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In praise of ice cubes - espresso that is


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It's been a rather cool summer here and I just recently got back into iced coffee drinks again. After getting a few iced lattes recently when traveling I quickly remembered why I like the ones I make at home so much better than what I buy in cafes (in their defense I should mention that one of our local establishments makes a good one using the same technique).

Make some extra espresso shots - three doubles should suffice - best to pull the shots into one small container like a little metal pouring pitcher. Depending on taste, put a bit of sugar in the bottom of the pitcher before pulling the shots.

Stir to blend the sugar (I use Turbinado sugar - the taste is so much richer than white sugar). add another couple ounces of water and stir again. You should have about 8 or ten ounces of liquid.

Pour in an ice cube tray and freeze. I make extras and keep them in ziploc bags in the freezer. This same process can be done with Moka pot coffee or extra strong drip coffee also.

The uses are multi-fold and they're all good :biggrin:

1) Use in place of regular ice cubes in an iced latte, iced cappuccino or iced coffee. As the ice melts, rather than diluting the flavor of the drink and making it progressively weaker, it remains rich and as strong as it was when originally mixed

2) Nice addition to a chocolate milkshake - the ice makes the shake a bit fluffier and less creamy than a traditional shake but with a nice rich coffee taste

3) Great for making your own cloned version of a Frappuccino at home - I think we have discussed home made blended iced coffee drinks here before but if not I'll start a new thread as this is a favorite topic of mine. Using espresso cubes eally kicks up the intensity of the espresso or coffee flavor. I've actually come to realize that to duplicate the commercial Frappuccino, extra strong coffee (e.g. brew some French Roast with half the usual amount of water) is more to my liking than espresso but the addition of the espresso cubes is just right.

4) It might be really cool in a mixed drink. I"m not a drinker and will leave that for someone else to ponder.

5) Uhhhhh.... increases the caffeine content of iced drinks (as if I need it :laugh: )

Tips for making a good iced latte or cappuccino - it would seem to be common sense but I have to give instructions to the people in most cafés - if I don't the result is usually a drink that gets watery too fast and has the sugar sitting undissolved in the bottom of the drink (if I use sugar, which is often necessary)

  • Add sugar or other sweetener to the hot espresso or coffee and stir to dissolve
  • Now add the milk and stir to cool the hot liquid
  • last step is to add the ice and if necessary, top off with a bit more milk

I consistently find cafés adding the hot espresso directly on top of the ice cubes, which hastens the melting process. Then they add the milk and now the sweetener (often needed because so many cafés have bitter espresso) won't dissolve properly in the cooled liquid.

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I consistently find cafés adding the hot espresso directly on top of the ice cubes, which hastens the melting process. Then they add the milk and now the sweetener (often needed because so many cafés have bitter espresso) won't dissolve properly in the cooled liquid.

The iced latte is one of the truely great drinks of the world. I'm enjoying one now at work, as it happens! I think ice geometry is as important to the iced latte as it is to mixed drinks. My theory on iced latte is that once you get the ice right, it's all in the timing. You can't pour boiling hot espresso onto ice and milk and just let it sit there! Have to spin immediately! I go nuts inside if somebody makes an iced latte for me, then lets it sit while they do something else. Do not multi-task the iced latte! I have major problems with flash-melting the ice when I make iced latte at home, even when I chill the espresso beforehand (Alright, for as long as my impatient, thirsty, coffeeless self will allow). This results in a thin, tepid ice-milk-water, that can be salvaged only by a restorative jigger of Kaluha Especial. Shops don't need to bother with that (The chilling nonsense, not the Kaluha. Unless.....). The only difference I can see is they have small ice, whereas I have the big semicircle freezer-machine ice.

Finally, additional sweetner or milk added after the fact is an insult to the spirit of the iced latte, and shall not be tolerated.

-- C.S.

Devoted Iced Latte Purist

Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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Then they add the milk and now the sweetener (often needed because so many cafés have bitter espresso) won't dissolve properly in the cooled  liquid.

Great thread.

I have a question to ask.

So you really don't have gum syrup in the United States?

In Japan, iced coffee comes with gum syrup

Gum syrup in small containers and in bottles:

http://www.esupply.co.jp/syohin.asp?sku=EE...054&bun_id1=753

http://www.nakahyo.co.jp/products/gum_syru..._syrup-main.htm

From online sources, I have learned that you don't have this kind of liquid sweetener in the States, and I want to confirm whether this is true.

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one word: shakerato. a friend brought this back from florence a couple of years ago. he said it was all the rage. i don't know if that's true, but it is my breakfast treat as soon as the weather warms up enough.

1 double espresso in a sealed container, about 1 teaspoon sugar, about 1/2 cup milk. 3 or 4 ice cubes. Put the top on and shake like crazy. it will foam and emulsify and take on a thin milkshake texture.

now i have to go make some espresso ice cubes to see how that works.

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From online sources, I have learned that you don't have this kind of liquid sweetener in the States, and I want to confirm whether this is true.

Ah, how I miss those! We have them here as "Sugar Shots", sold apparently in Starbucks (though I've never seen), and specialty food stores. You sometimes see sugar syrup served in little pitchers in really nice coffee shops and fine dining establishments (Or restaurants that take their coffee service very seriously). I don't think I've ever seen them in individual units like that in the US, just in the bottles. They come in regular and Turbanado!

Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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I used to work in a coffeehouse, (the 61C for any Pittsburghers out there) and we made simple syrup for iced drinks. It's so easy to do and makes the drink so much better, I don't know why more places don't do it.

The main problem I see in iced espresso drinks is too little ice and too much milk. I don't want vaguely flavored milk, I want an iced latte! Argh!

"An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate."

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The prepackaged liquid sugar / simple syrup products are just becoming available in the US (or perhaps they have been but haven't been widely distributed). I have yet to see any available in Starubucks or in independent cafes.

There was some discussion about this on the Wet Sugar thread

Regrettably, it will probably be slow to apear in the US market unless there's a demand driven by consumersa. I should think it will happen eventually but it takes a big chain liek Starbucks to drive the market. Once they started offering Turbinado sugar most of the independents and a few other chains followed suit.

I forgot to mention one other huge beneift of making blended and iced drinks at home: the opportunity to adjust sugar and fat content levels to your own needs. I love Frappuccino's but the fat and caloric content is over the top. I can make a drink at home with 1% milkl or even a mix of 1% and non-fat and achieve close to the same creaminess with all the flavor and about 1/4 the sugar content.

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Lately I have been making "frappucino" whizzed up coffee drinks that contain the makings of Vietnamese style coffee.

Make a cold drip of COmmunity Dark Roast and Chicory ( New Orleans Blend). THis is the coffee that you see in virtually all Vietnamese restaurants here in New Orleans.

6 oz. Cold Drip Concentrate

3 tbls. Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup of ice

Whizz in blender until smooth.

Enjoy

i5274.jpg

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Argh. Cart Coffee Guy needs to lay off the skim milk. Been using it so long, at least three weeks, that I'm wondering if he abandoned whole milk alltogether. Skim milk has no place in anything, let alone a latte. Maybe a little quid pro quo regarding his asking for advice re: faxing stuff from Windows is in order. I'm going to the break room for some half and half...

Mayhaw Man:I've been curious about that cold drip concentrate system. Is it really that good? Definately interested in its application to iced coffee beverages, specifically the latte and Vietnamese-style drinks.

Phaelon56: Just over the top?? Some of those things are worse for you than a Big Mac (Ok, I can't find that link, but I'll try and get it from my boss and edit it in)! Much tastier, though...granted about 80 calories are from the whipped cream, but still!

--C.S.

Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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Mayhaw Man:I've been curious about that cold drip concentrate system. Is it really that good? Definately interested in its application to iced coffee beverages, specifically the latte and Vietnamese-style drinks.

It's good for some things, like iced coffee, baking and ice creams, and many people here have long enjoyed it as "americano" type coffee by adding hot water to dilute. The stuff keeps for about a hundred years in an air tight container in the ice box and goes a long way as the concentrate is really strong (1 lb. coffee yields 2 qts. concentrate, app.).

It has long been popular here as New Orleans is a coffee town (I believe that we process more coffee here than anywhere else in the country and we have long been one of th worlds largest coffee ports) and this is a quick way to make a strong cup (we like it dark and rich). In fact, there is commercial cold drip available here in the grocery.

The New Orleans Coffee Company has been producing cold drip concentrate for a very long time. It comes in these really convenient squeeze bottles that measure out the precise amount needed for a fine cup of concentrate or a great iced coffee drink. I never buy it, as I always have my own brew in the fidge, but this is a really good product, in a particularly handy package.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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The New Orleans Coffee Company has been producing cold drip concentrate for a very long time. It comes in these really convenient squeeze bottles that measure out the precise amount needed for a fine cup of concentrate or a great iced coffee drink.

Wow, now that is nice! Half gallon of French Roast is on the way!

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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The Starbucks web site offers the follwing info for a Venti sized Coffee Frappuccino. It gets worse if you have mocha, caramel flavoring or one of the other extras. Then there's the whipped cream (in the immortal words of Heavy D the Overweight Lover.... "you can't have ice cream without whipped cream" :laugh: )

Serving Size  24 fl. oz.

- Amt Per Serving 

Calories   350 

Fat Calories   40 

Total Fat (g)   4.5 

Saturated Fat (g)   3 

Cholesterol (mg)   20 

Sodium (mg)   330 

Total Carbohydrates (g)   69 

Fiber (g)   0 

Sugars (g)   58 

Protein (g)   7 

Vitamin A   0% 

Vitamin C   0% 

Calcium   25% 

Iron   0%

Yes it's bad. Making it at home I'll wager that I can easily cut the fat content in half (or better) and decrease the sugar by 75%.... all that and still have a better tasting drink that is almost as creamy and doesn't have artificial stabilizers etc.

Argh. Cart Coffee Guy needs to lay off the skim milk. Been using it so long, at least three weeks, that I'm wondering if he abandoned whole milk alltogether. Skim milk has no place in anything, let alone a latte.

I'm with ya on that Chef S. As an avowed espresso fiend and middle aged guy who's always trying to balance intake so I can still enjoy what I like, I've been know to do thigns like make my own half-caf espresso blends and work with lower fat milk for capuccino's or lattes. Try as I might to get consistently good and lasting microfoam with 1% milk I've settled on 2% as the lowest fat content that will work well. I can happily eat breakfast cereal with non-fat milk any day of the week with non-fat milk but as for adding it to coffee or espresso? It's about as effective as pouring in a mixture of talcum powder and water (I'll have to try that sometime - it might be better than non-fat milk :raz: )

I have discovered, however, that 1% makes a passable iced latte, especially if espresso cubes are used so that the drink doesn't become too watery as the ice melts. When I venture into a cafe that has only non-fat and whole milk, I usually order one with non-fat milk and then add half 'n half to tatse until it gets the body I"m looking for.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright! My Coldbrew concentrate has arrived. Problem is the half gallon jug isn't equipped with the ACT Mouthwash-style squeeze portioner that the smaller ones seem to be. What's the general ratio? The bottle says an ounce to a 'glass' of water or milk. They've got a website but it's not loading.

Phaelon56: The 'pathological case' with the Frappuccino is the Venti Java Chip with whipped cream. It's up there at 650 calories with, or 510 calories without whipped cream.

-- C.S.

Update: Website works now...problem was mine, courtesy of a roommate. This stuff is good! Where has it been all my life??

Edited by Chef Shogun (log)

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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The 'pathological case' with the Frappuccino is the Venti Java Chip with whipped cream. It's up there at 650 calories with, or 510 calories without whipped cream.

Wow. That's disgusting. I think one of those coupel with a "bloomin onion" would easily far exceed the daily fat and calorie intake levels suggested for a grown man.

I think I need to get on the bandwagon with some cold coffee experimentation. I'm making espresso shots daily for my morning iced latte but the whole process (grinding, tamping and pulling two doubles followed by cleanup and a quick machine backflush) takes at least ten minutes - some days that's more time than I can allot.

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Here's a question...all summer long I have wanted to make some coffee granite (which if the coffee houses sold I would buy in bulk!).

I can never find the time to focus on it because of the timing that is needed...the watching and chopping up of the coffee-in-freezing-process at 'just the right time'...because my children are running through the house with their friends and my thoughts get scattered.

I wonder if it would work 'in reverse' so to speak. If you had these already-sweetened frozen coffee cubes, if just allowing them to sit at room temp for five or ten minutes, then processing them quickly in a blender...if that would create something that would be close to the texture of a granite.

Anyone ever tried it?

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Not exactly but I've seen something to this effect done in a cafe. The coffee/espresso granitas sold in the US typically have a dairy component (milk). I have seen cafes that use some extra strong coffee or espresso, add milk and then use the espresso ice cubes (or extra strong coffee ice cubes). This is mixed in a commercial iced drink blender such as a Vita-Mix or Blend-Tec (which is probably a Vita-Mix with a paint job!).

The best coffee granitas I have have ever had int he US were from real granita machiens. These are typically an Italian made mcahine that looks like a slushy machine but apparently works a bit differently. The folks I spoke to who deployed them said they consumed large amounts of electricity and were ver finicky, often needing repair. The relatively short season we have for blended ice drinks here in the Northeast and Midwest may be one of the reasons these machines are no longer widely used. I've tried frozen coffee drinks from US made machiens that look similar but the texture of the drink is different and noweher near as good.

The standard solution now seems ot be to add a powdered base mix to some espresso, add some ice and then blend on a per drink basis. Starbucks uses a liquid mix to add to the ice for their Frappuccino drinks but I'm advised that they simply premix a powdered base with milk or water to get the liquid mix.

The biggest problem with making these at home is stability - keeping the separate compenents (ice, milk and coffee) from separating. I've been experimenting with food grade carageenan (there is one specific variety of it that is compatible with cold liquids) as a stabilizer. It's a natural product derived from seaweed and I feel good about that aspect but it's very difficult to get the right ratio - too little and there's no effect.... too much and the drink gets too fluffy.

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