This post was done in partnership with Gevalia Coffee, who sponsored this post by providing the compensation and cold brew concentrate ingredients in this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own — thank you for supporting Hummingbird High and all my sponsors!
A few years ago, when living in San Francisco, I found myself hooked to a local coffee shop’s New Orleans-style iced coffee. What makes a coffee “New Orleans-style”? The addition of chicory, a spice made from a floral root. Chicory in coffee has a long, sordid history in New Orleans; in the past, it’s been used as a substitute for real coffee, or as an additive to bolster the flavor of weak coffee. I personally like it in my coffee for flavor — chicory gives the coffee an added richness and sweetness that’s hard to mimic. Indeed, despite no recent coffee bean shortages or scarcities, several coffee shops in New Orleans continue to add chicory to their roasts and concentrates for the added flavor.
But recently I was back in San Francisco and was excited by the chance to retry New Orleans-style iced coffee from that same coffee shop. I was surprised to find myself disappointed. The coffee tasted incredibly sour, and the chicory was almost imperceptible! Plus, an hour later, my stomach was in knots from the coffee’s intense acidity.
After that less-than-perfect experience, I’ve been making a low maintenance version at home that matches my standards and the coffee I remember from many years ago. I start with Gevalia Cold Brew iced coffee concentrate. Gevalia makes their concentrate from Arabica coffee beans; these beans undergo a cold brewing process that results in a naturally concentrated coffee without the bitterness or acidity of typical cold brews. There’s none of the sourness you get from other brands, and it definitely doesn’t give my stomach the tummyache I sometimes get when drinking other coffee brands. I infuse the concentrate with cinnamon and chicory overnight (the vanilla flavor works especially well with those spices), and in the morning, I’m greeted with the New Orleans iced coffee of my dreams.
- If you live in the South, you should be able to find chicory easily (sold as Instant Chicory) near the instant coffee selection in the coffee and tea aisle in any major supermarket. It’s harder to find in coastal states, so I recommend sourcing the spice online via Amazon. New Yorkers — I was able to get a generous pack for cheap at Kalustyan’s.
- Plan ahead for this one! To infuse the Gevalia Cold Brew iced coffee concentrate with additional spices, I poured the amount needed into a small mason jar with cinnamon sticks and a generous amount of chicory and let steep overnight. Because it’s a cold infusion, it’ll take longer to actually infuse the coffee concentrate than if you were to boil the concentrate with the spices. I don’t suggest cooking them together as I find it tends to affect the concentrate’s flavor, and I like it as it is!
Overnight New Orleans Style Iced Coffee
- a mason jar with a lid
- a fine-mesh sieve
- 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) Gevalia Cold Brew Iced Coffee Concentrate
- 1 tablespoon chicory (see baker's notes for sources)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) whole milk
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- ice, for serving
- When ready to serve, use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the Gevalia Cold Brew Iced Coffee Concentrate into a large liquid measuring cup. Discard the cinnamon stick and chicory pieces. Divide the coffee concentrate evenly between two pint glasses, each containing 3 fluid ounces. Divide 3/4 cup whole milk and 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk between the two glasses, giving each a good stir with a long spoon. Serve with ice and enjoy immediately!