When it comes to our icy bev of choice, there are two main schools of thought: Either the coffee is brewed with hot water directly over ice (a method that originated in Japan), or it's steeped with cold water over several hours and then strained. Either way, you end up with delicious chilled coffee, minus any bitterness. We tracked down a few places around town where you can sample brews made via both methods, ranging from beloved coffeehouses to new java spots you need to try. Keep reading for a caffeine fix that will combat even the swampiest of summer days.
The Japanese Iced Method
For iced pour-over coffee, the baristas at Pitango Gelato use a Chemex beaker, a tool that looks straight out of a science lab. The meticulous process of brewing coffee over ice via the Chemex is repeated every four hours for iced coffee that's bright, mellow, and totally refreshing. P.S. If you can't decide between coffee or gelato, Pitango's affogato combines the best of both worlds, with a shot of espresso accompanied by a scoop of any gelato your heart desires.
Pitango Gelato, 660 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 202-701-6222; 413 7th Street NW, 202-885-9607; 1451 P Street NW, 202-332-8877; 11942 Democracy Drive, Reston, 703-606-9906.
The iced coffee at Peregrine is brewed double-strong over ice in big batches, but you can also get decaffeinated coffee or by-the-cup micro brews brewed over ice.
Peregrine Espresso, 1309 5th Street NE; 660 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 202-629-4381; 1718 14th Street NW, 202-525-5127; Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE.
Pop-up coffee shop The Wydown opened a month ago on U Street, and will be open for six months until the operation heads to its permanent home in the new Louis apartment building on 14th Street NW. In addition to the regular iced coffee brewed over ice, you can order any type of coffee you want ground, brewed, and iced as you watch. Bonus: This isn't on the menu, but ask your barista to whip up a "shakerato": a double shot of espresso, housemade vanilla bean syrup, and a shot of half & half shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker until frothy.
The Wydown Coffee Bar, 1320 U Street NW; 202-506-2756.
Photo: Courtesy of Carly Piersol
Cold Brew Iced Coffee
D.C.-based startup Growl Cold Brew Coffee wants to stock your fridge with everything you need to make your own iced lattes and cortados. Made with Annapolis' own Ceremony Coffee Roasters beans, Growl's coffee steeps in cold water for 16 hours, is filtered sparingly, and then bottled. Find the 16-ounce bottles of coffee concentrate online or at locations including Union Market's Salt & Sundry, Smuckers Farm Market, or at the company's booth at the monthly DC Meet Market.
For another bottled coffee option, Cork Market sells prepackaged cold brewed Stumptown Coffee Roasters "stubbies" in cute little bottles. Cork Market makes their own cold brew iced coffee, too, using Stumptown Coffee's Hair Bender blend with notes of caramel, jasmine, apricot, and Meyer lemon.
Cork Market, 1805 14th Street NW, 202-265-2674.
Local favorite Dolcezza also uses a blend from Stumptown Coffee for its iced coffee, which brews for 12 to 14 hours in cool water. The result? Rich, sweet, iced coffee with a hint of chocolate flavor. Add cream and it's almost a dessert.
Dolcezza, 1560 Wisconsin Avenue NW, 202-333-4646; 1704 Connecticut Avenue NW, 202-299-9116; 7111 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, 301-215-9226; 2905 District Avenue, Fairfax, 703-992-8701.
Filter's regular iced coffee uses an espresso blend, and is brewed overnight in the fridge and then strained in the morning.
Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar, 1726 20th Street NW, 202-234-5837; 1916 I Street NW, 202-234-5837.
For The Best Of Both Worlds
Try a Honey Badger, the iced specialty drink at adorable outpost The Coffee Bar near Logan Circle. It's four shots of espresso, two ounces of half & half, and a half-ounce of honey, all shaken together with ice for a creamy, sweet pick-me-up.
The Coffee Bar, 1201 S Street NW, 202-733-1049.
Photo: Courtesy of Carly Piersol