For many, including me, it's iced coffee or nothing unless desperation pushes one to the hot variety. Iced coffee sees its popularity surge during the warmer months, but for its devotees, iced coffee is consumed all year round.

The basic concept of iced coffee involves brewing coffee and then cooling it down, often over ice. This simple yet transformative process highlights the complex flavors of the coffee beans, providing a crisp and invigorating experience. The cooling method can significantly impact the taste profile; for instance, flash-brewing (brewing directly over ice) preserves the coffee’s acidity and brightness, while cold brewing (steeping coffee grounds in cold water for several hours) results in a smoother, less acidic beverage.

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I encountered my favorite iced coffee years ago in Portland, OR. The Pacific Northwest is known for its coffee chops, and in my opinion and many others, ground zero for coffee in the United States is a place called Spella Caffe Espresso Roasters. Their coffee in general is simple perfection. I could bathe in it.

The allure of iced coffee lies in its versatility. It can be enjoyed black, allowing the pure coffee flavors to shine, or customized with various additions such as milk, cream, syrups, and sweeteners, catering to a wide array of taste preferences. This adaptability makes it a favorite across diverse cultures and age groups.

There's really no limit to how iced coffee can be prepared and served. Aside from a cup from Spella, I prefer the Vietnamese version, or ca phe sua da. Coffee is brewed French press style right into the cup via a small filter onto a layer of sweetened condensed milk which is stirred and poured over ice. It's thick, sweet, and great for a day that's hot as hades.

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