Oh Iced Latte!
Now that it’s (finally) warm out, i’ve been doing iced lattes for the past few days, one of my summer favorites. They fondly remind me of the summer road trips that I took over the last 2 years, as I would stock up on two iced lattes in the car before I took off from the city (usually from Gimme! in NYC and Café Myriade in Montreal) and slowly sip on them for the next hour or two so I that wouldn’t have to make some unfortunate coffee shop along the highway.
As I was making my usual cup today, the question struck me: what is the proper method for making the best iced latte? With ice, milk, coffee, and the optional sweetener to go into the cup, I found that there isn’t quite a consensus as to which order that the ingredients should be added. Some say that espresso directly onto ice makes the ice melt too quickly and gives it a bitter taste because the ice “shocks” the espresso. A direct shot of espresso into the milk saves me from having to wash an extra expresso shot glass, but runs the danger of wasting the milk if the shot is a bad one. Espresso first, then milk seems to be popular, except in coffeeshops that use plastic cups, because the heat of the espresso can melt or at least cause the release of plastic flavor into the coffee. Sugar has a hard time dissolving in cold milk, but easily does so in the hot shot of espresso.
So far, after doing some experimenting, I’ve settled on two main methods. 1) First, hot espresso in glass cup, then sugar to dissolve, then cold milk, finally ice; or 2) milk and ice into cup, espresso and sugar into separate vessel and mix until dissolved, then pour sweetened espresso into iced milk. The benefit of the first one is that I only need to wash one cup, while the second one has aesthetic pleasure of watching the rich brown espresso mixing in with the icy white milk. Who says presentation isn’t important?!