Welp, Coffee Lemonade Is Actually Not Horrible

by Karen Miner

As a former food editor, my inbox still fills up daily with pitches exalting the latest, greatest, must-try, not-to-be-missed trends of the food and drink world. And for the most part, these pitches go straight to the ol' trash can. (Sorry, PR reps... I know you've got a rough job.)

But every once in a while, a pitch catches my eye — in particular this subject line: "Coffee Lemonade Trend."

First thought: "Nope." Seconds later: "OK, I have to try this to see how disgusting it is."

From what The Google tells me, this is not in fact a new "trend." Mazagran, "the original iced coffee," has origins in Algeria from waaaaay back in the day, with the addition of lemon made by the Portuguese somewhere along the way. So let's not get cocky thinking we're inventing the wheel here, OK?

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Onto the taste test, where I was 1000 percent certain I would immediately spit this concoction into the sink because I am a coffee snob who wants nothing in my coffee but coffee. Maybe a splash of cream if I'm feeling frisky, but certainly not lemonade. Never lemonade.

Recipes for coffee lemonade differ from a 3:2 ratio to a 1:1 ratio; some have milk, some have almond milk, some have nothing added. I went with 3:2 chilled espresso:lemonade and a splash of milk (because almond milk tastes like paste, amirite?).

But here's where it gets really crazy. IT WASN'T BAD. And I really wanted to dislike it, but I kept sipping it, and sipping it some more. Now, do not go into this thinking that you're going to be drinking delicious, dark, strong, puts-hair-on-your-chest cold brew coffee. This is not that. The lemonade most definitely weakens that glorious espresso, but it adds a curious tang that I didn't hate. The splash of milk rounds it all out into a passable iced coffee drink. "Passable iced coffee drink" might not sound like a rave review, but given my initial feelings, I consider that a pretty high score. 

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Sadly, I missed one big opportunity here — having done more research on this concoction after I made it, I found out too late that the Portuguese also occasionally add rum to the mix. Next time I'm definitely adding rum.