There's a reason Stumptown started packaging their famous cold brew coffee with milk: it's good.
Here are five things to try to make that homemade iced latte oh so worthy worthy of a warm summer afternoon.
Now of course, there are those who will tell you that putting milk and a sweetener in good coffee is practically sacrilegious. I agree.
Only 35% of Americans take their coffee black, which I think has more to do with the fact that we're used to bad coffee than it does that we love milk and sugar.
But really good coffee doesn't need to be diluted with milk and sweetener; it's good on its own; in fact, if it's made with quality beans, it's better on its own. Adding milk and sweetener is almost a must if you're drinking cafeteria style coffee that's been sitting on the warmer for too long, but when you're going for a pour over of craft roasted beans, you want the coffee all to itself.
That being said, I do have one exception: iced lattes. Because come on, an iced latte is a tasty thing, especially on warm summer days. It's sort of like if you're a wine lover. Inevitably when it's hot out, and you need a refreshing late afternoon drink, you'll take the sangria now won't you?
So, how to make the best iced latte? The standard milk and sugar route is boring and expected, you need something different.
1. Create homemade syrups
Forget sugar, make your own simple syrups. All you have to do for homemade syrups is to start with a basic simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water ratio) and then figure out a flavor that will pair well with your iced coffee or cold brew.
→ How to make simple syrup: Straight Up: DIY Simple Syrup
Here is where you can get creative. I am intrigued by the blackberry syrup from How Sweet it Is, made with fresh blackberries, sugar and water. Cardamom syrup perhaps?
→ Try a recipe: Recipe: Homemade Caramel Syrup for Your Coffee
2. Pair almond milk and a dash of almond extract
You can easily make your own almond-flavored creamer by adding in a few drops of pure almond extract. Pair it with almond for an extra dose of almond flavor.
3. Use coconut milk
Coconut milk is a popular iced latte ingredient in the non-dairy crowd. It works well because of its very creamy consistency. In fact there's even a recipe for making coconut cold brew by adding in toasted coconut with the coffee grounds before adding in the cold water.
4. Use your blender
If you want the ultimate in a summer drink then you're going to want your coffee blended. It's easy to make blended coffee drinks at home, which allows you to make them cheaper and healthier than they would be at a cafe. Try this recipe for a Mint and Choco Frappucino, made with dates instead of sugar and cocoa nibs as well.
5. Spike it!
It's summer after all, and if you want to add a little booze to your iced coffee then have at it. You can make your own coffee liqueur and mix that in with your iced drink, or take a tip from the bartenders making craft coffee cocktails and experiment with flavor combinations. Amaretto perhaps?
(Image credits: Mrsiraphol/Shutterstock; Jonathan Lin under CC BY-SA 2.0)