I am a total wimp when it comes to caffeine, much to the dismay of my parents, siblings and husband, each of whom has gradually replaced the plasma in their blood with super-strong coffee. A normal human receives a pleasant energy boost from a cup of coffee that helps them get through the day. That same cuppa joe shoots me up to the ceiling where I hang, gecko-style, like a nervous Chihuahua with a jittery rictus-like smile until the caffeine wears off or someone pries me down.
Most of the year this is not a problem. In the winter I happily sip my hot tea and keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.
But, oh, when it is hot outside I am a glutton for punishment. I love the taste of coffee and anything made with it; I can't get enough of mocha brownies, coffee ice cream and red-eye gravy. And I am a sucker for an ice-cold mocha frappe or iced latte. I'm powerless against creamy, sweet, blended frozen coffee drinks crowned with piles of whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate or caramel syrup. I drink my iced coffees and the kids find a long-handled broom to knock me down from the roof. I like to think of it as a summer family tradition.
That's the other part of the tradition; around here, iced coffees are made with honest-to-Pete, hardcore, hair-on-your-chest coffee. Why not make the iced coffees with decaffeinated java? I have only my taste buds to blame. If you — unlike me — don't think decaf tastes like it was boiled in a rusty metal pan and filtered through a dirty sweat sock, you're welcome to make that substitution.
Being who I am, I am constitutionally incapable of paying someone good money (and those iced coffee drinks do cost good money, ringing in at $3 each at a minimum) to make something I am more than capable of producing in my own kitchen.
Iced coffee drinks are more than just inexpensive when made in the home kitchen; they're simple.
I have three different customizable iced coffee recipes for you to try out. All of them are simple, but the three approaches use differing amounts of hands-off waiting time.
MacGyver Iced Lattes start with a hot shot of espresso or double-strength coffee and give you icy relief using nothing more than a Mason jar and a couple extra ingredients; no duct tape or chewing gum required. Iced mocha frappes take a blender and one extra step to put you on the road to cool with just a few more seconds of preparation time.
And super thick coffee froths — an oldie but goodie straight from The Evil Genius — take a couple hours of forethought, but not much else.
As a bonus, super thick coffee froths are a good way to use up leftover coffee.