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Iced coffee is a type of coffee beverage served chilled, brewed variously with the fundamental division being cold brew – brewing the coffee cold, yielding a different flavor, and not requiring cooling – or brewing normally (hot) and then cooling, generally by simply pouring over ice or into ice cold milk. In hot brewing, sweeteners and flavoring are often mixed into the hot coffee before cooling, due to faster dissolution in hot water. Alternatively, syrup (sugar pre-dissolved in water) may be used, particularly gum syrup.
Pre-packaged iced coffee is available as a grocery item in several countries, though without ice. Iced coffee is also regularly available in most coffee shops. Regardless of brewing method, iced coffee is generally brewed at a higher strength than normal coffee, due to the dilution caused by the ice.
Mazagran, a cold, sweetened coffee beverage that originated in Algeria circa 1840, has been described by locals as "the original iced coffee". It was prepared with coffee syrup and cold water.
Coffee brewed then chilled with ice, called "iced coffee", appears in menus and recipes in the late 19th century.
Iced coffee was popularized by a marketing campaign of the Joint Coffee Trade Publicity Committee of the United States in 1920. Much later, it was marketed by chain outlets like Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks.
Iced coffee may be served already chilled, or poured hot over ice. Because sugar does not dissolve readily into cold liquids, it must be added either directly to the hot base, or to the finished product in the form of syrup.
Variations by country
In Australia, iced coffee is coffee flavoured milk with a lot of added sugar. Iced coffee is commonly available as a prepackaged, ready to consume drink or cafe style, which is typically topped with ice cream and whipped cream. The drink may also include syrup, cream, cocoa powder or coffee beans. The cafe style is something like an unblended milkshake. Some commercial varieties of iced coffee are made from instant coffee or espresso coffee, while others contain only coffee flavouring. Iced coffee has been sold commercially in Australia since the late 19th century in the form of a syrup, an example of which is Bushells Coffee And Chicory Essence.
In South Australia, Farmers Union Iced Coffee has outsold Coca-Cola and is one of the state’s biggest brands. The brand is available in other states. Pauls "Territory's Own" Iced Coffee is hugely popular in the Northern Territory and Norco Real Iced Coffee is big in Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland. Other iced coffee varieties include Breaka, Big M, Brownes Chill, Moove, Masters, Dare, Max, Fleurieu iced coffee, Rush, Oak and Ice Break.
In Canada, the popular Tim Hortons coffee chain sells iced cappuccinos, known locally as Ice Capps. The chain has also recently introduced traditional iced coffee to its Canadian menu in addition to its U.S. menu. Other fast-food and beverage chains also provide iced coffee. A June 2016 study by research firm NPD found that the popularity of iced coffee drinks had increased by about 16 percent over the same period a year earlier.
In Chile, iced coffee is called café helado (iced coffee). It is very popular in the summertime. Café helado is composed of espresso, or Coffee powder. Ice cream is added to the coffee as well as sugary additives such as vanilla, cinnamon, or dulce de leche. Iced coffee is enjoyed during the summer time at breakfast and at parties. Atop of Chilean iced coffee may also be whipped cream, and chopped nuts.
The "Tak" technique involves leaving the coffee to cool to room temperature over a number of hours, then adding ice afterwards. A bottled variant is to be made available.
In Czechia iced coffee is called "Ledova Kava".
In Germany there are different types of Eiskaffee (coffee with ice cream). The most widespread form is a flavoured milk drink similar to Australian iced coffee, available in German coffeehouses and in Eisdielen (ice cream parlours). It consists of filtered, hot brewed and cooled coffee with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top. However, this type of iced coffee is rarely available in German supermarkets. The most widespread form of iced coffee in supermarkets is a canned version from a variety of brands with different flavours such as Cappuccino and Espresso. This iced coffee is very similar to the canned iced coffee in the UK and in the case of some brands (particularly Nestlé) actually the same product.
In Greece, a popular iced coffee beverage is frappé, made of instant coffee (generally Nescafe), water, and optionally, sugar using either an electric mixer or a shaker to create foam. Ice cubes and, optionally, milk are added. Frappés became known outside of Greece as a result of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Frappés have become very popular in Cyprus and Romania.
Other popular iced coffee beverages in Greece include freddo cappuccino, topped with cold milk foam, aphrógala (Greek: αφρόγαλα), and freddo espresso, a double shot of espresso blended with ice cubes and served over ice.
Iced coffee in India usually consists of instant coffee mixed with cold/frozen milk in a blender, producing a thin, coffee-flavoured smoothie or often mixed with vanilla ice cream for thicker consistency. South Australians, especially in Adelaide, are also known for this drink. A more upscale version is popular in the espresso bar chains Barista and Cafe Coffee Day. This is made with a shot of espresso and cold milk, similar to a latte.
In Italy, the Nestlé company introduced Frappé coffee under its Nescafé Red Cup line, with the name Red Cup Iced Coffee. Many Italian coffee bars serve "caffè freddo", which is straight espresso kept in a freezer and served as icy slush. In the Salento region of Apulia, this was perfected by brewing the espresso freshly, adding the desired amount of sugar, and finally pouring it into a whiskey glass filled with ice cubes right before being served, known as Caffè in ghiaccio, or coffee in ice. Affogato (espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream) is also served, typically as a dessert. “Caffè shakerato” is also common in summer: bars serve it from double espresso, cane sugar, several ice cubes mixed in a shaker.
In Japan, iced coffee (アイスコーヒー, aisu kōhī) has been drunk since Taishō period (around the 1920s) in coffeehouses. It is served with gum syrup and milk. Cold tea was already popular, so it was natural to drink cold coffee. Cold brew coffee is also common in Japan, where it is known as Dutch coffee (ダッチ・コーヒー, dacchi kōhī), due to the historical Dutch coffee trade from Indonesia. In 1969, UCC Ueshima Coffee released canned coffee, which made coffee available everywhere. Today, canned liquid coffee is consumed both cold and hot.
Iced coffee is also popular in the Philippines, and it is served in a number of cafés. Notable chains of Philippines coffee shops include Figaro Coffee, Starbucks Coffee, Bo's Coffee, Fiorgelato Cafe and Coffee Bean Tea Leaf. For a more elaborate version, a scoop of ice cream is added on top. There are also Ready-to-Drink Coffee in cans.
Packaged iced coffee is gaining prominence in stores, featuring brands both foreign and domestic. For example, iced coffee (Nadeccino) has been introduced by a dairy company called NADEC, and powdered versions are introduced as an outstanding product innovation by a growing coffee brand called Cofique developed by a multinational food company called Goody.
In Slovenia, iced coffee is called "ledena kava". It is served in coffee shops and restaurants all across this tiny Alpine state. More popular during the summer than winter time. Ledena kava is composed with double espresso, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, almond or chocolate flake and waffle. The most popular coffee brand Barcaffè is selling Prestige ice coffee in all supermarkets. Ice coffee is commonly prepared at home during summers and served typically as a desert.
In Sri Lanka Iced coffee served in special events and weddings typically in the afternoon. Sri Lankan iced coffee contained a bit of brandy to give it a distinct taste.
Thai iced coffee is brewed using strong black coffee, sweetened with sugar, heavy cream (or half-and-half) and cardamom, and quickly cooled and served over ice. Some variations are brewed using espresso. Thai iced coffee can be served with whipped cream on top for a layered effect, and garnished with cinnamon, vanilla or anise. It is a common menu item at Thai restaurants.
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Long popular among coffee enthusiasts in the U.S., iced coffee is quickly gaining popularity among the general consumer audience as evidenced by the fact that it is available in mass food franchises and sold bottled in grocery stores. Iced coffee is prepared many different ways, including cold brew coffee and chilling conventional coffee.
Iced coffee can be made from cold brew coffee, where coffee grounds are soaked for several hours and then strained. Prior to the commercialization of cold brewers, consumers took the matter into their own hands, cold-brewing an iced coffee by soaking ground coffee and chicory with water. The next day, the grounds would be filtered out. The result was a very strong coffee concentrate that was mixed with milk and sweetened. This sweeter, creamier form of iced coffee is the type commonly found in New Orleans, Louisiana, at local coffee chains such as CC's Coffee House.
Many coffee retailers simply use hot-brewed coffee in their iced coffee drinks. Starbucks specifically uses the double-strength method in which the coffee is brewed hot with twice the amount of grounds. With this method, the melted ice does not dilute the strength and flavour of the coffee. Unlike the cold-brew process, this method does not eliminate the acidity inherent in hot-brewed coffee.
Cold coffee drinks such as Frappuccinos are premade, presweetened and typically shelf stable.
Many people often put milk in their iced coffee and recently, milk alternatives such as almond milk or oat milk, have become extremely popular across the United States.
Vietnamese iced coffee is drip coffee with condensed milk served over ice. In Vietnam, it is typical to use a phin filter or French press to brew the dark-roasted beans often used to make iced coffee. It is generally a sweeter, heavier drink than its Thai counterpart.
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