5 Alternative Summer Coffee Drink Ideas
5 Summer Coffee Menu Alternatives to Frappes and Smoothies
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.
However, rather than bang on about frappes and smoothies which, lets be honest, are as much a part of most cafe menus as cappuccino or americano, I thought I would take the time to explore some of the more unusual ways of cooling off whilst getting your caffeine fix, with my top 5 alternative summer coffee drink ideas .
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. I have even enjoyed a tart blackcurrant sorbet with a light roasted and fruity African espresso for a lighter twist on this Italian favourite.
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. My current favourite is a Bolivian from Has Bean which displays complex rosehip and sour cherry notes. I must admit that it didn’t appeal to everyone who has tasted it (my wife said it tasted of feet) but in my opinion it is far too interesting and tasty not to give it try.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Though not someone with a sweet tooth where coffee is concerned, I became mildly addicted to these while visiting Thailand a few years ago. Using a base of freshly brewed and super strong filter coffee (though a double or triple espresso would do), this moreish treat is then sweetened with generous quantities of condensed milk and served over ice. I dread to think how many calories this has but when it’s too hot to eat (and you’ve had one two many Singha’s) there isn’t anything else I would want on a hot summer’s day.
Ok, clearly not a coffee, but it deserves a mention on the grounds that it is so rarely done properly. 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.
So there we have it, 5 refreshing alternatives to smoothies and frappes, ideal for the hotter days. Bookmark our blog for upcoming ‘how to’s’ and leave a comment below with your summertime drink ideas.
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