Best iced coffee

Posted on January 22, 2006 by Aun

One of my favorite (non-boozy) drinks is a good iced coffee. I’ve noticed that in some countries, an iced coffee comes with a scoop of ice cream. And while t

hat’s yummy, it’s not quite right to me. I like my ice coffee pretty simple: good quality coffee, served ice cold, sweet and milky. What I really don’t like is when lazy baristas prepare iced coffee by pouring hot coffee into a glass filled with ice. They might as well call that “somewhat cool, watered down coffee”. Not only is the temperature not right but the flavor is diluted, thanks to all the melted ice.

When researching a story a few years ago, I came across the description of a café in Tokyo that had been pitched to my colleagues and I as the home of the best iced coffee in Japan. The owners of this café used only the very best and most expensive Blue Mountain coffee. The coffee was mixed with milk and sugar and then poured into a cocktail shaker. This was sealed tightly and then spun… yes, spun… on top of a giant block of ice. The coffee gets chilled without any additional water diluting it. Fantastic! And of course a tad extreme.

One of the best iced coffees in Singapore used to at the Four Seasons Hotel. In the past, they served their iced coffee with coffee ice cubes. That way, as the ice melted, not only was there no dilution, but the coffee in the glass was replenished. Unfortunately, they’ve stopped serving it this way. Another good iced coffee drink can be found at Café Rosso, in Holland Village. They do a drink there which consists of a tall glass filled with coffee ice cubes. This is served with sugar syrup and milk, which you add to the coffee ice cubes.

I’ve wanted to recreate this at home for a long time. But I’ve long felt that the drink just wasn’t right with small ice cubes (like the ones used at Café Rosso). Then, a few weeks ago, during one of our regular Ikea runs (yup, S and I like to visit Ikea every few months, just to see what’s new), we spotted some great rubber ice trays. Not only were they fashioned in bright colors, but they came in a variety in shapes and sizes. We were immediately drawn to a set of red ones that would hold 4 very large cubes each.

I’ve been in iced coffee heaven ever since. We use these trays to make large blocks of frozen coffee. Each cube is large enough for one drink. All I do is place it in a nice glass and add a splash of cold milk. I then mix a tablespoon of sugar with another 2 ounces or so of milk and zap it in the microwave, just long enough to melt the sugar. I mix this up well and pour this over the iced coffee ice cube, which helps melt it just a bit. The beauty of using a large ice cube versus small ones is that the larger the ice cube the slower it melts. Of course, this means I’m forced to take my time enjoying this drink, sipping it slowly as the cube melts. But that suits me just fine.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. neil January 23, 2006 at 11:48 am

    After two consecutive days of heat (42c or 107f)all this talk of iced coffee has really got me going. I need a bucket of it.

  2. Santos January 23, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    i urge you to seek out a cold-brew coffee maker. a friend of mine in kansas city had a coffeehouse that featured cold brewed coffee years ago, and to this day it remains my preferred iced cuppa (outside of nyc–even a half-bad cup with new york water is doubly better than most). you’ll get a low-acid, full-bodied brew that is so smooth i prefer it without the addition of ice cubes or sugar.

  3. chika January 23, 2006 at 8:29 pm

    Hi,

    I liked iced coffee with coffee iced cubes served with with milk a lot, but haven’t had one for a very long time. I think your version using one large cube of frozen coffee is great! If only I knew the name of the said Tokyo cafe so I can try theirs; here a bunch of coffee shops serve milk-on-coffee-iced-cubes drink these days, but maybe not all of them would do the cocktail shaker trick, I suspect.

  4. Kalyn January 23, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Wonderful photo of the coffee.

  5. Lil January 23, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    s, chubby hubby, you guys are right, alcohol don’t freeze well… duh, completely forgot about that…

    ok, it’ll be baileys on “coffee rocks” then… :)

  6. Anonymous January 24, 2006 at 2:31 am

    yes tcc serves blue mountain..on the expensive side certainly but of course you could buy the beans from them n brew it yourself.. it’ll be more worth it;)

  7. Melissa January 24, 2006 at 4:42 am

    Fantastic idea! I used to be an iced-coffee addict when I lived in New Orleans. In Scotland it’s a bit harder to find the weather for it, but to prepare for those two days a year when it’s warm enough, I’ll have to freeze up some coffee ice cubes in advance!

  8. Kierra January 24, 2006 at 4:43 am

    Yummy…

  9. Ivonne January 24, 2006 at 10:04 am

    While it’s a bit cold for iced coffee here in Toronto, I do love it in the summer. I’ve clipped your recipe to be enjoyed in the summer months …

  10. Scott January 24, 2006 at 10:46 am

    Sounds amazing. Must try.

  11. Chubby Hubby January 24, 2006 at 11:29 am

    Tankeduptaco: I can imagine. It’s hot here but not that hot.

    Santos: Cool product but I’m too impatient to wait 12 hours for my coffee to brew. :-)

    Chika: I’ll see if I can find that story and the name of the cafe. We ran it in an issue of Asia Inc magazine back in 1996 or 1997. Not even sure if it would still be open.

    Kalyn: Thanks!

    Lil: :-)

    Anonymous: I totally agree.

    Melissa: Well, you could turn your heat up really high and then pretend your having a summer day ;-p But I’d gladly trade you a cool, winter day for a week of our hot, humid weather.

    Kierra: Yup. Very yummy.

    Ivonne: That’s great. Thanks.

    Odysseus: Thanks. Good luck.

  12. Anonymous January 24, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    How about sweetened-condensed milk with espresso ice cubes?

    Coffee cubes, ice-cream and chilled coffee… so tasty on a hot summer night.

  13. Rani January 24, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    yo, in the past posts i gave an idea for you to open a restaurant, but this is not a financially viable idea…

    how about.. making a TV show on fine dining and cooking fine cuisine? That would be profitable, wouldn’t it? I really enjoy reading your blog, i suppose a TV show would be as much exciting

  14. *kel January 25, 2006 at 2:18 am

    That´s a really neat idea! I imagine this is THE drink to sip under the hot sun on the sunny island you´re on. Btw I really like the plate of cha kue tiao you´ve incorporated in your header design. Is the x mark for extra tau geh?

  15. Vivilicious January 25, 2006 at 7:05 am

    BTW way, can I tag you for the Too Much Information Meme?

  16. coffee81 January 25, 2006 at 11:54 am

    I can’t live without coffee. And you’re right – some baristas are kind of lazy when it comes to making good cuppa like this. So, I have no idea where to get those really good ones in Malaysia…

    Any suggestions?

  17. millicent56 January 25, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    wow thats sound thirsty on this hot climate we are in… woo la la.. mst try doing this.. ;)

  18. Ange January 25, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    I agree with you on the perfect iced coffee, def no ice or ice cream or cream for that matter. I have recently discovered a new variety of ice coffee love, the coffee liquer, basically their a lors of variations that include great espresso coffe, vodka, maybe some other liquer & maybe some cream & ice before whizzed up – these are ok in here as they dont deter form the flavour – check out your next cocktail menu & try one – devine!

  19. Chubby Hubby January 25, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    Anonymous: Mmmmm…. sweetened-condensed milk is a real weakness of mine. Yum.

    Rani: Well, if you know anyone who wants to invest in funding a Chubby Hubby television show, send them my way ;-)

    Kel: Thanks. I think the “x” was because I ordered mine without chilli.

    Vivilicious: Thanks. I’ll try to get around to it. :-)

    Coffee81: Yikes. Not sure about the best in Malaysia. Sorry.

    Millicent56: Yah, it’s a great way to beat the heat.

    Ange: Yah, boozy iced coffees are great! I love adding Godiva liqueur to coffee. And I love a well-made Irish Coffee too. I’ll have to try making the perfect iced Irish Coffee. Now, all I have to do is buy a bottle of Black Bush–my fave Irish whiskey.

  20. Rani January 27, 2006 at 12:20 am

    hehehe i’ll try to ask around if someone would be interested in producing your tv show.. perhaps the concept could be “fine cuisine right from your house kitchen” or something like that…

    BTW i have a bag of indonesian coffee which is aged for eight years and roasted the old way on firewood from Aroma Koffiefabriek Bandung, Indoensia (as featured in lonely planet food southeast asia), I’d like to give to you, how do i do that? email me chaerani [at] hotmail.com

  21. Chubby Hubby January 27, 2006 at 9:24 am

    Rani: Thanks! Emailing you right now ;-)

  22. -A- January 27, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    Man i could use one of those right now.

  23. -A- January 27, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Chubbs, I dont mind coproducing the show. We could package it to be sold in asian countries. It’s right down my alley, lemme know if you are interested.

  24. Anonymous January 28, 2006 at 3:34 pm

    I know what you mean about the “not quite right” about cream, ice cream in the ice coffee. I never really drunk coffee much until I lived in Japan for some reason. In Japan ice coffe is usually a shot of espresso, ice and milk. When returning to Australia I ordered “ice coffee”. Here is what I got in it
    1. shot of expresso, ice and milk
    2. massive amount of whipped cream
    3. ice cream
    4. some places also put in chocolate syrup

    I then realised that in the future I had to ask for ice coffee with
    1. shot of expresso, ice and milk
    and explicitly say
    2. No whipped cream, ice cream and chcolate.

    One shop said to me when I asked for this “Thats a bit boring isn’t it”

    t

  25. Hageltoast February 14, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Tried it, loved it, told all my friends about it. :)

  26. Merry's Kitchen May 8, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I’m not much of a coffee lover, but I just might have to try this.

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