my morning brew

From the title of my blog, you may think that I’m addicted to espresso. Well I do have some sort of coffee beverage at least once a day, so you wouldn’t be far from the truth.

As the days warm up, though, I’m just not craving something hot and savory in the morning when I make my way, rubbing my eyes, to the kitchen. I need something refreshing to wake me up.

Some days I’ll have a freshly-squeezed spremuta d’arancia–that’s the fancy Italian name for orange juice. Luckily between my in-laws and neighbors, I always have a great supply of oranges.

But does the late spring weather mean I don’t need caffeine? Hah!

And yet I don’t want something warmer than the Calabrian sun either.

So sometimes I have iced coffee.

Yes, I know that this is nothing new to most of you, but the first time I tried to explain this to the barista here, she looked at me as if I were speaking English. And I wasn’t, I swear.

Instead of dealing with that and to save me not only the trouble bringing my own ice to the bar (they usually don’t have any) but also a few euros a week, I make my own iced coffee at home, and you can too! Bella and I corresponded about this the other day, and I thought maybe more of you would like in on the secret.

Every night after dinner, I make a pot of espresso (you can use whatever coffee you like, of course). When it’s done, I add sugar to the whole pot, stir well, and leave the top open to cool off a bit. Then before I go to sleep, I pour the sweetened espresso into a small plastic water bottle and put the bottle in the refrigerator.

In the morning, I break out a tall glass, plop in some ice cubes (trays brought from the United States), pour in about two espresso cups full of coffee, and fill the rest with milk–I like a lot of milk–and there I have my very own fatto in casa iced coffee.

I can even have another if I like. And I often do.

Bottoms up!


[tags]iced coffee, coffee, espresso[/tags]

42 Beans of Wisdom to “my morning brew”
  1. Gil

    My wife found some blood oranges from Sicily a few weeks ago. They were so good compared to what we usually get here. The freshness of the fruit & produce has got to make up for some of the inconveniences that people suffer when leaving the native lands. I know that I’d never miss a green (unripe) piece of fruit that rotted before it ever ripened.

  2. sognatrice

    Gil, yes, the fresh fruit/produce is just one of the many advantages of living here. Now if only I could figure out how to make jeans from orange peels πŸ˜‰

  3. Anonymous

    h ah a haha the iced coffee story reminds me of when we tried to order a ‘latte’ for a friend here. Barman looked at us like we were from mars! In the end he made it according to her specifications (i don’t drink coffee so was just the translator!)and when he was done I asked him what he called that drink. Latte??!! He replied…..

  4. Giulia

    Yum, I drink those all the time during the warmer months, along with my cosmos. But, I save the cosmos strictly for the evening! πŸ˜‰

  5. alicia

    Wow, great idea & I intend to try it. Do you have any suggestions on how much sugar to use?

  6. Pola

    Awful O___O

    Why don’t you try a “caffΓ¨ shakerato” ?

  7. sognatrice

    Anon, as you can see from Pola’s comment below, Italians don’t agree with us on matters of coffee–or many other things, but let’s not generalize πŸ˜‰

    Giulia, good rule on the cosmos πŸ™‚

    Alicia, honestly, I don’t have any recommendation other than to put in how much you’d normally like; you can try the coffee when it’s hot, of course, to get a feel for it, but I ended up playing around a few times before I got it just right for my taste, which is so sweet, I won’t confess to it here πŸ˜‰

    Pola, sheesh, that’s harsh! As for the “shakerato,” I suppose if someone wants to get fancy, they can use a shaker, but I find this method works just fine for me. Plus it would require buying something else to fit in my small kitchen, and if I get anything, it’ll be a toaster πŸ™‚

  8. stefanie

    That looks so good right now! The sun is barely up yet, but it’s supposed to be a hot one here today.

  9. mary

    I make my own iced coffee too, although I have seen cappuccino freddo in some bars. But I did just have a “caffΓ¨ shakerato” the other evening for the first time at the local bar. It’s just like iced coffee except they shake it up with ice so it’s frothy. Then they top it with a little cocoa and a coffee bean. I do have to say, the word “shakerato” does make me chuckle though.

  10. The Other Girl

    It’s weird; I live in the most coffee-pretentious city on earth, and yet it’s nearly impossible to get a decent glass of iced coffee here (although I hear that McDonald’s has a good one now, so … doubly weird). Most places serve some version of Starbuck’s frappuccino (sort of a cross between a milkshake and a 7-11 Slurpee), but you have to be a fan of brain freeze to really enjoy one.

  11. Stargazer

    Thanks for stopping by. It’s good to know that other people miss the food of Philly! Reading over your blog is making me miss Italy though. The hub and I did Florence, Venice and Siena on our honeymoon, didn’t want to come home. Coffee just tastes better there. Have a great day!

  12. Paolo

    My trick for iced coffee on the go – put the coffee in a glass, put the glass in a pot, and fill the pot with cold water.

    In the time it takes me to shower and shave, the Second Law of Thermodynamics has cooled the coffee to room temp or below. Add some ice and a little soy (we don’t do cow juice in my house) and eccola!

  13. -R-

    I know that in Europe, ice is not used too much, but do they not even sell ice cube trays in Italy?

    That iced coffee looks good!

  14. Jane

    I love iced coffee and that sure does look good!! Happy Monday!

  15. Sharon

    Iced coffee is a good thing. Thanks for the reminder. I use American style coffee. Put some (hot coffee) into a glass add ice and milk. Very smooth and delish. I do not add sugar. For me I have to start with the coffee hot.

  16. Paolo

    My fiancΓ©e’s only complaints about Italian restaurants are the lack of the following:

    1. ghiaccio
    2. maionese

    For the latter, we carry little self-serve packets wherever we go; still trying to work out a fix for the former.

  17. cheeky

    Fresh orange is my absolute fave beverage, but fresh being the key!
    I don’t drink coffee but I love the smell.
    Isn’t it just more satisfying making it yourself, which in return makes it taste better? Saving a few euros just ices the cake, or shall we say coffee.
    for you:

  18. cheeky

    Oops that was supose to be a link but I guess it cuts it off when it’s too long to fit? I haven’t sloved/figured that one out yet.

  19. cheeky

    *solved, even – sorry I’m hogging up comment space now! bugger.

  20. Sara

    I love iced coffee, drink it all summer long, but without milk or sugar. My mother taught me to fill ice cube trays with brewed coffee and use the resulting coffee ice cubes in tall glasses of pre-brewed, normal-strength coffee that had been stored unadulterated in pitchers in the fridge. Served clean like this and very, very cold, it’s very refreshing and calorie-free.

    I also like it sweetened and milked the Thai way — the coffee brewed ultra-strong, mixed liberally with sweetened condensed milk*, and poured over water-based ice — and served with very spicy food fresh out of the frying pan. This is not calorie-free by any means, though, so in spite of severe temptation, I usually limit myself to just one glass per meal, and only indulge while dining at a Thai restaurant. πŸ™‚

    *I get condensed and evaporated milk confused every time. I said condensed here but might mean evaporated.

  21. sognatrice

    Stefanie, I thought it looked good too, but then again, I’m fond of the tall drink.

    Mary, yes, the word “shakerato” cracks me up too; maybe that’s really why I avoid ordering one πŸ˜‰

    TheOG, that is odd. Feel free to start up a franchise with my secret recipe. I’ll have my people (Luna) contact your people (who are they again?).

    Stargazer, thanks for coming over; yes, you certainly brought out some Philly nostalgia even I didn’t know I had πŸ˜‰

    Paolo, I like the trick with the cold water and the pot. It’s very paesano πŸ™‚ Here around me they give you mayonnaise all the time with french fries, so you could always order them if you forget your packets. Carrying ice around? Yeah, not so convenient.

    R, well they *do* have ice trays here, but the ones I’ve found are very flimsy and have broken to bits when I tried to crack them to get the ice out. Don’t know my own strength! The popular thing, if anything, is the perforated bag–you fill the bag with water, which has perforated circles throughout. I’ll have to take a photo of one of these b/c I’m not doing it justice here.

    Jane, thanks! Happy Monday to you as well πŸ™‚

    Cheeky, you’re too funny! Here is your link, and I’ll put it over on the meme post too. Anyhoo, I really don’t like orange juice unless it freshly squeezed either. I *hate* the packaged stuff!

    Sara, great wonderful tips, thanks so much for sharing! P already thinks I’m strange for drinking this at all; I can’t imagine how he’d look at my coffee ice cubes! Especially once they’re next to my pesto ones once the basil’s back in season πŸ˜‰ And to be honest with you, I mix up condensed and evaporated too, so wish me luck in trying out your suggestion!

  22. Anonymous

    they don’t serve caffe freddo in your neck of the woods? here in rome every single bar has a glass bottle of ice-cold espresso, especially during the summer months.

  23. Kali

    I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do love the smell of it! And I’m a sucker for the atmosphere of a good little coffee place…

    About the ice…what’s the deal with Italy and ice? I’ve noticed that it’s very difficult to get ice there, but I’m not quite sure why Italians don’t use ice regularly.

  24. jason evans

    Those oranges look delicious!

    Thanks for the visit to The Clarity of Night. πŸ™‚

  25. JennDZ

    I love iced coffee! Living in Florida, some days it is just too hot for regular espresso. Plus, I can’t drink the whole pot of hot espresso at once or I would fly away to some far and distant land!

    So I save half of it and put it in a glass in the fridge, then the next day add ice cubes and milk and cinnamon! YUMMY!

  26. Ninotchka

    Those oranges! :::kissing my fingers:::: MUAH. Gorgeous.

  27. Maile

    Well, I’m not a big fan of coffee, sugar or milk these days, but I love that iced coffee picture! Such a comforting color to me–reminds me of the coffee ice cream that was one of my favorites as a child.

  28. Shelby

    mmmm now I want some coffee.. I’ll wait til morning tho. take care.

  29. sognatrice

    Anon in Rome, yes, there’s cold coffee here in bars (in fact, that’s what P drinks). But it’s not the same as what I make at home. First, at the bar, it’s gritty, like granita, and when I want to drink something, I don’t like the little ice shavings in it, although I do like granita when I want that (I like ice cubes in my drinks, which, as I said, I would have to bring with me); second, I like the taste of coffee brewed at home better (I know I’m in the minority on that); third, they don’t have low-fat milk at the bar, so I’d have to bring that too; fourth, I like drinking a big glass/mug of something as I ease my way into the morning in the comfort of my house; and finally, I’m trying to save euros here!

    One might say I’m particular πŸ˜‰

    Kali, for the most part, Italians don’t believe in anything too hot or too cold, and for goodness’ sake, don’t ingest both one after the other! It’s something about digestion, a topic that is near and dear to many Italians’ hearts. I believe Michellanea has written on this, and perhaps others?

    Jason, thanks for stopping by! I love your photos and writing πŸ™‚

    Jenn, mmm, cinnamon! Great idea!

    Nino, I thought you might like those πŸ˜‰

    Maile, thanks for stopping by! I love the color too, and I *love* coffee ice cream.

    Shelby, nice to see you around; hope you’ll enjoy your next cuppa πŸ˜‰

  30. Poppy Fields

    I am adopting this recipe, pronto!

  31. Erin

    smart girl!

    (no ice? that’s strange)

  32. it's me, Val

    Yummmmmmmm, Sognatrice! Can I come over some morning?! πŸ™‚

  33. sognatrice

    Poppy and Erin, glad you like the idea, and Val, you’re welcome anytime you’re in southern Italy πŸ™‚

  34. Karen Beth

    You are like an angel straight from … er … Italy πŸ™‚ with this post and this process. I have been craving a way to make some sort of iced coffee concoction at home and this fits the bill.

    As for the question I’m about to ask, please bear in mind that I’m not a barrista nor do I have any special coffee knowledge… How does one make espresso?

    Please don’t pelt me with oranges for asking that. πŸ™‚

  35. sognatrice

    Karen Beth, it’s not a dumb question at all; I’m guessing that most of us who came to Italy had to learn (I sure did); my family never made espresso at home in the States.

    Anyway, first you need an espresso pot, called a moka, which is a stove top machine; the process is shown and discussed here . You’d also need to find espresso, of course πŸ˜‰

    If not, though, you can still do this with whatever coffee you’d normally drink–I’ve made it with Folgers, and I like it just fine πŸ™‚

  36. Karen Beth

    Thanks, Sognatrice! I don’t have one of the Moka devices here. I had one at one time, a nice vintage one but I gave it away. Le sigh… what was I thinking??? But, in the interim before I DO get another one, I’ve made up a very strong pot of regular coffee, popped it in the fridge and plan to try this delectable treat in the morning. I can’t wait! Thanks for the direction!

  37. sognatrice

    Karen Beth, bummer about the Moka–never know when you’re going to need something, eh? Anyway, the regular coffee will work fine; I’m assuming that what a place like Dunkin’ Donuts uses anyway, and I love their iced coffees.

  38. Karen Beth

    I finally figured out how to make this and I’m HOOKED on it now. So yummy! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  39. sognatrice

    Karen Beth, glad you got it worked out. It took me a few times to get everything in the proportions I wanted, but now it’s automatic…and delicious πŸ™‚

  40. 09.02.2009

    Great recipe! Will have to try it. I also could never figure out how to make good iced coffee. I think you should set up shop on the corner with an iced coffee stand in the summer. You never know. You could end up with a booming business πŸ™‚

    If you ever get to a Grom gelateria, you have to try their caffe gelato. It is heavenly! Best caffe gelato I have ever had. The pistacchio is also fabulous.

    I’m sure I’d love them both…together in fact πŸ˜€
    .-= girasoliΒ΄s last blog market in Bologna =-.

  1. [...] love it so much it just may be replacing my iced coffee as my morning brew these days when you just have...
  2. [...] And it is. This is a cold, non-alcoholic, carbonated coffee drink, so you can just as easily slug this d...
Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake