NYCGuide

Fancy Iced Coffees That Will Cure Your Existential Dread

It's hot outside, and you haven't left your apartment. Go get yourself an elaborate iced latte.

Fancy Iced Coffees That Will Cure Your Existential Dread guide image

Iced coffee is a lifestyle. For some, it’s a seasonal pleasure that we cling to from the moment it’s almost warm enough to put away our puffy coats. For others, there is simply no other way to drink coffee. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, there are times when you need more than just a caffeine delivery system. You want a tiny luxury experience, a reminder that it’s worth living in a city where everything is harder than it needs to be. Even if all you’ve accomplished today is successfully dragging yourself out of bed, well, that’s not nothing. So put your headphones in, go for a walk, and get yourself a fancy iced coffee.

THE SPOTS

Café Leon Dore  review image

Café Leon Dore

$$$$
Hours:SUN
11AM-6PM

You might be hesitant to join the line of influencers waiting in line for the freddo cappuccino at Cafe Leon Doré, but we’re here to tell you that it’s actually legit. Order yours with honey for a touch of added sweetness to round out this combination of bitter espresso and cloud-like skim milk foam. We implore you to get your cappuccino with a trio of Greek cookies, because they're simply too delicious to skip.

Do you want coffee that also tastes like a cookie? Get the butter-covered latte at Round K, a Korean-inspired spot that’s equal parts all-day café and speakeasy. The latte is topped with an espresso microfoam and a dusting of chocolate cookie crumbs, the whole thing evoking a melted Oreo dipped in coffee. Also worth trying is the Flat Purple, which combines cold brew with ube cream for something that tastes a bit like caffeinated ube cheesecake. It’s worth noting that the food here is good, too. We love the Korean party toast, and they make their fluffy scrambled eggs using an espresso machine steam wand.

If you’ve never experienced the delightful combination of coffee and carbonated beverages, try it at The Blue Light Speak Cheesy. Smooth, strong cold brew concentrate is cut with Fever Tree’s elderflower-infused tonic, then finished with a twist of lemon. It’s simple, it’s sophisticated, it’s refreshing AF when it’s hot out. It’s also the perfect option for those times when you want a fancy coffee drink that doesn’t rely on some kind of creamy liquid to make it sing. 

Kam Hing is the spot for when you want coffee that feels like a treat, but you don’t want to spend $7 on it. This Hong Kong-style café in Chinatown makes the best sponge cakes in town, which is important to note, since you can get sponge cake and a Thai or Vietnamese iced coffee for less than $5. It’s fancy coffee for when you don’t want to spend a lot of money, and it’s just as good as the pricier options on this list. Go all out and get some rice rolls too—your order will still clock in under $10.

The owners of this Korean-inspired coffee shop spent 10,000 hours becoming experts in the art of making the perfect coffee before they opened a cafe, which we think is… pretty cool, actually. The iced einspanner is their signature drink, combining fluffy layers of some kind of delicious cream (the recipe is secret and impossible to replicate, so they say), ice, milk, and espresso, then topping it off with a dusting of bittersweet cocoa powder. Resist the urge to mix it all up with a straw, and instead take slow, thoughtful sips, savoring each flavor and texture, not thinking about whatever task you’re putting off by drinking this coffee.

We’re not sure why cold brew slushies aren’t more of a thing, especially after trying Vineapple’s version. It’s literally just cold brew with a touch of oat milk and simple syrup, churned in a slushie machine, but it’s extremely satisfying. Vineapple has the kind of backyard most NYC residents can only dream of, so grab a caffeinated slushie, kick back, and pretend you’re rich enough to own a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights.

Black and white cookie-inspired treats are becoming increasingly common, but most of the ones that aren’t actually black and white cookies kind of suck. Cafe Kitsune’s black and white latte, which is only available at their Brooklyn location, is a happy exception to this rule.

If you want the most perfect coffee, period, check out the Dumbo outpost of % Arabica, which is known across the globe for its minimalist decor and extremely fresh coffee. We’re obsessed with everything at this cafe, but the Spanish Latte should be your first order. It’s a simple, flawless iced latte that’s taken to the next level with the addition of sweetened condensed milk. We think the little percent-sign logo on their cups is very cute, so go ahead and hold your drink up to the Brooklyn Bridge, snap a photo, and tell the world that you’re the kind of person who prioritizes self-care in the form of lattes.

Perhaps you need more than just iced coffee to ease the burden of being alive. If that’s the case, you should go to Remi43, a coffee and flower shop that feels like your own private botanical garden. They have a rotating selection of speciality lattes here, but we particularly love the rose or lavender varieties, which have subtle floral notes that accent the flavor of the espresso rather than making it taste like someone sprayed perfume in your drink. For $30, you can get an iced latte with a matching mini floral arrangement, delivered to your table in an extremely cute double-drink caddy. This combo actually serves a lot of purposes. It’s a quick and easy way to say “I’m sorry” or “I like you” or “I’m not telling you who bought me these flowers.”

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