A Coffee Lovers Guide to Summer

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Some people say summer is the worst time to drink coffee—mostly people with inefficient air conditioners. But we say summer is a uniquely special time for coffee lovers.

Just like with autumn, winter, and spring, there’s a whole summer coffee culture that’s worth celebrating. In fact, summer may be the season that’s best suited for coffee experimentation! We’ll explain later… 

So whether you’re going to spend long days by the pool, take a cross-country family road trip, or just try to endure the heat, we have something for you to explore.

  • The #1 kind of coffee for people who like to get creative with recipes

  • An easy recipe for delicious iced lattes at home

  • 3 essential tips for brewing A+ coffee while you travel

Behold, the coffee lover’s guide to summer!

Cold Brew Coffee Is Summer Magic On Ice

If you live anywhere other than under a rock, you know that cold brew coffee has exploded in popularity in the last five years. This unique type of coffee, made with cold water instead of hot, is surprisingly versatile—there’s almost no end to how creatively you can use it.

Here’s why it’s magic… 

  • It has ~66% less acidity

  • And ~66% less bitterness

  • And it’s made as a concentrate that you can dilute with any liquid

What you end up with is a super smooth coffee with all the rich aromas and sugars, but without harsh bitter or sour notes. 

Read: Battle of the Brews: Hot, Iced, and Cold Brew Coffee Explained

It’s a completely different experience than regular hot-brewed coffee, which is why it’s so versatile (you won’t believe the creative recipes we’re about to show you).

Making Cold Brew Coffee At Home Is A Breeze

Here’s how it works… 

  • Mix cold water and coffee grounds at 2-3x strength

  • Steep for 12+ hours at room temperature

  • Filter the liquid cold brew concentrate from the grounds

  • Dilute with water to taste and add ice for a smooth iced cold brew coffee

Read our complete cold brew coffee guide here.

Cold brew can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, so it’s easy to make a big batch and always have it ready when you need it.

It’s possible to use a french press to steep the coffee, but the process feels a little clunky and can be messy. That’s why we made the ESPRO Cold Brew coffee maker. Way easier. Trust us.

5 Summer Coffee Recipes You Can’t Miss

Cold brew coffee is super smooth, so it blends with a huge range of flavors that regular coffee would normally clash with. Definitely enjoy regular iced cold brew coffee, but don’t be afraid to let your creative side go a little wild.

Here are five recipes you have to try.

Cold Brew Lemonade

Without much natural acidity, cold brew coffee blends really well with the zing of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Worried about sour coffee? Don’t! You can easily adjust the recipe to match your tastes (but you might find you like a bolder lemony tang).

  • 5 oz cold brew coffee

  • 5 oz fresh lemonade

Mix the two ingredients, add ice, and stir it all together. Simple, refreshing, energizing.

DIY Iced Cold Brew Latte

Cold brew concentrate is a fantastic stand-in for espresso (and much easier to make at home). Mix it with some milk of your choice and a flavored syrup and you have yourself a delicious iced latte. We love a floral lavender syrup or a more fruity elderberry syrup.

  • 3 oz cold brew coffee

  • 7 oz milk

  • 1-2 oz syrup

Mix up those ingredients, add your ice, and all of the sudden your worries will melt away.

Cold Brew Soda

Not feeling a milky drink and want something a little lighter? Switch out that milk with your favorite bubbly water and you’ve got a fizzy, extra-caffeinated alternative to classic soda. Once again, don’t let anyone stop you from getting creative with a fun summery syrup, like apple or basil.

  • 3 oz cold brew coffee

  • 7 oz soda water

  • 1-2 oz syrup

Mix up the coffee and syrup, then top with soda water and ice.

Cold Brew Sangria

Wait, sangria with coffee? Yes! Works like a charm and tastes amazing. The perfect late afternoon treat when you need some extra good vibes. This one works well made as a pitcher for groups.

  • 1 oz cold brew coffee

  • 2 oz fruity red wine

  • 0.5 oz simple syrup

  • 3 oz soda water (to taste) 

Half-fill a glass with ice. Add coffee, wine, and simple syrup, then add soda water to taste and gently stir. Garnish with berries. Perfect.

Cold Brew Martini

This martini cocktail is quickly becoming a modern classic. It’s easy to make, uses just a few ingredients, and is the perfect balance of coffee strength and vodka excitement.

  • 2 oz cold brew coffee

  • 2 oz vodka

  • 0.5 oz simple syrup

  • 1 oz coffee liqueur

Shaken, not stirred. Top with whole coffee beans.

Travel And Trips: How To Take Your Coffee With You

One of the best parts of summer is the feeling of freedom. Road trips to national parks, flights to far-away cities, quick getaways to grandma’s house—no matter where you go, you don’t have to leave your coffee behind.

Because we all know how terrible hotel coffee is (and your aunt’s 20-year-old coffee pot has seen cleaner days).

Taking the coffee you love on your adventures is often made out to be more complex than it has to be. Let’s keep things simple.

Here’s the essential gear you need… 

  • Travel Coffee Maker — We strongly suggest staying away from a breakable glass french press or a brewer that requires extra gear to work, like a special kettle. Keep things simple. Our Ultralight Travel Press is compact, durable enough for any adventure, and straightforward to use.

  • Portable Coffee Grinder — Ideally, you still want to grind your coffee beans fresh right before you brew. We suggest a manual coffee grinder. They’re slim, lightweight, and quick to use.

  • Access to Hot Water — Hotels tend to keep hot water on tap for tea or coffee. Your aunt’s house has a pot you can heat up water on the stove with, if not a kettle. The only place you’re not going to find access to hot water is in the wilderness, and if you’re going on that kind of adventure, we sure hope you’re planning on taking a portable gas stove.

  • Your Favorite Beans — You know what to do here.

Don’t let being away from the house keep you from the coffee you love.

Coffee Bean Recommendations For Summer

Here’s the thing: there’s less of a regular “seasonality guide” for coffee than there is for other agricultural products, like kale or pumpkins. Coffee grows all over the world, and beans are almost continually being harvested somewhere.

There are, however, some flavor profiles that just seem inherently paired with summer. 

  • We love light, fruity, and whimsical flavors in summer. On our lineup for the season are sweet and fruity Ethiopian beans, bright and floral Central Americans, and beans from Burundi that are known for their complex flavors and soda-like acidity.

 
  • We’re also picking cold brew friendly beans. Since cold brewing leaves with much less bitterness and acidity, we suggest using coffees that don’t rely on those flavors to taste delicious. Typically beans with rich aromas—chocolate, floral, fruity—work best for cold brew.

Summer is the quintessential season for exploration and discovery, and we’re excited to extend that adventure to our coffee.

Will you join us?