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Five Ways to Drink Coffee When It's Burning Hot Outside

Pictured above: Not a scene that happens often in Orange County.
Pictured above: Not a scene that happens often in Orange County.
Photo by David Joyce

Orange County gets the shit end of the stick when it comes to coffee culture. We have great roasters and beautiful coffee shops, but when it's time for a cuppa joe'? It's 105 degrees outside, and you could brew a pot by just setting it out in a parking lot. No wonder Seattle claims caffeinated bragging rights -- despite their inferior coffee beans, it's prime coffee drinking weather nearly year round. (I would know. Every time I visited Orange County during my year up north, I would bring back a pound of Alta blend, and let me tell you, there's nothing more comforting during five months straight of dampness than Alta blend.)

Well, screw the Pacific Northwest. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a cup of coffee in our land of eternal sunshine--±you just have to get creative.

5. With Ice

Frosty
Frosty
Photo by Kanko

Okay guys, it's not hard. If you want to drink coffee when the weather's hot, it's perfectly okay to just put ice in it. Just makes sure you brew your coffee a little stronger to compensate for the ice melt. (Use more grounds, not more brew time. A longer brew time means bitter coffee.)

If you want to be extra fancy, you can attempt the 16-hour brew methods where you soak your cheese-cloth-wrapped coffee grounds in room temperature water for hours, but really, who has the foresight to start a pot of coffee a full day before drinking it?

4. Vietnamese Style

The coffee of my people
The coffee of my people
Photo by Yun Huang Yong

No one knows how to drink coffee in the heat (and humidity) better than the Vietnamese. Coffee--like baking--is just one of the things that the French brought to Vietnam only for the Vietnamese to improve. To do coffee Vietnamese style, you'll need a phin filter (available at your nearest Asian grocery store) and Robusta coffee beans, not the more common Arabica. Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content than Arabica and a stronger finish, meaning the resulting coffee is less likely to be overpowered by sweetness or diluted by ice melt. Sweeten the resulting coffee to taste with (and only with) with sweetened condensed milk and pour the coffee over ice.

If you can't get a hold of a phin filter or Robusta beans, strongly brewed French roast will work. Sort of.   3. Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

Caffeinated AND minty fresh!
Caffeinated AND minty fresh!
Photo by Brandon Shauer

A staple of Philz Coffee in San Francisco, mint mojito iced coffee is better suited for relaxation than hardcore, work-finishing caffeination. But, if you really need to cool down, the mint in the coffee will trick your brain into thinking it's colder than it actually is. You won't actually cool down because mint slightly constricts blood vessels, but hey, what your brain cells don't know, you don't know.

Mint mojito iced coffee starts off like a regular mojito. Take a handful of mint leaves, drop them in a glass with some coarse sugar and muddle away. Top it off with some iced coffee, and you're golden.

2. Thai

Five Ways to Drink Coffee When It's Burning Hot Outside
Photo by Kelly Hogaboom


Thai iced coffee is the younger, flashier brother to Vietnam's more reserved café sua da. It's based on the same principals, strong coffee cut with dairy and sweetness but is normally many times sweeter and more complicated than its Vietnamese brethren. Use Thai coffee powder if you can. In addition to coffee, the powder contains soy, sesame, and other spices. After brewing add evaporated milk and sugar before pouring over ice.

If you can't get a hold of Thai coffee powder, Robusta beans will be your next best bet. Add some cinnamon and some cardamom before mixing in evaporated milk and sugar, and you're set.

1. Ehhh... Irish.

Also the coffee of my people, sort of
Also the coffee of my people, sort of
Photo by Leyla Ardan

You know what, sometimes it just gets too hot to do any meaningful work. On those days, throw a shot or two of your favorite spirit--Kahlua, amaretto, rum, Bailey's, heck even vodka--into your sweet coffee drink of choice and relax. It's not like you were going to get any work done in the heat anyways.

Follow Stick a Fork in It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! Follow Charles Lam on Twitter @charlesnlam!


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