The Iced Coffee Battle

My iced coffee from Starbucks in Colorado. (click to see larger)Coffee is one of my favorite things in the world.  Being a night person, I have to drink massive amounts of caffeine to wake up – and stay up – during the day.  If anyone ever makes a cartoon series about my life, my character will likely always have a cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, one of coffee’s main traits is something that isn’t always helpful to my comfort.  It’s hot.  Sipping on a mug of hot coffee is amazing on a cold winter morning, but not so great on a stifling summer afternoon.  Hence, someone came up with the invention of iced coffee.

I’m not a coffee historian, so I don’t know who the first person was to drop ice in their hot, bitter drink.  I can imagine it was some frustrated man who happened to be sweating away inside of a hot business suit, and he decided he couldn’t take it any longer.  In an attempt to cool off, he bought a giant bag of ice to dump over his head.  Some fell into his cup and a new drink was born.

As usual when having too much coffee, I’m getting off topic.  Today, I’m going to compare the iced coffee I find in Hungary with the iced coffee I drink in the U.S.A.  In short, they’re very different.

Maybe this cocktail bus in Budapest will make me iced coffee... (click to see larger)U.S. iced coffee tends to be a large cup that’s full of watery coffee.  Most people add cream and sugar, but I think that highlights the bad parts while destroying the good stuff.  The important thing is that it’s ice cold, and it comes in a big cup.

Hungarian iced coffee tends to be different.  More than once, I’ve ordered iced coffee and received hardly any coffee.  The cup usually contains a lot of ice cream, a lot of whipped cream, and a little bit of coffee.  It’s almost like ordering an ice cream with a little coffee on top.  But, is that really a bad thing?

Now I’m sure there are places in Hungary that would give me the American style, and no doubt there are places in the U.S. that would throw some sweet stuff in with my drink.  The part I find most interesting is the generalizations involved.  American foods are known for being unhealthy and served in massive quantities, while European cuisine is usually smaller portions of higher quality.  So, the portion size matches up here, but the health aspect doesn’t.  Nutrition isn’t my area of expertise, but I assume a watery cup of coffee is healthier than a few scoops of ice cream and whipped cream.

All that being said, why am I even talking about this?  It’s summer and it’s hot, so drink some iced coffee.  That’s all I’m really trying to say.  If you like ice cream, toss it in.  If you don’t, leave it out.  As a cold weather loving person, I just try to find ways to stay cool.

 Not iced coffee, but it is in a mug from the University of Colorado! (click to see larger)

Hungarian word of the day:

Jég Kávé

Pronounced “Yay-g cah (like CAT without the T) –vay.”  It means (maybe) iced coffee.  I’m pretty sure this is what I’ve read on Hungarian menus, but I’m on the other side of the world so it’s hard to check.