Photo by [cipher]/Flickr CC
Summer is definitely here in Sonoma's Valley of the Moon. After a mild June, we've had several blasts of 95-degree weather. Even when it's so hot in the afternoon, I still get the urge to enjoy the taste of my favorite beverage. But the very idea of hot coffee makes me perspire.
At these times, my love for the taste of coffee is undiminished, so it's time for cold. I'm aware that there are those who think that cold coffee is some sort of crime against coffea. A friend reported that he went into a coffee store on the east coast and overheard a coffee clerk react in horror to a customer's request for iced coffee.
Odd as we might think this reaction in ice-loving America, we should allow for the possibility that the barista was Italian: as Faith Willinger reported recently, Italians may like cold, but not ice. I can think of no cold coffee drink as elegant as Faith's shakerato--though since there is no "k" in authentic Italian words, we can only wonder about the provenance, even as we enjoy the taste and presentation.
Without question, chilling an espresso requires more restraint than press pot or filter coffee. And I do mean espresso. Small drinks are a tough sell to Americans. Espresso is a tiny part of the unit volume at an American coffee bar. Large sizes dominate the orders. When I was young and optimistic, I introduced a 6-ounce paper cup, the proper size for a traditional cappuccino. Thud! Later, sobered by reality, I acquiesced in the introduction of a 20-ounce cup. To my emotional dismay and financial advantage, it quickly soared to about 30 percent of our unit volume.