Summer Coffee Drinks for 2016 - Iced Latte and Beyond26 Jul 2016
Feeling the heat and humidity in London recently, we set out in search of iced drinks. Of course, we found no shortage of cold drinks in London coffee shops: juices, sodas, cold brewed or iced teas, iced matcha, even coconut water. We were especially impressed by James Wise’s berry tea cordial with sparkiling water at Silkies in Club Row, Shoreditch and an iced Darjeeling at Prufrock but we wanted to explore coffee based cold drinks. This year, we lost count of the cafes brewing their own cold brew and cold brew has become a standard menu item. Visit a store like Selfridges and you will see a range of cold brews from the likes of Good Beans, Sandows and Minor Figures. Several cafes served cold brew with tonic (though not as many as we’d like to – two deserving credit being Modern Society and Rag and Bone) and Grind’s several locations (such as Shoreditch) are the go to for the Guinness-like Sandows on Nitro. Now Origin Coffee Roasters have launched their own bottled cold brew this summer.
But beyond cold brew, what is available? We do miss Black Lyan sometimes, cocktail bar White Lyan’s coffee pop-up. We certainly enjoy an iced Americano at times and an iced latte can sometimes hit the spot and we do see that on many menus. These are usually make-do drinks rather than thrillers – we’d certainly like to see more iced espressos. At home, iced filter is our preferred drink. Brewed, Japanese-style, onto ice, coffee can retain its acidity and sweetness in a way other cold coffees sometimes fail to. Brewing in this way, it’s important to factor in the weight of ice and use a reduced volume of water to avoid over-dilution. This can be a difficult balance at home so experimentation is the key – start with double strength coffee onto an equal weight of ice to brewing water and experiment from there. Very few cafes seem to offer iced v60s in this way, perhaps due to the time demands. We remember a particularly great one from Peanut Vendor last summer. Iced filter made in a Clever Dripper would probably be a winner – something to try. Lanark do a tasty iced batch brew - 'icey filter' though Workshop Coffee have probably the best iced filter at the moment: using a special batch brew recipe over weighed ice in a low round glass tumbler in a way that best suits fruity Kenyan coffee.
That’s normally my summer drink at Workshop: iced batch brew, but we also dig a bespoke ‘Frapp***ino’. Taking advantage of the Workshop Fitzrovia’s home made almond milk, (mirroring LA’s Glanville and Babinski’s by flavouring with macadamia nuts and dates) we order an iced almond milk mocha which when blended in a cocktail style shaker avoids separation and tastes divine. Workshop have outdone themselves in terms of cold drinks this summer. Last summer, saw them serving their own take on the Shakerato, this year, as well as the above, they have launched Bloom, a new kind of coffee soft drink. Bloom is best served over plenty of ice and, if anything, makes us think of a coffee lemonade with the Sicilian lemon and beet sugar varied in proportions to match the seasonal slow brewed coffee. It’s not an intense coffee experience but rather a long, cool summer refreshment that uses coffee creatively in a delicious soft drink, perfect for mixing.
Workshop’s Clerkenwell café also serves two coffee cocktails. Coffee cocktails have had rather a chequered reputation – being seen at times as neither fish nor fowl but these two at Workshop are designed to complement the coffee perfectly. ‘Thyme Well Spent’ (what is it with cocktails and puns?) combines Sacred vodka, iced filter coffee and egg white, shaken classic cocktail-style and garnished with thyme. We particularly enjoyed ‘The Northern Star’, a delicious combination of iced Guatemalan filter coffee, rosehip, Sacred spiced vermouth, house-made star anise and tarragon bitters, served in a lowball glass with an orange slice. This was a bright, intense and enjoyable drink influenced by classic American cocktails.
Also influenced by America is Prufrock’s coffee milkshake which has to be one of this summer’s essential experiences. Enough for two to share, this is served in a classic stainless steel malt cup and a tall sundae-style glass. Perfected after Gus Rancatore’s of Toscanini’s visit to talk ice cream at the recent mini-symposium, this delicious shake blends a quadruple shot of Square Mile Red Brick espresso and 200ml of Northiam Dairy ice cream with a splash of milk.
Amoret in Hammersmith are another cafe going down the vanilla espresso shake route, combining Green & Blacks organic vanilla ice cream with a Brazil natural espresso (notes of blueberry and cacao) and organic milk in a compostable PLA cup. This sits alongside the chilled filter and iced latte on their menu.
Two other places with their own unique takes on cold coffee are White Mulberries in St Katherine Docks and Ergon Foods currently popping up on Regent Street and soon to open a permanent location. White Mulberries tell us they supplement the more typical iced coffee menu with a ‘sparkling black’ (sparkling water, ice, espresso and a slice of orange) and a Baileys latte (of all things). The former appeals more to us but each to their own. Ergon, who serve coffee roasted by Taf in Athens, serve iced coffee drinks alongside v60 filter, espresso and briki options. They focus on iced coffees popular in Greece such as the Espresso Freddo and Cappuccino Freddo which looks quite stunning in a glass with its layers of blended coffee and milk.
At home now, we’re drinking a lot of cascara and enjoying it mixed with tonic water, sparkling water and other ingredients. It’s naturally very sweet and we prefer making our own to using bottled cascara sodas but check the latest Caffeine magazine (June/July) for a feature on cascara based drinks by Tim Schilling featuring cascara sodas from Square Mile, Climpson and Sons and Square Root.
Silkies at Sonos Studios: 21 Club Row,Shoreditch, London E2 7EY
Modern Society: 33 Redchurch St, Shoreditch, London E2 7DJ
Rag & Bone: Great Peter Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 2BU
Shoreditch Grind: Old Street Roundabout, 213 Old Street, EC1V 9NR
Peanut Vendor: 6 Gunmakers Lane, Bow, E35GG
Lanark Coffee: 262 Hackney Rd, London, 11 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London, N1 9DX
Workshop Fitzrovia: 80A Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia W1W 7FE
Workshop Clerkenwell: 27 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5RN
Prufrock Coffee: 23-25 Leather Lane EC1N 7TE
Amoret: 11 Beadon Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 0EA
White Mulberries: D3 Ivory House St Katharine Docks E1W 1AT
Ergon Foods: 322 Regent St, Fitzrovia, London W1B 3BH
Bloom and coffee cocktail by Tom Griffiths http://www.tomgphoto.co.uk/
Coffee milkshake courtesy Robin Horňák