Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Food Glossary: Iced Coffee - Guest blog by Jam Rose

Of course I've had your bog standard Starbucks iced coffee, but I had passed it over for what I found to be much nicer British summer drinks (like Pimms!).  However do read on as during my recent world explorations I have discovered that Iced Coffee is in fact a staple drink for many, and is top of the charts on café menus from Adelaide, Australia to Alajuela, Costa Rica.  With each country, town or even establishment serving a slightly different variation of simply putting coffee and ice together, I’ve identified three different styles that most Iced Coffee’s appear to adhere to and broken it down in this simple glossary!  Enjoy!


Premixed is a bit like flavoured milk, well actually it is flavoured milk but it is made with coffee rather than the usual strawberry/chocolate flavoured varieties we have in the UK. In Australia however, premixed Iced Coffee is big business and is advertised more than fizzy drinks, with billboards and prime placements in convenience stores. Farmers Union is just one brand amongst numerous others and originates from South Australia (where it proudly out-sells Coca-Cola).  This was the first Iced Coffee of this category that I tried and it's still my number one choice.  However, it's personal preference as to which stubby of Iced Coffee you have to accompany your pie whilst in the land down under!

Advertising for Farmers Union Iced Coffee in Port Vincent, South Australia.

The Float

This Iced Coffee is found in trendy coffee shops and eateries round the world such as Bakoel Koffie, Jakarta, Indonesia. It's like the premixed in taste but is mixed fresh in-house and served in a sundae glass with ice cream (the float) and cream on top and usually with some chocolate sauce. The float is much more of a dessert than a simple drink but who can resist?!

The Float from Pakse, Laos served in Sinouk Coffee Shop.

Black over ice with milk/syrup/other

Black coffee with ice in a glass, simple. Well simple other than the fact there are endless combinations of how this drink can be served to you. The first couple of times I've had it it's been just as simple as I've made out. However then came the optional (or sometimes not!) sweeteners ranging from fresh milk and sugar sachets, to the latest condensed milk version here (at time of writing) in Vietnam.

The problem with this is guessing whether sweetener has been added already…as if you are presented with them on the side it doesn’t mean they haven’t already assumed you will want some inside the coffee first!  This could all add up to a very sweet iced coffee with enough sweetener to add punch to about 10 servings…meaning that by the time you have added the extras you feel like your teeth are rotting away whilst you drink! I made this mistake the first few times back in Indonesia, where they give you sugar water, to just go ahead and pour the whole vial into my drink. This mistake proved that pouring slow and steady with sipping to test the taste wins the race and is the key to victory when presented with sugar water!  However when you’re presented with condensed milk this is a more difficult task as it's hard to stir in and flying ice cubes is a very real and potential hazard of the job. My advice is have fun and enjoy whatever you’re served!

Black over ice with condensed milk as served in Epic Arts cafe, Kampot, Cambodia.

On reflection maybe I've had upwards of 30 different styles & combinations of Iced Coffee so far on my travels and the new and creative ways of obtaining the drink seem to keep suprising me.  Only today a new variation of black coffee over ice was shown with a personal hot coffee dripper presented over one glass with condensed milk in the bottom and a second glass with ice, nice. So keep coming back to check for updates to this glossary entry as I continue to discover the world of Iced Coffee!


Anonymous said...

excellent did not know there were so many different ways of serving iced coffee laraine

Anonymous said...

Love it Jamo- farmers union iced coffee, or its nothing! Kyra :)

Anonymous said...

Great stuff James, I am pleased to see that you are taking your duties so seriously!! Keep up the good work. The one in the picture from Pakse looks amazing.

Goa said...

Hi I love to drink coffee everyday this is a fantastic blog more info visit :GDD Coffee Bar Brisbane ...............

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