Barista Basics: If I Can Do It You Can Too!

Okay I would call myself a “barista” just yet, but I have mastered the art of homemade iced coffee, so I’m well on my way if you ask me. I have a few tips to share from what I’ve learned so far.

First of all, coffee is all about personalization. If non-fat, no-whip, light, double shot espresso, mocha lattes are your thing, own it. The best part about making your coffee at home is getting to control exactly what goes into your cup-o-joe. The possibilities are nearly endless. Any Starbucks barista will back me up here.

Let’s get back to basics though. What you need on a hot summer morning is not a scalding hot latte, its classic iced coffee made just the way you like it.

There are many different techniques when it comes to a cold joe. They are all for the most part pretty simple. It’s all in the preparation.

I first tried the overnight icebox method.  It’s as simple as it sounds. Instead of waking up at ridiculous hours of the morning to turn on your coffee maker, try brewing the night before. Once your coffee’s made, add all the cream and sugar you desire then store it in the refrigerator overnight. This way, you’re ready to go in the morning. Just pour your coffee over a cup full of ice and enjoy!

Now, some people complain that iced coffee just dilutes the flavor, but there are ways around that too. I also tried making a double strong brew by literally doubling the amount of coffee grounds I used. My filter was loaded to the top but it worked, and wow was it strong! I made this one in the morning and simply poured the hot coffee right over a glass filled with ice cubes. There was steam, there was melting but boy was there flavor!

Once the drink cooled off a bit I filled the glass back up with ice and hazelnut cream. The only problem here was the sugar situation. If you pour it in right away while it’s still cooling the sugar will dissolve just fine, but wait too long and your stuck with a mountain of granules at the bottom of your cup.

The solution? Just whip up a simple sugar syrup with water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the granules dissolve and then let it cool. Pour it in as desired.

Because super strong coffee isn’t my favorite, I decided to play around a little bit with some extract. I put about half a teaspoon of vanilla extract in my cup and presto! Il café just like it was from a coffee bar in Italia…or maybe just the local coffee shop but still, barista quality in my opinion. The combination of hazelnut half and half with the vanilla was just the right amount of sweet and creamy to dull the extra tart taste of the stronger coffee.

Overall, enjoying an ice-cold cup-o-joe at home was way easier than expected. You just have to remember it’s all about customizing, so make it your own! Add chocolate sauce or cinnamon or almond extract, go a little coffee crazy, I certainly had fun with it and you will too.


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