Simple to prepare and cool, it’s ideal for drinking even when it’s really hot in the sun, for those who don’t want to give up their daily dose of caffeine.
In Italy, the tradition of coffee on ice is originally from Salento and its distinctive feature is the addition of almond milk.
But, while traveling around the globe to discover typical coffees from around the world, we have found that even in Spain and, in particular, in Valencia there is “caffè del tiempo”, a drink made with espresso, ice, and a slice of lemon.
So let’s find out how to prepare the Spanish version of coffee on ice, the variety from Lecce and a more “classic” recipe.
The tradition of coffee on ice, from Spain to Italy
As confirmed by the first evidence in the XVII century, coffee on ice first appeared in the city of Valencia and, later on, it was also served in Otranto with a slice of lemon, following the recipe for the Valencian “caffè del tiempo”.
As the decades passed, however, the recipe or the coffee changed.
Today, if we order “un cafè del tiempo, por favor” in Valencia, we will be served a bitter espresso, to which you can add sugar and enjoy in a glass with some ice cubes in it and a slice of lemon or even orange. Whereas in Salento, the citrus slice has been replaced by almond milk which is used to sweeten and soften the flavor of the coffee.
The success of coffee on ice lies in its versatility and its ability to unite the authentic taste of espresso with the refreshing qualities of the ice.
So now let’s look at how to prepare this recipe which appears simple: actually, its success depends on the order in which you add the ingredients and the quantities used.
The recipe for “cafè del tiempo”
To prepare an excellent “cafè del tiempo” we have to prepare a slightly long espresso using the mocha and choose a light blend.
Separately, you need to prepare a glass with some ice-cubes, 4 or 5 per person.
Before mixing the coffee and ice, it is important to add sugar to the coffee at this point, if you want, because the sugar should not be added directly in the glass with the ice.
Finally, you just need to add, to suit your taste, a slice of lemon or even a drop of liqueur for an “alcoholic” version.
Recipe for Lecce coffee
When preparing the coffee on ice with almond milk, according to the regional recipe of Salento, the first step is to prepare a top quality espresso using a strong and intense flavored blend , capable of combining well with the sweetness of the almond milk.
To one side, prepare the glass with the ice-cubes, taking care to use solid cubes so that they will melt more slowly without diluting the flavor of the coffee too much.
First add the coffee, then the almond milk. Two teaspoonfuls of almond milk should be enough to sweeten the classic Lecce coffee and give it that distinctive flavor.
There is also a variation of this drink called the “soffiata”.
The difference here is that, in this case, the steaming arm of the professional espresso machine is used to “foam” the coffee together with the almond milk, thus creating a delicious creamy consistency.
Recipe for classic coffee with ice
In the rest of Italy, when we order a coffee with ice, we are served with a third variation of the recipe. We aways start with an excellent quality espresso, intense and not too long.
In the meantime the barman prepares, in an old-fashioned glass, 3 or 4 solid ice-cubes, which can start to cool the glass and melt slightly while the coffee is being prepared.
At this point, you need to serve the customer his small cup of espresso so that he can add sugar if he wants, plus the glass with the ice-cubes in.
And that’s all there is to it, and everyone can enjoy a delicious coffee on ice, personalized and perfect for combatting the summer heat.
Do you like it?