Iced is Nice

The NYCF Team
30 August 2018

In this heat, coffee is best served cold. When the city swelters and all you long for is the crash and foam of waves at your feet, it's time to turn to iced coffee, summer's humble hero. 

Gelato? Nice but filling. Cocktails? Inappropriate until OOO. An iced coffee, however, is refreshing and light-weight, whilst bringing with it an energizing caffeine buzz.

Cafés citywide, from Joe Coffee Company to Devocion, are experiencing an iced brew boom right now, which will continue beyond the summer months, even as fall sets in. Starbucks reported on Thursday that, whilst Frappuccino sales are tumbling, iced drinks now make up more than 50% of its business, up from 37% five years ago. 

As Frappuccinos begin to lose the limelight, it's more refined, less calory-heavy iced drinks like cold brew that are performing. Iced Americanos and lattes, craft cold brews, nitros and tonics are the perfect pick-me-up; slightly sweeter than the average black coffee, but lightweight, leaving you longing for more.

The great news? We have so many options. Forget taking on a steaming Americano in August; the question really is, how did we ever get by without iced coffee?



We've got options

Gone are the days when cafés would experience peak coffee sales in winter only to be let down in warmer months. The soaring popularity of iced options has swung the dial, steadying sales year-round. Exciting new products are on the rise and so too is accessibility: everyone wins. 

It pays to know your options. First, you've got the iced Americano, mocha and latte; made as they would be hot, before being poured over ice. You'd be hard pressed to find a café that wouldn't russle up one of these easy drinks for you. 

Then there's cold brew, which has become a year-long sensation. This is super-strong coffee, slow-brewed for up to 24 hours and normally served in a swish glass bottle.  Canadian craft brand Keep It Cool Cold Brew serve theirs in old-school liquor flasks; a careful approach to branding which emphasises the super premium product. The bigger brands, including the likes of Starbucks, have caught on too, offering bottled cold brews in store. Cold brew has gone beyond the realms of trend and is set to go the distance. 

For those who want to experiment further, go nitro. This begins life as cold brew, before being kegged and infused with nitrogen gas. This lightly sparkling drink is often served on tap in cafés (Devocion offer classic cold brew, nitro and cascara on tap). With a beer-like head, nitro feels grown up and tastes extra refreshing. Alternatively, opt for the cocktail-like cold brew tonic. It does what it says on the tin; it's like G&T, with coffee instead of gin. 

All of these options add up to more than the sum of their parts. Such demand for quality iced products has elevated coffee standards, with higher expectations on cafés citywide to offer premium cold beverages. Coffee is adapting to your every need: this got luxury. 




Responsible for this new luxury trend, coffee has tapped a new clientelle: enter Millenials and Gen Z. #IcedCoffee is usurping the social phenomenon that was #latteart, with a super refined, aspirational aesthetic. Think beautiful crystal glasses, colourful garnishes and a cocktail-like vibe. 

Your 'gram is now current when populated by sleek images of carefully crafted iced brews, sitting atop beautiful #tilesofInstagram, or by a matte indie magazine.  For better or worse, iced coffee is now a key part of living your best life, online and off.

The unequivocal plus is the bounty of recipes you'll find on social media, ready to try at home. Whether you want to wake up to a sweet iced concoction, or impress your friends at the next summer barbeque, there is no shortage of recipes to try.  

Refresh anytime, anywhere

Increased demand also means countless take-home options to try en su casa.

Case in point, Chameleon Cold Brew. This specialized brand started with a classic bottled cold brew, before expanding to additional flavors like vanilla and pecan (check their Instagram for infinity recipe ideas). There is virtually nothing that's cold and caffeinated that this brand doesn't nail. 

Canada's Keep It Cool Cold Brew speaks for itself. Freshly fitted with Instagram-ready branding (their 'Our Story' page reads 'Nobody Cares' and we love it) they have a refreshingly simple offering of classic bottled cold brew and a cascara tea remix.

Meanwhile New York's favourite roasters, like Joe Coffee Company, have begun selling bags of specialized cold brew beans. Brewing them at home is simple.  Just get yourself a cold brewer, like this Hario one, weight out your beans and water and leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  

You'll find Chameleon, Keep It Cool Cold Brew, Devocion, Joe Coffee Company and Hario at The New York Coffee Festival this year.

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