Keep Cool and Caffeinated: Houston's Top 10 Iced Coffee Drinks
Cafe sua da at Que Huong: It's humid and gross in Vietnam, too, this time of year. But Vietnamese iced coffee can help you beat the heat.
Photo by Gary R. Wise
August is nearly here, and the summer ain't getting any cooler. But at least your coffee can.
I'm not the type of person who can make it through a morning without getting caffeinated, but it requires a special kind of fortitude to grimly chug a few cups of hot coffee when beads of sweat are already rolling down your back at 9 a.m. -- and you haven't left the house yet.
You can, of course, purchase cold-brewed coffee concentrate and make your own iced coffee at home (which is something I recommend for the hardcore coffee drinker). But if you're in the custom of stopping by a coffee shop on the way into work for your morning joe, then try one of these cooler drinks instead.
10. Cafe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) at Que Huong
You can get a Vietnamese iced coffee at nearly any Vietnamese restaurant in town. But I like Que Huong for the wide array of other excellent Vietnamese dishes (nearly 350 on the menu at last count) that you can get along with your coffee -- many of which are perfect for summer, too, such as the tempura soft-shell crab and light, tangy jellyfish salad.
All of the coffee drinks at McDonald's are far better than they should be.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
9. Vanilla iced coffee at McDonald's
There is no shame in this game. McDonald's makes a very respectable iced coffee that's even better when you have them throw a little vanilla syrup into the mix. It's inexpensive, it's not terrible for you and the ingredient list is short and contains instantly identifiable things like milk and espresso.
8. Granita at Agora
This is more an espresso milkshake than anything else, but what a milkshake it is. Imagine a Starbucks Frappuccino that was actually good -- that's a granita at Agora. It comes topped with whipped cream and floats on a layer of chocolate syrup. I like to mix it all together for a decadently sweet and creamy treat that I can't help but indulge in at least once a summer.
Photo by Troy Fields
7. Cafe sua da milkshake at The Burger Guys
This is the sole milkshake entry on the list (not counting the milkshake-like granita at Agora), but it deserves a spot for being both highly caffeinated and for improving upon the traditional Vietnamese iced coffee -- something we never thought was possible. Pro tip: Order this at lunch and dip your duck fat fries into it. Your arteries may not thank me, but your stomach will.
6. Iced Mayan mocha latte at Dirk's
The "Mayan" mocha at Dirk's is a welcome twist on the standard mocha latte, giving the coffee the flavor of bittersweet chocolate that finishes clean and doesn't come off as cloying. If regular mochas are far too sweet for you, try a Mayan mocha instead.
5. Honey bear iced latte at Catalina Coffee
This isn't technically called a "honey bear latte," but it makes the kids at Catalina laugh when you order it that way. If you don't like your super-serious baristas cracking a smile every now and then, you can order it by its regular name: iced latte with honey. Either way, it's a simple and refreshing treat in the hot weather from a place whose hot coffee is usually too good to pass up.
4. Iced cajeta latte at Antidote
Antidote is already renowned for its cajeta latte, made with a goat's milk dulce de leche that gives your standard latte a nutty, caramel-sweet depth. But you can also get it iced, which is my number one recommendation for anyone getting caffeinated at Antidote during the summer.
3. 24-hour cold brewed coffee at Inversion
This is exactly what it sounds like: coffee that's been cold-brewed over a 24-hour period by being allowed to steep slowly in cool water, making for an intensely complex and flavorful iced coffee -- without any sugar or cream added. If you're watching your diet but craving something sweet and rich...Inversion's 24-hour cold brewed coffee is your ticket.
2. Iced coffee at Revival Market
Revival Market's coffee is so damn good on its own, I hate to add any sugar to it. The coffee is naturally sweet thanks to the roasting processes used by the local roasters like Amaya which Revival stocks, and a hot espresso drink like flat white on its own is perfect just as it is -- no sugar added. The same is true for its iced coffee. Stunning in both its richness and simplicity, this coffee doesn't need anything besides a straw.
1. Iced mocha toddy at Boomtown
The "toddy" in this coffee's name doesn't refer to alcohol (alas), but rather to the brewing method: Toddy is a trademarked cold-brewing system, in which coarsely ground beans are steeped in cold water for at least 12 hours. The resulting coffee is caramel-sweet and even better when mixed with a bit of chocolate, cream and sugar at Boomtown. Surprisingly, this is a light-tasting drink despite its heavy-sounding ingredients.
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