I always pay extra attention when it comes to coffee recipes since I am well aware that the word “coffee” is too generic to direct the reader to a specific coffee-based recipe. What kind of coffee? How should the coffee be brewed? These are burning questions :), especially when you want to make iced coffee. Have you ever brewed your own cold coffee? Honestly, I have never PROPERLY done it. I am not the type of person that can grind the beans the night before, let them soak in water overnight and then strain everything the next morning. No, I’m not THAT patient, I can barely wait for my pizza dough to raise or my freshly baked cake to cool down. If possible, I go for shortcuts.
Being a Londoner for almost 5 years now, I got used to tasting all types of coffees, from the undrinkable ones to the syrupy pimped-up Starbucks branded drinks (I put the pumpkin spice latte in the “undrinkable coffee” category). While in Italy I’m down with simple little espresso coffee, here in London I happily sip my huge americano with a drop of milk.
Some recipes are made to be followed strictly, without changing instructions or exchanging ingredients. Coffee is one of those drinks I’m not willing to compromise with, meaning that if I really want to have a proper espresso I skip all the coffee chains, Starbucks included, and spend a few cents more in a trusted cafeteria. Shortcuts so popular here in the UK (like adding water to the espresso) can be dangerous for my taste buds (also for my wallet, I usually end up trowing these coffees).
Last week I found myself walking along the canal that crosses the city from Haggerston to Angel. It was a sunny and gloriously warm day in London. At the end of the day, Summer turned its back to us and since then we’re experiencing the Autumn chill (chattering teeth).
That day, after a long walk, I ended up in Hoxton, a bustly and trendy area in East London where one can find some of the best Vietnamese restaurants. I knew this was a chance for me to try my very first Vietnamese iced coffee. After that, I’ve been dreaming of all sorts of variations of iced coffee and this iced coffee flavored with coconut milk and sweetened is definitely one of my faves. Not a Vietnamese coffee but something similar in taste and probably healthier (refined sugar-free, at least).
If you lust after those Starbucks milky iced coffee drinks, then this coffee recipe is NOT for you. Remember, a small frappuccino at Starbucks is 270 calories. This easy homemade version uses coconut milk, espresso coffee and just a little bit of maple syrup, so it is lighter and actually tastes like coffee (not like syrup!). I strongly recommend you to freeze coffee in an ice cube tray: this will provide a stronger coffee flavor. Also, make sure to buy REAL maple syrup! By all means do not get yourself a maple that contains “high fructose corn syrup” (who wants maple flavoring instead of real maple, after all?).
I look forward to learning more about iced coffee. Do you have any good recipe or tip to share?
Maple Coconut Iced Coffee
- 1 cup espresso
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- a splash of water optional
- Put half cup coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze for at least 3-4 hours. Leave the rest of espresso in a glass with 1/4 cup coconut milk, mix well and refrigerate for more than a hour.
- Combine the frozen coffee cubes and maple syrup in a blender. Pulse until smooth, adding plain ice cubes if you want it thicker or a little water if you want it thinner.
- Add to the glass of refrigerated espresso. Serve cold! I recommend adding the rest of coconut milk and more maple, if needed, just before serving.