Making Iced Coffee and Tea with the Keurig Platinum B70
Whether it's gathering round the patio after a hearty BBQ or heading out for a drive on a lazy Summer week-end, those of you who purchased the new Keurig Platinum B70 this past year can cool off by taking advantage of a neat little feature which has yet to appear on other Keurig models: you can now make iced coffees/teas which you can customize to your own flavor preferences.
Why pay upwards of $2.50 for an iced coffee or iced tea at a coffee shop or fast food restaurant when you can make your own at home? Over the past few weeks, we've been testing various K-Cups to see which ones were best suited to be "iced" vs. prepared in their usual manner. Let’s take a quick look at some of our favorite varieties along with flavoring suggestions for each.
It should be noted that we used unflavored 10% blend cream and all-natural Stevia sugar substitute to achieve some of the sweeter iced latte drinks. We realize most of our readers may not have easy access to specialty coffee flavoring syrups, so we decided not to use any during our testing. Feel free to use half & half or 1% skim milk and whatever sweeteners/flavorings you prefer.
Single Serve K-Cup Iced Coffees
Dark Roasts & Extra Bolds – This variety will yield the strongest taste and will obviously be favored by those who prefer these types of K-Cups. We suggest a generous blend of cream & sweetener to prevent things from becoming too bitter. This type of K-Cup would probably hold up well with added flavor syrups. In our opinion, this is the best choice if you’re attempting to make a flavored iced latte drink. The truly adventurous can take this straight-up on the rocks. We liked Tully’s French Roast & Green Mountain’s Extra Bold Dark Magic.
Medium Roasts & Flavored Roasts – Best paired with cream & sugar. Some flavored roasts might have a strong enough flavor which will not require addition of any sweeteners or syrups. Our favorites so far have been Green Mountain’s fruit flavors such as Fair Trade Raspberry Rhapsody, Fair Trade Wild Mountain Blueberry & even their Southern Pecan. We also enjoyed Timothy’s Caramel Vanilla Nut & Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee. Fruit flavors seemed ideal straight-up on the rocks (the raspberry was amazing) & anything with hints of caramel or nut notes always goes well with cream, sweeteners and perhaps the occasional touch of flavor syrup.
Light Roasts – This one was a little too weak for our liking. Once we added creamer & the ice started to melt, any remaining flavor became too diluted. Maybe some syrups might help, although those who prefer lighter-tasting drinks might actually enjoy this.
Single Serve K-Cup Iced Teas
Herbal Teas – We tried Timothy’s Lemon Blueberry Passion Tea and were quite surprised by the results. It was like drinking a mild blueberry lemonade. The fact that this tea was colored added a nice visual touch. We’re still on the lookout for more herbal teas to try and can only imagine they would probably also go well over ice.
Traditional Teas (White, Green & Black) – Timothy’s Orange Indulgence White Tea yielded a very light tasting drink with very faint hints of orange (the ice diluted the taste), while their Cranberry Twist Green Tea resulted in a nearly identical flavor as when it’s prepared hot. Bigelow’s English Breakfast Tea was best served with several lemon wedges and a splash of sweetener.
Specialty Teas – What kind of review would this be if we didn’t try the obvious… a chai latte! We took Timothy’s Chai Tea and fine-tuned the mix of cream & sweetener until we hit the perfect balance. It was almost like an iced version of Tassimo’s Twinings Chai Latte without the shelf-stable milk aftertaste.
Making Iced Teas and Iced Coffees with the Keurig Platinum B70
So how does the new Keurig Platinum B70 go about making iced beverages anyway? Simple, the “iced beverage” setting has a max output of 3oz which yields VERY strong “shots” of coffee (depending on the roast) & tea from a K-Cup. As the hot coffee/tea hits the ice cubes, the ones in the center of the cup start quickly melting, immediately diluting the strong taste by turning into water while also forcing the temperature of the drink to drop. The ice cubes near the wall of the cup melt at a slightly slower rate and further help cool down the temperature of the drink. Once brewing is complete, a quick stir will completely chill the drink to normal “iced beverage” levels and slow down the melting rate of the remaining ice cubes. Our tests showed ice remaining in our drinks for as much as 1 hour after brewing (when using a double-walled glass)
This got us thinking… couldn’t you use any Keurig model to make iced beverages? Yes, but not without a bit of a hassle. We tested with a B50 as well as the Mini B30 and found out the hard way that there’s no easy method to halting a Keurig machine mid-brew unless you yank out the power cord. Both models overflowed (due to larger default brew sizes) or yielded severely watered-down beverages which didn’t have much taste. To be honest, we preferred to take the lazy way out and simply use a machine that had the proper preset. Hopefully Keurig will start introducing their 3oz iced beverage setting throughout their entire line-up instead of limiting it to one of their premium models.
As we’ve noted earlier, iced beverages can be enjoyed at home or on the go. Any heat/cold resistant mug or glass will do at home but we suggest getting a small insulated travel mug (in the 5 or 6oz range) when heading out. The insulation should prevent the ice from melting too quickly and you’ll be doing your part to help the environment by using a washable mug vs. a paper or plastic cup usually favored by various coffee shops/restaurants.
With the hundreds of K-Cup flavors available at stores and online, the possibilities for iced K-Cup beverages are almost endless. The key thing is to have fun and experiment… a lot. Also, don’t get too disappointed if you end up throwing away a few bad batches as it took us a few trial & error runs before we figured out what worked best.
So grab some ice cubes, brew-up a cup, sit back & relax… because Keurig B70 fans, you just got one more reason to look forward to Summer each year.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at June 8, 2009 7:58 AM