Iced latte, a love story and recipe

When temperatures and humidity rise and it seems like thrice-a-day showers aren’t enough to keep cool, it is downright ridiculous to get your caffeine fix from a hot beverage. While we all know in the back of our heads that we need to curb our caffeine intake for a number of health reasons, sometimes coffee is the only one that gets the job done (a green smoothie’s a good energy beverage as well, but that’s a love story for another day).

The solution to a caffeine beverage that won’t leave you in a sweat? Iced coffee. Now I love tea to bits and to be honest, tea is my non-water beverage of choice. Coffee and I used to have a great love affair a couple of years ago until a brewed Starbucks venti that was supposed to be decaf turned rogue and left me with heart palpitations akin to what one feels when experiencing unrequited love. Long story short, I broke off my relationship with coffee. I used to be a black-coffee-no-milk-no-sugar kind of girl but found a more rewarding, meaningful relationship with tea – which is a second love story for another day.

I have to confess that I’ve had the occasional tryst with soy lattes because unlike treacherous black coffee, I’m not left with heartache post-consumption. My love for the latte was rekindled in New York over the summer of 2010: I used to work in a raw vegan restaurant in the Grammercy area of Manhattan and fell quite head over heels with the iced soy lattes at 71 Irving, a killer coffee shop with a killer source of coffee beans. It was an expensive affair though – a 12 oz. cup was about $4.00 plus the soymilk tax.

If you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or just plain adventurous with your milk choices, you know about the soy milk tax – that damn fee coffee shops charge you for requesting soymilk in your beverage instead of dairy milk. Here in the Philippines the tax is P20, which is INSANE considering that a liter of vacuum-packed soymilk goes for about P56, at par with the price of a liter of vacuum-packed, questionably-sourced dairy milk. The soymilk tax in the US is $0.50. A locally available decent latte is expensive enough at P90 a pop sans soymilk tax (Starbucks green tea latte is about P110!).

Anyway, back to waxing poetry about that New York soy latte – if you’ve never experienced a New York summer, you’re not missing much. It’s basically hot and humid Manila summer with sunsets at 8:30pm (so the heat lasts longer, especially in the subway stations), without decent beaches anywhere (contrary to popular belief, Coney Island is not and will never be a decent beach – sorry), and with more expensive everything. Back then, an iced soy latte was the perfect way to cool down before being attacked by the heat of a professional kitchen, while being bled dry at $4.50 a pop. But let me just say – 71 Irving Place iced soy lattes are worth their expense. If you find yourself in Manhattan, do pass by that coffeeshop and treat yourself to a latte. They also have vegan pastries on the menu!

I knew I couldn’t depend on 71 Irving for my iced latte fix forever, though. Back then, I believed that a latte was only possible with espresso. SO WRONG! I learned how to make a decent iced latte in the cafeteria of the student apartment I was housed at. That cafeteria had a machine that served coffee with the power to drill holes in one’s stomach lining. With a good dose of milk, however, that coffee was digestible and, dare I say it, even quite enjoyable. And it didn’t cost $4.50 either.

What I’d like to share with you, dear readers, is my love for the home-brewed iced soy latte. You don’t need fancy espresso beans, an espresso machine, or a coffee machine. I actually wouldn’t recommend a traditional coffee machine because you need the beans to steep in hot water for a couple of minutes – not slowly and merrily drip through the beans. I’m no coffee connoisseur but an espresso machine uses steam pressure to force water through the beans, resulting in a deeper, earthier flavor. The same result can be achieved with a French press, a fine mesh sieve, or a cheese-cloth lined sieve.


An iced latte pairs well with Antipolo suman and coconut sugar for a carbaceous breakfast.

The best part about home-brewed iced lattes? You’re not paying a coffee shop P110 to enjoy a cup of it.


Homemade iced latte

Gluten-free, soy-free, and / or nut-free depending on your non-dairy milk

Makes 1 serving

2-4 tbsp ground coffee beans (this would depend on the quality and strength of your beans. Now is your chance to break out locally-grown Cordillera Arabica. Please do NOT used instant coffee.)

1/4 cup boiling water

3-4 ice cubes

1 cup cold non-dairy milk of choice (soy, cashew, almond, or coconut)

P1140408 P1140410 P1140411

  1. Place the ground coffee in the French press and pour in the boiling water. Let steep for about 2-3 minutes, then press.
  2. Place ice cubes in a mug and pour in the coffee.
  3. Slowly pour in the cold milk (cold soymilk + hot coffee occasionally result in curds, so do pour slowly!).
  4. Mix well and enjoy! Feel free to mix in a packet of stevia or a drizzle of agave. If you’re using a dry sweetener like muscovado or coconut sugar, mix it with the hot coffee before pouring in the milk.


If you’re French press-less, steep the beans in water in a separate bowl or cup for 2-3 minutes. Strain into your drinking mug using a fine mesh sieve or cheese-cloth lined sieve.


1 Comment

Filed under Beverage, Recipe, The inner workings of Marie's mind

One response to “Iced latte, a love story and recipe

  1. Pingback: Iced latte v.2: another NY love story and a recipe | Kitchen Revolution

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