Want to give coffee the cold shoulder?
Forget what you used to think about iced coffee, the summertime classic has grown up and gone global. Take a look around and, whether you’re in Bondi or Bendigo, you'll see today’s baristas are adding a generous scoop of international inspo to their cold caffeine creations.
Back in the day, the choice was simple: the archetypal Aussie iced coffee usually meant International Roast, ice blocks, a big slosh of full-cream milk and a scoop of Peter’s ice-cream (or, god forbid, swirly fake aerosol cream). If you’re old enough to go back that far, you’ll know that it was likely served in a tall, heavy parfait glass (with an equally tall teaspoon) too.
Today’s iced coffee is a very different beast. It’s classy, mature and well-travelled; sometimes cheeky, sometimes out-there, but in most cases just straight-up delicious and the perfect foil for sweltering summer days.
Still dreaming of that sunny beachside café in Mykonos? Go get a dose of frothy Hellenic holiday magic with Greek-style frappe at Mama’s in Sydney’s Bexley or Vanilla in Melbourne’s Oakleigh, where locals linger over tall glasses, Greek sweets and lengthy conversations.
Italian affogato more your thing? In Sydney, head to Ciccione & Sons (Redfern) where the next-level gelato (made with rich jersey milk) makes for a decadent riff on the theme.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, the hand-churned, Sicilian-style gelato at northside fave, Il Melograno (Westgarth) gets drowned in punchy, aromatic ‘Ricci method’ coffee (which is roasted in-house via a wood-fired roaster).
Il Melograno owner Carl Foderá describes affogato as “the perfect marriage of two Italian delicacies – coffee and gelato.” In his ancestral Sicily (and elsewhere in Italy), Foderá says the affogato always appears “in that part of the day where an indulgent pick-me-up is required.” His tip for the perfect affogato? Always serve the coffee separately. “The guest should be allowed to pour their own coffee, so that the gelato doesn’t melt too much.”
Offbeat and wonderfully sweet, south-east Asian coffee concoctions are now making an appearance too (even in non-Asian style cafes). In Melbourne at Nora (Carlton), the ‘Saigon’ iced coffee combines specialty Small Batch coffee and aromatic pandan-infused milk with delicious results. Meanwhile at Boon Cafe in Sydney’s Haymarket, the Thai-style ‘kaffe yen’ comes strong and sweet with ‘caramelised’ milk.
Ready to get wacky? For coffee-as-theatre check out the Korean-style ‘affogato’ at Perth’s Honey Creme. Here, lowbrow Nescafe coffee teams up with honey-flavoured Korean soft serve ice-cream and arrives with a massive, Trump-esque coif of organic fairy floss on top (you’ve been warned).
Vietnamese iced coffee is well known for its dentist-on-speed-dial sweetness, but that’s certainly not stopping anyone. Never tried one? Now could be the time. A good place to start might be Sydney’s Great Aunty Three (Enmore and Surry Hills), which does a tasty traditional take on the theme. In Melbourne, try Pho Nom (CBD) or Friend or Pho (Yarraville) and watch as the addiction kicks in.
Jerry Mai, co-owner of Pho Nom says that the secret to authentic Vietnamese iced coffee lies in the roasting. “In Vietnam, the beans are treated a bit differently to the way they are here in Australia” she says. “They’re actually roasted with a little bit of butter,” Mai explains. “The butter gives the coffee this lovely rich caramel-y character, which works perfectly with the condensed milk.”
The other trick? Take your time “The ritual of drinking coffee i, Vietnam is always very leisurely. No one’s ever in a rush. You’ll sit, wait for the coffee to brew and engage in conversation. It might take an hour, or more,” Mai says.
You’ve heard of bubble tea, now meet bubble coffee. Known as a classic Fitzroy hipster hang, Melbourne’s Industry Beans is now serving specialty bubble cup cold drip coffee (single origin cold drip layered on condensed and soy milks with coffee-soaked tapioca balls) alongside its highbrow espressos and batch brews.
Whether you’re fuming hot or ice cold about their politics, the USA gets a look-in too. For a taste of the deep south in Melbourne, go try the ‘New Orleans style’ iced coffee at Our Kitchenette (in Melbourne's Hawthorn), which is made from a blend of Coffee Supreme coffee and roasted, ground chicory and cold brewed for 22 hours. To serve, it’s poured over ice, given a dash of pure maple syrup and topped up with fresh cold milk.
You get to eat the bowl as well. Does it get any better than this? We think not!
Iced tea is the drink of the South. It’s everywhere and it’s totally addictive. Typically, the iced tea made in the South is served so sweet that it could liquefy your teeth. You go into a caffeine shock, quickly followed by a diabetic meltdown and once the caffeine starts to wear off, the cravings start. If you find the tea too strong, or too sweet, dilute it with some cold water until it suits your palette.
An easy and delicious ice-cream sandwich, that can be served as a dessert or a snack and offers a myriad of flavour combinations.