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The Summer Coffee Conundrum

by on June 16, 2011

I am a coffee drinker. Grande cappuccino, slightly dry, with whole milk- is my Starbucks handle. Those first few seconds after the barista hands over my drink are the most crucial. It’s then that I get my first look at the quality of the foam, is it thick and creamy like I could ski on it, revealing that this milk has been steamed at the perfect temperature to heighten the milk’s natural sweetness and produce a perfect texture? Or is too airy, caving in on itself from too high of temperatures, the product of haste and poor training.

Then there’s the weight. Too heavy and the espresso will be overly diluted, too light and I’m in for a very bitter few minutes. So needless to say, a lot happens in those first moments. For me a good cap must include excellent foam and the perfect milk to espresso ratio. I’m simply not interested in watery coffee of any kind. Which brings me to the real topic of this post- The Summer Coffee Conundrum.  It’s too hot to drink the usual quality hot beverage and the iced offerings are disappointing at best. Usually no more than watered-down sugar delivery systems, the limitations of iced coffees make summer a difficult time for the foam and espresso addicted. Enter the Iced Indonesian from La Prima Tazza in downtown Lawrence, KS.

Unlike most cold coffees that are based on cold press or brewed coffee, this one starts with two shots of espresso, so you get that distinct espresso flavor upfront, and the caffeine boost, if that’s what you are after. Add to that their signature house made Indonesian syrup, cold milk, a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a scoop of ice. Now here’s where it gets really good. You have the choice of topping your drink with whipped cream- boo. Or steamed milk- yes! Always, always go with the steamed milk. This cold drink has all the big espresso flavors and satisfies my foam fix, something few cold drinks are able to accomplish. At first it may seem weird to be slurping foam off the top an icy drink, but it really works.

Then there’s the extra flavor from the syrup. To say I’m not a fan of flavored coffee is putting it mildly. I hate it. Usually, because it tastes fake and is way too sweet. But not this one. The flavors are similar, as you might expect, to a Thai iced coffee, but it isn’t as sweet or thick. It is the perfect iced coffee and a highlight of summer.

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