Cold-brewed coffee has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity here in the United States, but we’re hardly the only place where people enjoy chilled coffee on hot days. Here’s a look at how our version of cold-brew compares to a couple of other styles from around the world.
American and European Cold-Brew is Versatile
In both the U.S. and much of Europe, cold-brewed coffee serves as a versatile base that can be used to create any number of drinks. While it’s rarely sipped on its own, it’s mixed with cold water, milk and even sometimes hot water (for a different take on hot coffee). Sweeteners might be added, and flavors can be included in it. For example, New Orleans families might include chicory in it, and many people like their vanilla, caramel or mocha ready-to-drink beverages that are often made with a cold-brew concentrate.
Just as there’s no one type of American, there’s no definitive way cold-brew is enjoyed here in the United States. We all have our own preferences, and we adapt this versatile concentrate to our liking.
Thai and Vietnamese Iced Coffee
There’s some variance between the Thai and Vietnamese iced coffee. For instance, a type of cloth filter that’s called ung dtom kaffee is traditionally used in Thailand, while the Vietnamese use a cà phê phin, which resembles a miniature pot. Additionally, Thais are known to mix their coffee with corn, soybeans and sesame seeds, but Vietnamese only use coffee in their brews.
The hallmark of both of these countries’ creations, though, is the iced coffee’s creaminess and sweetness. Once it’s brewed, the coffee is cooled and then combined with sweetened condensed milk. Not for the health-conscious, Thai and Vietnamese iced coffee can include as much sweetened condensed milk as coffee. It’s perhaps the richest iced coffee in the world.
Indian Cold Coffee
India has its own style of cold coffee. It’s made using lots of milk or cream (most recipes call for one or two glasses), sugar, crushed ice and instant coffee. These ingredients are blended, creating what most Americans would recognize as a coffee smoothie or frappe.
Across the world, there are many different ways coffee is enjoyed on hot days. The next time you have a chance to try a Thai or Vietnamese iced coffee, or an Indian cold coffee, go for it. Even if the vendor doesn’t use the same quality coffee as you’re used to, you’ll still get a deliciously sweet and creamy beverage to enjoy on a hot summer day.