Trends & Lifestyle

Around the World in 80 Iced Coffees (actually, just a few iced coffees)

The world of iced coffee has expanded beyond classic cold brew. It all started on TikTok, where a user’s attempt to whip up a frothy Korean iced coffee called Dalgona escalated into a social media phenomenon.

The Dalgona is made by whisking equal parts sugar, boiling water, and instant coffee, approximately 400 times, into a glossy, fluffy mixture. The mixture is then dolloped atop a glass filled with ice and milk. As the Dalgona gained popularity, it prompted both professional and amateur coffee makers alike, to quest for further inspiration from the recipe book of international iced coffees.

Twists on the classic Dalgona abound, with one version calling for mixing cocoa powder into the foam once it’s thoroughly whipped before adding it to the milk. Some swear by spiking it with a touch of rum. Anyone seeking variety when it comes to color and flavor can substitute green matcha powder for the coffee. However, this method requires the incorporation of egg whites into the matcha mixture, to obtain the right consistency.

De’Longhi’s LatteCrema Cool Technology offers a quicker, less labour-intensive way to make Dalgona. The Eletta Explore’s cold-milk carafe enables coffee drinkers to quickly create creamy cold microfoam, with just the touch of a button.

Travelling to the Indian subcontinent, Phenti Hui, or beaten iced coffee, is similar to Dalgona. However, the milk is poured over the whipped mixture of coffee, sugar, and boiling water instead of being placed on top. The foam dissolves into the mixture, resulting in a creamier, uniform drink.

In Greece, Frappé is made by shaking up sugar, coffee, and water. It is then served over ice and finished with a splash of evaporated or condensed milk. The Brazilian Mocha Cola combines coffee, chocolate milk, and cola, topped with whipped cream. It’s ideal for those looking to double up on caffeine and add some refreshing effervescence.

For our friends in Thailand, Oliang, known more familiarly as Thai iced coffee, is a mixture of ground coffee and brown sugar, with various grains, seeds, and spices such as cardamom, corn, soybeans, rice, and sesame seeds. It is usually topped with condensed or evaporated milk. The grains and spices add a savoury complexity that some might find unusual, but it’s nothing that a dash or two of sugar cannot soften.

No compilation of international iced coffee drinks would be complete without the Algerian Mazagran, often cited as the world’s first iced coffee. Dating back to the French conquest of Algeria in the 1840s, it’s said that French soldiers stationed at the fortress of Mazagran, in Algiers, created the cool drink while burning the midnight oil. The iced coffee helped them stay awake, and the rum imparted a delicate kick. The drink evolved as it spread around Europe, and while it’s currently less common in Algeria, the Portuguese Mazagran remains popular today. It combines lemon and mint for a refreshing thirst quencher on those sweltering summer days.


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