4 Refreshing Ways to Get Creative with Cold Brew

Dress up your cold brew with seasonal produce, flavor-packed cold foam, herb-infused ice, and more.

BY EMILY JOY MENESES
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Featured photo by Linda Xu via Unsplash

Tired of recycling the same old cold-brew recipes year after year? Temperatures are continuing to rise here in Los Angeles, and it’s clear that cold brew isn’t going anywhere anytime soon—which is why today we’re exploring ways that you can bring a refreshing twist to this crowd favorite. From unique citrus and herbal infusions to flavor-packed cold foam, there’s ample room to get creative. Read on to learn some of our favorite ways to make cold brew feel exciting again.

A barista at a coffee stand with cold brew, glass jars, a hot coffee pot and felt sign.
Filipino-owned Masaya Kapé offers pandan cold brew: coffee cold-brewed with fresh pandan leaves for 24 hours. Photo courtesy of Masaya Kapé. 

1. Grab Your Favorite Summery Fruits and Herbs

What fruits and herbs remind you of summer? Try getting creative with blueberries, mint, citrus, or anything else that represents the season for you—doing so is a great way to infuse your personal story and vision into your menu.

For example, we’re loving cold brew infused with pandan—a plant that’s popular in Southeast Asian cuisine and brings a subtly grassy, vanilla-like aroma to beverages. Filipino-owned Masaya Kapé offers pandan cold brew — kapeng barako coffee brewed with fresh pandan leaves for 24 hours. In Portland, Ore., Portland Cà Phê owner Kim Dam says the shop uses pandan on its summer menu in part because it connects to the memories of the pandan coconut ice cream bars that she ate as a child.  

Close up of a cold foam topped cold brew in a plastic cup with spices sprinkled on top and a floating piece of orange fruit.
Teofilo Coffee Company’s calamansi foam. Photo courtesy of Teofilo Coffee Company.
 

2. Get Creative with Cold Foam

Adding cold foam to your iced beverages is a great way to play with texture and bring a more luxurious feel to your drinks. Plus, there’s ample room to get creative with your cold foam recipes! Try dressing up yours with different flavors and syrups, either bottled ones that you have on hand or house-made ones. I’m obsessed with Teofilo Coffee Company’s calamansi foam—a reference to the owner’s roots in the Philippines.

3. Play Around with Different Roasts and Varieties

When making cold brew, it’s important to consider the roast and coffee variety that you’re working with. There may be a certain coffee that you love when brewed hot—but the flavors might translate a bit differently when brewed cold. Experiment with different coffees and see what works, taking into account any other flavors you plan to add to your cold brew recipes (if any). 

A hand hold a glass sideways to show off an ice cube shaped like the opening bud of a rose.
Rose ice cubes at L.A.’s Kumquat Coffee. Photo courtesy of Kumquat Coffee.

4. Have Fun with Ice 

When it comes to making great café drinks, even the smallest details matter—so why not get creative with ice? There are so many ways to make the ice in your cold beverages more exciting! Try freezing ice cubes with herbs or experimenting with ice trays that create unique shapes, like spheres or roses. Doing so is a great way to add a unique twist to your recipe and boost its aesthetic appeal, too.

These are just a handful of ways that you can get creative with cold brew. When it comes to crafting your recipes, think about what you enjoy—which ingredients you love working with, and what stories you want to tell through your menu. Cold brew is a favorite in many places around the world, but there are so many ways to infuse it with your unique personality.

Cheers to a summer of playing with flavors and embracing all that the season has to offer!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.

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