Once, cold coffee meant adding milk, ice-cream and whipped cream to a shot of espresso.
More recently it has involved anything from single origin over ice, to nitrogen-charged coffee on tap. Now, it’s chewy coffee pearls floating in your drink, and a fizzy soda made from coffee cherries.
To kick off the warmer weather, here are six Melbourne cafes offering creative cold-coffee alternatives.
Bubble Cup Cold Drip at Industry Beans
If there was a prize for most innovative cold coffee, the Bubble Cup Cold Drip at Industry Beans would be a serious contender. Tapioca pearls are soaked for hours in a blend of cold brew and espresso. Condensed milk and soy milk are poured into a domed cup, then the coffee-soaked pearls are added on top. The pearls sink to the bottom but the coffee floats, creating a layered effect. It’s fun, rich and delicious.
Coconut Cold Brew at Uncommon.
A few places around town serve cold brew with coconut water, but only Uncommon. takes it further and puts it in a coconut. The coffee is cold brewed overnight in-house, and a shot of it is served alongside a freshly cracked young coconut. Pour the coffee in, stir, drink with a straw.
Coffee Cherry Soda at Plug Nickel
This cold coffee isn’t made from ordinary cherries, but coffee cherries – the reddish-purple fruit that surrounds coffee beans. At Plug Nickel, the cascara (another name for coffee cherries; from the Spanish word for “husk”) comes from a plantation in El Salvador. The cherries are sundried then ground and cold brewed for two days. The result is a fruity, refreshing, lightly fermented caffeinated soda. If you prefer something a bit richer, Plug Nickel also does a black nitro coffee on tap.
Black Tonic at BAWA
BAWA’s answer to cold caffeine is the Black Tonic – a double espresso shot sweetened with sugar syrup and flavoured with kaffir lime. It’s served over ice and topped up with tonic and a squeeze of fresh lime. It’s bright and tropical; more so when consumed inside BAWA’s slightly Sri Lankan, plant-packed interior.
Iced Coffee at Glass Den
It’s listed on the menu simply as iced coffee, but don’t be fooled – there’s more to this drink. A frozen espresso sphere is served in a rocks glass (just like an Old Fashioned). On the side: your choice of milk, warmed; and a shot of sugar syrup. Pour the milk over the frozen espresso to melt it, then adjust the sweetness to your liking with the syrup.
Iced Spritz at Market Lane Coffee
Market Lane is known for excellent but fuss-free coffee, and its cold version is no different. The Iced Spritz consists of a double espresso topped up with tonic and served over ice. Simple, but refreshing and delicious. And available at all Market Lane locations.