for a superbly thirst-quenching summer cooler. While its an acquired taste, you may surprise yourself when you give it a try. Go for it!
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Perfect for those with a sweet tooth, this moreish treat is then sweetened with generous quantities of condensed milk and served over ice. While the calorie list may not be something you should take a look at, everyone deserves to treat themselves once in a while and very few drinks will come close on a hot summers day.
This may not be a coffee but it deserves a mention on the grounds that it is so rarely produced properly so people rarely receive the great taste. Real iced tea brewed with quality loose fruit or black tea and then lightly sweetened is refreshing and full of flavour. Having very little to do with the sickly commercial offerings, a proper ice tea would set any café apart and can be easily made in bulk and then served to order. Black lemon and peach tea are popular, but try a loose leaf green such as bancha or sencha brewed with fresh mint for a refreshing alternative.