Regardless of the weather, I only drink hot coffee. Even in my non-air conditioned apartment in August, when on some mornings it feels like 89ºF with 150 percent humidity, it’s a cup of hot coffee or no coffee at all. I say this as a precursor to a recipe for a type of iced coffee to prove not that I am a hypocrite, but to explain that Thai iced coffee is really that good.
Similar in preparation to Thai iced tea, Thai iced coffee gets its killer flavor from sweetened milk and ground cardamom. Recipes tend to vary: Some call for lightening the coffee with sweetened condensed milk, others suggest serving with evaporated milk and a simple syrup, or argue on behalf of sweetened half-and-half. Regardless of method, a perfect Thai iced tea happens when the bitterness of the super-strong coffee coffee is soothed by sweet milk, and the two balance each other out, letting a hit of cardamon shine through brightly with each sip.
Thai iced coffee begins with very strong coffee, which can be achieved through 2 shots espresso or drip coffee brewed with roughly the same amount of coffee grounds as water (to serve 1, use ¼ cup water and ¼ cup coffee grounds). You heard me when I said strong, right? Before brewing the coffee or pulling the espresso, toss in ½ teaspoon ground cardamon with the grounds, then brew.
If you’re using coffee pods or forgot to add the cardamom earlier, all is not lost: Once you’ve brewed the coffee, whisk in ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom. Place the coffee in the refrigerator to chill.
At this point, there are a few ways to achieve the creamy factor of a Thai iced coffee. You can use sweetened condensed milk (whisk together 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk with ¼ cup 2 percent milk), evaporated milk (whisk together ¼ cup evaporated milk with 2 teaspoons simple syrup) or half-and-half (when brewing the coffee, whisk in 2 teaspoons brown sugar while it's still hot. Then, at the milk stage, whisk together 3 tablespoons half-and-half with ½ cup 2 percent milk).
When you’re ready to serve, fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the chilled coffee, the top with the milk mixture of your choice. Top with a light sprinkle of ground cardamom.