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With warmer weather upon us, it’s time for coffee aficionados to find alternatives to that familiar steaming mug. Experimenting with iced coffee drinks is one way to put a cool twist on an old favorite.

If you love hot coffee, you will likely enjoy iced coffee if you learn to brew it correctly. Many people brew hot, regular strength coffee and pour it over ice, which can dilute the flavor; the secret to a perfect cup of iced coffee is to brew it double strength, chill and then add ice.

If you’re looking for flavor inspiration, try Latin American coffees. They are ideal for iced coffee because of their lively and bright flavors. The refreshing, crisp acidity of these coffees is a perfect fit for summer occasions. Layering in sweetness or simple ingredients like cream, fruit, vanilla, chocolate or even carbonation creates an almost endless array of unique flavor possibilities.

Many of America’s favorite brands now offer their coffees for flawless preparation at home, even for the novice barista. For example, Seattle’s Best Coffee is roasted to be smooth and approachable with no sharp edges.

Their coffees are organized into five levels that make it easy to identify the right flavor to fit your taste preference. For example, Levels One and Two are lightly roasted Latin American blends that appeal to a wide range of tastes. Level Three steps up the intensity with medium acidity and a nutty nuance, while Levels Four and Five offer increasingly bold flavors.

There are few rules to follow when creating your own ideal iced coffee drink, but if you’re looking for a starting point, indulge in this recipe that combines fresh fruit, effervescence and a full-flavored coffee for a refreshing summer treat.

Iced coffee concentrate
Filter cone (preferred method is Melitta cone)
Paper cone-shaped coffee filter
1 cup–(99 grams) medium ground coffee (Level One or Two recommended)
2 cups–water

Place paper cone filter in a carafe and add coffee grounds. Heat water to optimal temperature for coffee brewing (195 degrees F – 205 degrees F). Pour hot water over grounds. Once the coffee has brewed into the carafe, remove and discard paper filter. Chill and store concentrate in the refrigerator for up to two days.

12 servings

1/4 cup–sugar                                  
3 cups–cranberry juice                              
1 cup–orange juice                              
1 cup–blueberries                              
1 1/2 cups–strawberries (whole or half)                  
1–orange sliced into 1/4-inch wheels      
2 cups–Level 2 coffee concentrate      
1 cup–soda water

Combine sugar, juices and fruit in a pitcher. Stir to dissolve sugar. Let chill for several hours.
Before serving, add Level 2 cold brewed coffee and stir to combine. To serve, evenly divide fruit into tall glasses. Fill with sangria. Finish each glass with a splash of soda water.

To garnish, combine the grated zest of an orange with equal amount sugar and dip moistened rims of tall glasses into the mixture.

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