daily[ish] tasting six: espresso in iced drinks

I’ve noticed that there are many, many ways to make any given iced drink with espresso. I’ve also noticed that most of us baristas aren’t particularly serious about these drinks; we don’t care about them the way we do about espressos n caps.

But, because I serve a lot of iced lattes and iced americanos (and because it’s my job to recommend best practices), I decided to experiment a little bit.

First I prepared an old fashioned glass with ice and one with some water. Then I pulled a single shot of espresso from the same extraction into each glass.

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Then I added water to the glass with ice, and ice to the glass with water.1

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To be totally honest, it was difficult for me to evaluate the difference in taste beyond the difference in strength, which was pretty significant. The shots poured directly over ice melted a lot of the ice leaving a diluted drink.2

Despite this experiment not really helping me taste the effects of ice on espresso, it did lead to me tasting some espresso on the rocks afterward – something I don’t think I’ve tried before. A brininess that wasn’t prominent in the coffee to begin with really came out in the iced espresso. Once I got over the weirdness and the ice melted a little more, the iced espresso was actually kind of sweet and enjoyable in the same sort of way cold brew can be. Weird.


  1. Each glass had 50g of ice and 30g of water added. Why didn’t it occur to me to do 40g and 40g? I’m not at all sure.
  2. I recommend pouring shots into liquid in a tumbler before pouring over ice in the cup

About barnwolf

head barista for pavement coffeehouse and erc boston
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