Sunday, June 4, 2023

Iced Americano: My New Love

If there is anything that people close to me can attest to, it’s that I love coffee. I love caffeine in general, but coffee is my go-to for that fix. I’ve been drinking black coffee since I was in grade school because of my grandmother, and I have loved it that way ever since. I remember being a kid and my father’s friend was telling me he was so surprised to see me drinking black coffee in the morning. I’m aware now that it was unusual for a kid to do that, but back then it was what I knew as normal. I always liked my coffee black, and it always had to be hot. That is until I discovered the iced Americano. 

The black coffee I used to have as a kid was only instant coffee. My grandmother had a thing for coffee made from rice (non-caffeinated, obviously), but I still preferred real coffee, even if it was only instant. It had become such a staple for me growing up that I had never gotten used to drinking hot coffee with milk or creamer. Not that I can’t take it that way because I have, but more that I don’t consider it to be coffee unless it was pure and not mixed with anything else (other than some brown sugar or artificial sweetener, although most of the time it’s something I'd rather not add on). My doctor advised me to lay off the coffee, but it’s something I can’t seem to do without. It’s like my day isn’t complete without it. 

Only in my college years did I learn more about coffee of the non-instant variety. We were doing a paper on coffee shops in the country, and we interviewed some experts on it, and I was so fascinated by what I learned. By the time I was working, I had started to buy coffee beans/grinds of my own and enjoyed making coffee from in different ways: from a coffee maker, French Press, or a Moka pot. I can still drink instant coffee, but I also know how much better it tastes if you make your own. 

Image by Brendin Hoffman from Pixabay

I was already an adult when I found out about iced Americano. It blew my mind that the black coffee that I loved was something that I could take cold and that it also tasted good that way. I can’t remember where I first tried it, just that I got it from a coffee place somewhere (not Starbucks, that much I remember). I enjoyed it so much that I have been drinking iced Americanos more than I have been drinking my regular hot black coffee. It’s better to drink it cold these days since the hot weather lately has turned me off from drinking hot beverages (unless I’m in an air-conditioned place).

Ice Americanos are made using shots of espresso that are diluted with cold water and served with ice. Some people prepare it as shots of espresso poured over ice instead of diluted with water, which is what I prefer. Usually, this is not served with any sweeteners (again, my preference) but I know that when you buy this from coffee shops, they ask you about how much sugar you want in it (again, for me, that would be zero). 

Not all iced Americanos are made equal. I can’t say that I love all of them, because I have had bad ones. With all the coffee places that have popped up since the pandemic, I have tried a lot of iced Americanos and it wasn't always a pleasant experience. Some are too bitter; some have this odd flavor and with some I need a lot of sugar with just so I can drink it. I’d love to say that I prepare a good, iced Americano on my own but sadly, I have been too lazy to bring out the Moka pot and grind some beans for the espresso. I’ve taken to using a lot of instant coffee melted over a bit of hot water and then poured over ice as my version of it when I rush to work in the morning. It's not that bad. Besides, if I want a nice one, I could always buy it from the nearest coffee place, which does make a good version of it, thank goodness.

I’ve read that iced Americanos are very popular in Korea, and that fact just upped my interest in visiting the country one day. This has been my go-to drink these days and I just can’t get enough of it!


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