Considering that we’re now experiencing chilly weather here in Manila, iced coffee - especially a large tumbler of milky coffee poured over ice – definitely hits the spot when needed the most. In this part of the world, it’s pretty easy to get a milky iced coffee. Even fast-food joints have turned them into an all-day indulgence as opposed to an AM-only alternative to a steaming cuppa Joe.
Jollibee, in particular, has made iced coffee something of a real treat. Its Coffee Float is something of a cross between a coffee milkshake and a coffee float in the sense that they first drizzle chocolate syrup on the inside of the plastic tumbler before pouring in the chilled, milked-up coffee. Rather than a splodge of whipped cream, a generous helping of vanilla soft-serve is swirled on top and drizzled with more chocolate syrup.
It’s not as smooth or as richly flavorful as a drink from an upmarket coffee bar – indeed, it errs on the sweet side – it’s a good way to chill out on a lazy weekend afternoon.
At the other end of the spectrum is something that I’ve been hankering for three years straight. Yes, for this year’s barrage of sticker-collecting for a 2014 planner, Starbucks has brought back - finally! - its gingerbread latte. (About bloody time, sod it! Please remember that not all Filipinos have a sweet tooth; some of us prefer darker, spicier flavors!)
This year’s gingerbread latte is an improved version, I think: there is a correct balance between the sweetness and the natural bitterness of the coffee. The spices are more pronounced this time around: you can actually discern notes of ginger, nutmeg, clove, and a touch of cinnamon in the mix. While this is ideally served hot, an iced version is actually more than a little appealing. The sharpness of the spice mix is muted somewhat, but blends more easily with the other flavors in the drink. Happy drink, happy me, and a happy day all around.
If you’re craving for a chilled coffee, I daresay you can actually get a fix at home with this nifty little recipe:
Brown Coffee Refresher
- 1 single-serve sachet brown coffee (for choice, I’d recommend Kopiko if you like it more bitter than sweet; Owl White Coffee sweetened with gula melaka [palm sugar] if you’re into something more exotic)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 scoop vanilla or coffee ice cream
- a few ice cubes
- a pinch of cinnamon, to serve
Place all the ingredients except for the cinnamon in a blender. Process at the highest speed for about 45 seconds; reduce speed and blend for 30 seconds more.
Pour into a glass and sprinkle over the cinnamon. If desired, you could also swirl on some whipped cream.