gainesville's brew

cold drinks

ice or no ice?

A puzzling debate has arisen in regard to iced drinks (pouring drinks into ice). There seem to be two different sides to the argument. They go something like this:

coffee shouldn't be iced:

If the temperature of coffee is drastically changed, as it is when it is poured over ice, the coffee will undergo a temperature shock and its flavor will be ruined.

coffee can be iced:

It is a myth that coffee undergoes temperature shock. If there is any taste difference, it is only the perceived taste difference due to the differences in temperature, not a result of temperature shock. Some that hold to this argument say that if people are going to complain about ice changing the purity of the espresso, they might as well forget about milk, cream, sugar or any other additive.

Since there are seemingly valid arguments to both sides, this page will not take a particular stance.


There is, however, a way to sidestep most of these issues, and as a customer you should be aware of your coffeehouses techniques.

iced espresso:

The barista should add the espresso to the milk or water (for Americano) before adding the ice. This way the temperature change isn't as drastic.

iced drip coffee (the cold brew):

The coffeehouse should mix drip-brew grinded coffee with room-temperature water and then refrigerate it for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the coffee should then be strained. This process is meant to replace pouring hot coffee over ice. It has been said that this cold brew process reduces the acidity of the coffee and results in a smoother feel.

At any rate, iced drinks have gained immense popularity in past years. For you, all that should be taken from this page is knowledge of what is actually happening when a drink is poured over ice. Whether it matters to you or not, take the time to learn what your what your coffeehouse thinks if the issue.