It’s been a classically British start to summer – hot, cold, wet, dry, thunder and lightning, muggy… and while we take every forecast with a pinch of salt, now that June’s hit, at least we’re looking at three months of reasonable temperatures! And not everyone wants a steaming cup of coffee on a hot summery afternoon. We all know that cold drink sales soar in summer. If iced coffee, frappé or cold brews aren’t on your menu this season, you’ll be missing out.
Of course, cold coffee isn’t for everyone, and there’s a bit of an age divide on iced coffee sales: it’s estimated that around two thirds of 18-24-year-old coffee fans in the UK happily turn to iced coffee over other cold drinks, whereas only a quarter of over-45s agree.
But look at the big coffee chains – come summer, those frappés are selling like hot cakes. So to speak. And since the UK tends to mirror the US for coffee trends, and ready-to-drink coffee sales figures have grown every year for the last five, you can expect iced coffee sales to keep increasing.
The top three cold coffees to make in your coffee shop
A simple iced coffee
It doesn’t get easier than this, although you’ll want to prepare a certain volume in advance. You can easily change that volume as you see how sales go. Make a standard black coffee with your espresso machine and leave it to cool to room temperature. Pour it into a blender and add some milk and, depending on the taste you’re after, some flavoured syrup. Blend it up until you’ve got a nice smooth consistency. Now it’s ready to be poured over ice. For a slushier effect, you can try blending the ice with the rest of the coffee.
First top tip: if you’re running low on pre-prepared iced coffee and don’t want to disappoint new customers, make fresh coffee at double strength; that way you can afford to use extra cold water or ice.
Extra top tip: ice can dilute taste too far, as we all know, so consider freezing cold coffee in ice cube trays; that way you’ll retain the same taste when you serve. Just make sure these aren’t the ones you’re using when your existing coffee is double strength!
It’s all the rage, and you don’t even need tattoos or a beard to like it. Cold brew coffee can’t be made on the fly, so it’s all about making time. Cold brew is made using water at room temperature or below. The coffee grounds are immersed in the water (either in a permeable bag or you’ll strain the essence afterwards) and left to steep for a minimum of 12 hours and for as long as 24. The coffee essence you get after all that steeping is strong, so you then mix it with cold water to your desired taste – usually at a 50/50 ratio - and serve. Cold brew coffee has a sweeter and less acidic taste than hot coffee, and a creamier, thicker texture. You can add your own twist by adding a small amount of syrup or ingredients such as vanilla pods into the steeping process.
Different people know the frappé as two very different drinks.
The first was popularised in Greece and is called a Greek frappe or café frappé. It’s usually made with instant coffee – because instant coffee’s less oily construction makes for a better and longer-lasting foam – in a cocktail shaker or mixer. A couple of teaspoons of instant coffee, sugar and a little hot water are mixed up to form a foam. Pour this into the glass and then add cold water and ice cubes and, perhaps, either evaporated or regular milk.
The second was popularised by the big coffee chains. It’s pretty much a coffee milkshake. Foamy milk – and you can use almond, hazelnut or coconut milk, of course – blended with espresso-made coffee and, for a sweeter finish, real vanilla. Freeze your milk/vanilla mix in advance for a throat-chillingly cold serving temperature.
All of these cold coffees are quick and easy to make, especially after practice, and should be an absolute staple in any coffee shop and snack bar during June, July and August.