Some Like It Cold: Nitro, Cold Brew, Iced Coffee and More! - What's the Difference?
April brings us spring flowers, more rain than snow (at least here in Tennessee), and a very important holiday we should all be celebrating: National Cold Brew Coffee Day!
New to coffee that's something other than steaming hot? (I'm intentionally ignoring the mug of coffee reheated 3 times today is currently left, forgotten, in the microwave. Also, don't drink that.)
Let's start with the basics on 4 types of cold coffee you can make at home and 1 you should keep getting at your local coffee shop.
1. Iced Coffee
This is as simple as it sounds. Iced coffee is brewed hot, then poured over ice to be consumed cold. A favorite of summer afternoons, this drink can be found on the menu of most coffee shops. You can drink it black or add your favorite creamers and flavored syrups to make it more of a treat.
Making iced coffee at home is super easy because it's so similar to how you'd ordinarily brew hot coffee. Just add ice!
Frappes are blended drinks with coffee, milk, and ice. They often have some added flavors, like chocolate to create a frozen mocha beverage. Some don't have coffee as an ingredient and are more similar to a milkshake or slushy. You've probably seen these on your local coffee shop menu, but did you know you can make a frappe at home?
Add your coffee, milk or cream, syrups and ice into a blender. Use the pulse button to crush up the ice, blend for a few more seconds, and you've got yourself a frappe!
3. Cold Brew Coffee
Oh yes. The one we have a designated holiday to celebrate. Let's get into it.
Cold brew is unlike the other cold coffees above in that it is actually brewed in cold water rather than hot water. How does that work? In short, the hotter the water, the faster coffee brews. The inverse is also true. By combining coffee grounds and cold water, you can slowly brew some very enjoyable coffee. Cold brew offers some really fabulous benefits that make it worth considering as a regular brew method for you.
Back in the day when I couldn't stand to drink coffee without a generous helping of cream and sugar, I discovered after brewing my coffee that I was out of creamer. And milk. Was I going to have to suffer through cream-less coffee? This was horrible. But, let me tell you folks, I'm a problem solver. Ice cream is made of milk and sugar, right? I plopped a scoop of vanilla in my mug of hot black coffee, and the day was saved. I had no idea I'd just made an affogato.
I hope you'll give this drink a try. You can have a lot of fun with it, changing up the coffees, brew methods, and ice cream flavors you use. Try an Ethiopian coffee or a smoky dark roast, for instance. Can you ever go wrong with chocolate ice cream? Or double up by going with a mocha ice cream under a coffee with chocolaty notes. The possibilities are endless!
5. Nitro Coffee
What is nitro coffee?
Of the coffees we're discussing today, this one is the least convenient to make at home. The initial investment of equipment will set you back around $150-$200 minimum, and there will be a learning curve to make the most of your new nitro set up. Unless you are a die hard nitro fan, it's more cost effective to keep getting this drink from your local coffee shop instead of making it at home. Still, it it makes the list today because it is a cold coffee well worth trying!
Amy, Founder of Red Eye Bistro