Iced Americano from Costa: Not an iced coffee

As at least one reader of my blog knows, I’ve been spending some time in the UK over the past day. To help with the jet lag and grueling tour schedules, I accompanied my somewhat British friend to Costa, the British “Starbucks Equivalent.” (We always need more Starbucks…that’s why there are boatloads of Starbuckses in Britain.)


I will quote a conversation between the clerk and me:

Q: Can I have an iced coffee with whole milk and sugar?
A: You want an Americano? Sugar is over there.
Q: That's fine.

After a tremendous wait, the clerk produced what looked like a frothed beverage, entirely foam with ice, which could almost be mistaken at first glance for a blended iced coffee. Sipping it, I was hit with a fresh punch of superconcentrated bitter coffee which had been, somehow, frothed into coffee tasting foam. Over the next few minutes, as I stared at it, the bottom began to turn darker as the foam subsided. And by darker I mean completely and totally opaque black.

There was no milk in it.

What is it? This article provides some insight. Apparently it’s some strange espresso-like coffee. What confuses me is exactly why the clerk would respond to “may I have an iced coffee?” with “Oh, you mean an Americano!”

Regardless, if you find yourself in London and you’re suffering from jet lag and you REALLY need to stay very much awake (and/or want to start shivering violently from caffeine overdose) for a few hours, the Americano is for you! Otherwise…you may want to be wary.

2 thoughts on “Iced Americano from Costa: Not an iced coffee”

  1. Looks like they did (slightly) misunderstand you. I drink my iced americano with skimmed milk and it looks incredibly different – and the taste is completely different. Also (and I do think this is wrong) depending on who serves you depends on how much ice:coffee:milk you get – which is slightly annoying!

    All that said I am a regular at my local costa and the two managers who always serve me are always helpful 🙂

  2. I have just returned from a holiday in Greece where I came to love Espresso ‘Semi-Freddo’. Basically, an Americano (no milk) or double-shot espresso with crushed ice to make it a long drink. With or without sugar. Delicious. Have just tried to get the same in local Costa. Despite the best efforts of the person serving, it seems that there is no equivalent here. Bit disappointing for one of our major coffee chains.

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