As the days get warmer and the sun is up when you get out of bed, many people would rather start their day with a long cool drink than a hot one. If you need a caffeine hit to get you started in the morning you might think that a hot drink is your only option unless you go for a sweet fizzy cola, but you would be mistaken. Iced coffee is a great alternative to a hot coffee on a warm sunny day and it can be as sweet or as bitter as you choose.
There are various ways of making iced coffee; from simply letting your hot coffee go cold to using a complicated machine to extract the coffee flavour from ground beans without heating them up. Cold coffee tends to taste bitter, so you need to add some kind of sweetener which may not dissolve properly without the heat so this method does not on the whole produce a particularly nice cup of iced coffee. Many types of syrup are available that you can just add cold milk or water to, but this will also have the limitation of needing a liquid sweetener if you want a more sugary cup. Coffee retailers tend to use a shot of espresso with cold milk added rather like a latte, or extra strong espresso over ice. The nicest cold coffee flavour is said to come from ground beans that have been cold brewed by soaking them in water for a number of hours, but this is not very time efficient.
Different countries have their own way of making iced coffee, with hotter countries leading the way for obvious reasons. In Australia canned, ready to drink iced coffees out sell other soft drinks in many states, coming second only to beer and in Canada the readymade syrup is mixed with water and topped with cream. Greeks have a frappe which is iced coffee mixed in a blender to give it a frothy top, Italians have a caffe freddo which is an espresso shot served mixed with ice like a slushy, or served over cubed ice in a short glass. In Italy an espresso shot poured over vanilla ice cream is also a popular dessert. Many countries add flavoured syrups, vanilla, cinnamon or anise to iced coffees to give them a little extra flavour.
However you choose to take your iced coffee, be it instant powder with a little hot water topped up with milk, or the purists version brewed in a coffee machine that is only usually found amongst commercial catering equipment, the cool caffeine hit is bound to be just the thing you need for a pick me up on a hot summers day.