Bring Fall Flavor To Your Iced Coffee Without Any Pumpkin In Sight

The dominant coffee flavor in fall is undoubtedly pumpkin spice. Though it has seen a boom in recent years — with every pumpkin spice product one can imagine, from cookies to creamer – the popularity of pumpkin spice might be waning. A 2022 survey by Fire Department Coffee showed that 37% of those surveyed are growing tired of the flavor. If you're a part of that dissatisfied crowd, we're here to tell you that there is another autumnal staple that can flavor your coffee: apples.

Apple season typically runs from the tail end of summer right up to the fringes of winter. With the entirety of fall encapsulated in that time frame, why not give apples their fair share and flavor your coffee with them? Together, apples and coffee actually enhance each other's flavors. The sugars in the apples bring out the woodier tones of certain coffee, cutting through the bitterness and providing sweeter, complex notes. There isn't as much potential to lose the flavor of the coffee the way you sometimes can with pumpkin spice. However, you'll still get that fall sensation that you're looking for.

So, how exactly do you combine the two together into a nice, iced coffee? There are a few different methods you can employ, depending on how sweet or strong you want your coffee. However, the principles of building flavors in a mixed coffee drink remain the same. 

Ways to make apple iced coffee

It all starts with your choice of brew method. An espresso shot is going to give you the most intense flavor to pair against the sweeter apple notes. However, you will need an espresso machine in order to pull a proper espresso at home. Excellent alternatives would be stovetop coffee from a Moka Pot or a strongly brewed dark roast in a French press or drip machine. 

For the apple element, you can do a few things. You could mix together some apple syrup and fresh, unsweetened apple juice, providing good sweetness while still retaining the apple flavor. Can't find apple syrup? Make an apple juice reduction with some brown sugar to do the trick. The coffee-to-apple ratio will depend on how sweet or strong you want the drink to be. Start with a tablespoon or so of apple syrup (or your juice reduction) and go from there. Remember, you can always add more. Great additional flavors to include in your drink are cinnamon, vanilla, and even a dash of nutmeg. 

For assembly, wait for your coffee to cool to room temperature, then mix in the apple juice and the sweetener. Pour it all over ice, and serve with a garnish. You could also layer the syrup, juice, and coffee over one another using the back of a spoon, the same way you would when making a black-and-tan, pousse cafe, or Irish coffee. Either way, you're in for one flavorful, fall drink without a pumpkin in sight.