Ice Coffee Round-up!

Laura and I love a good icy drink at our favourite cafes, and as summer is coming (one day!) it’s time to look at where in Wellington you can get a great ice coffee! In this review we cover six popular cafes and give you the low-down on which serves the best ice coffee!

Parade Cafe

Parade Cafe Ice Coffee

Cost: $5.50
Rating: 7.5/10
Comment: Tastes good, but expensive!

Peter : The Parade Cafe is a great spot on Wellington’s waterfront. On a fine day it’s a pleasant walk from the centre of town and after a coffee or a bite to eat you can enjoy a stroll along the harbour (and end up having an ice cream at Kaffee Eis, Bonus!). Parade Cafe is known for its good food and great patio space, so we thought it a good idea to examine their ice coffee in detail.

Laura: I’ve always thought Parade’s Ice coffee was unique. They only use honey to sweeten it (or so I’d like to think). They swirl the honey all around the inside of the glass, which looks great and tastes nice and rich. Yes it’s expensive for just a glass of ice coffee, but I’d like to think of it as a gourmet ice coffee. Not your usual, coffee mix with milk and sugar and ice or ice cream. Although..I couldn’t really taste the coffee, either they didn’t put enough coffee in it, or maybe the taste of the honey was just too strong, so it over powers the coffee. But I still love it! One refreshing drink on a hot sunny day, oh and it doesn’t taste too fattening too! I think I’ll put this ice coffee in my “guilt free” list because I think it’s one lite ice coffee (although I know it’s not, but let’s just keep it quiet shall we? =P )

Peter: Parade often does things a little differently, and this is true with their ice coffee. There is no lump of ice cream and it’s sweetened with honey. I like this ice coffee, it’s a little different from what you’ll get elsewhere in Wellington, but it is very, very sweet! And the coffee taste isn’t strong – which can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. I do appreciate the ice coffee not being swamped with a lump of ice cream, which for me takes away a lot of the point of an ice coffee, so it gets bonus marks from me for that. A good solid performer, well done Parade!

Espressoholic

Espressoholic ice coffeeCost: $4.50
Rating: 9/10
Comment: Creamy, tasty, great price!

Peter: I have a love-hate relationship with Espressoholic. On the one hand it’s really conveniently located in the middle of town, but on the other hand it tends to be loud and this can make it hard to have a conversation in . Then again, it does some of the nicest cakes around, but I don’t exactly find it a ‘relaxing’ place to enjoy your treats! I’m so conflicted! So, it was with trepidation I went in with Laura to try out their ice coffee. What would I do if they served up the best in town? If I wanted a relaxing Sunday afternoon with an drink and a magazine, Espressoholic wouldn’t be my first choice, but buying an ice coffee anywhere else would feel wrong if theirs was the best. I lead a difficult, challenging life, as you can see.

Laura: difficult challenging life?….er not. Ignore that last part of Pete’s comment..his life is not difficult but he’s fussy haha! I kinda disagree with Pete when it comes to Espressoholic. Yes it’s loud and noisy sometimes, but I think the place is quite cosy. It’s not posh and it’s not the neatest looking cafe in Wellington. But…it has it’s own style, it’s grungy, casual and I like looking at the posters and flyers posted on the walls. I do agree with Pete on one thing tho, they have yummy cakes! And I like the way they design the tables and the painting on the outside wall, very creative!

Peter: The ice coffee looked challenging when it arrived. The coffee was sunk at the bottom, the milk on top. The first job, therefore, was to stir the coffee and thus get a nicely mixed drink. This seems a little bit annoying as the glass was very full and it’s so easy to make a mess and send ice coffee everywhere! On the other hand, the visual effect was pretty neat looking. Egad, conflicted again! Well, I managed to stir the coffee while Laura watched carefully, ready to tell me off if I spilled coffee everywhere.

The taste test went very well. Laura reckons they use frozen milk (or nearly-frozen) which they blend up before adding to the coffee. The result is a creamy, rich drink with a light sweetness and a full coffee flavour. Of all the ice coffee we drank it had the best coffee taste, but without being too bitter or overpowering when you’re looking for something refreshing. The frozen milk technique seems to provide the lovely creamy texture unique to Espressoholic’s ice coffee and set it head and shoulders above the competition, especially at the $4.50 price tag, among the cheapest we sampled.

Laura: Espressoholic does use frozen milk for their ice coffee, and I think that’s a wonderful idea! It makes the drink more enjoyable and you don’t have to worry about the taste becoming blah after a while as ice melts and makes the drink loose its original flavour. The way they present the ice coffee is interesting too, with coffee down the bottom and milk on top of it, it reminds me of ying and yang, the good and the bad. Although neither coffee or milk is bad, but I’d like to think of it as coffee is the one with the bitter taste and milk is sweet and it balances out the bitterness of the coffee, so both of them combine together makes a good combination. Oh by the way, Pete did pretty well in stirring the coffee, well done Pete, if he spilled just a bit of it, my oh my, he’d be in big trouble haha!

Fidel’s

Fidel’s ice coffeeCost: $5.00
Rating: 7/10
Comment: Generous and tasty.

Peter: Fidel’s is a haunt I’ve enjoyed for a while. It’s funky and cool and the food and drink are always great. If you haven’t heard of Fidel’s you probably don’t live in Wellington, but if you ever visit, just head up to the top of Cuba Street and you’ll find it there. They usually have a great selection of cafe food and cakes as well as a fairly extensive menu to order from. Their post-Lord of the Rings popularity (the place was a favourite with some of the stars too, I believe) hasn’t dulled their edge and it was with excitement I looked forward to the ice coffee.

Laura: Fidel’s has always been one of Pete’s fave cafe, so of course we couldn’t skip this cafe. I must admit I’ve only started going to Fidel’s regularly when I started going out with Pete. I’ve been there before, but only for dinner. When I first entered Fidel’s, I thought the place was very packed & small (I only went thru the main entrance and straight to the back). Then I found out that they have more spaces next door, which used to be a barber shop. They haven’t changed the name on the window which explained why I saw people eating at a barbershop and none of them getting their hair cut!

Peter: The ice coffee is a generous serving (like much of what you get at Fidel’s) and looks great in the glass. Lots of marshmallows on top is appreciated – if you don’t like them you can always dunk them in a friend’s coffee, which is a quick way to get in someone’s good books I find (*looking at Laura*). Anyway, the taste was good and the drink made of the usual mix of coffee, ice cream and milk that seems to be standard around here. Again, I’m not big fan of ice cream in my coffee, the vanilla starts to dominate the taste too much for me, but Laura enjoyed it.

Laura: I like the way Fidel’s present their ice coffee, I think it’s pretty! With marshmallows on top (I don’t know why Pete mentioned my name there, since he’s the one who always ate all the marshmallows) and the type of glass they use it’s very attractive. The flavour of the ice coffee however, wasn’t that special to me. It’s just another ice coffee, yes it’s nice, but nothing that really differs it from any other ice coffee. Still it’s something that I’ll definitely order again the next time I need a nice cold drink from Fidel’s, especially since they put one scoop of vanilla ice cream in the ice coffee! Yummy ^_^

Mr Bun

Mr Bun ice coffeeCost: $4.50
Rating: 6/10
Comment: Cheap and Cheerful

Peter: Mr Bun is a ‘budget’ chain of cafes in Wellington with a shop on Cuba mall and another on the corner of Courtney Place and Taranaki Street. They serve up coffee, drinks and the usual assortment of pies, cakes, brunch and lunch items. The food and drinks are usually good quality, if fairly boring by Wellington standards, but you can usually rely on Mr Bun for a good value snack or meal.

Laura: Mr Bun has always been my mum’s and sis’s fave place, especially the one in the corner of Taranaki & Courtenay. They like the comfy couches and people watching while enjoying their drinks. They do have a good range of food and drinks, but to me they’re just another cafe, and more of an extended bakery than anything special you would seek out. Mr Bun reminds me a lot of the bakeries in Asia, where they are usually a bakery and cafe joined into one.

Peter: I was pleasantly surprised with this ice coffee. It was in a nice tall glass with a big dollop of whipped cream on the top, as well as a nice dusting of chocolate and a chocolate covered coffee bean. The rest of the coffee was cool and milky but with ice diluting the flavour somewhat. I don’t think anyone would be disappointed with this offering and the price is reasonable. That being said, there’s nothing really special about it and the ice does get annoying. Well, to picky old me, at least!

Laura: Ice coffee has always been my mum’s and sis’s fave drink at Mr Bun. I can say this is their “must” order drink every time they go to Mr Bun. I do think the taste of the ice coffee is not bad, I think it’s just the same like any other ice coffee, and it can be a bit tasteless sometimes. And they put too much whipped cream I think! mind you I’m not a big fans of whipped cream. This ice coffee is not something that I’d recommend to anyone, it’s not bad but it’s not something that you’ll miss either.

Deluxe

Deluxe ice coffeeCost: $4.50
Rating: 6/10 or 8/10?!
Comment: So many treats!

Peter: Deluxe is a cafe with its own quirky style that has been a favourite of Wellingtonians for years. It is funky, relaxed and full of interesting customers and it’s location next door to the Embassy cinema at the end of Courtney Place makes it great for people watching.

Laura: I’ve never really noticed this cafe to be honest. I know it’s there but never really made me curious enough to go there. Walked past it so many times and I’ve noticed it’s busy most of the time, but I always thought it’s too small and the decor never really attract me. It is a relaxing place, and yes like Pete says it has its own quirky style..but location wise, I don’t think it’s a great place for people watching

Peter: The ice coffee presented was the most ‘accessorized’ of the ones we tried, with no less than a chocolate marshmallow, a biscuit wafer thingy and some marshmallows thrown into the mix. I was pretty excited by all of this, as for the price, there were a lot of little treats on offer! The ice coffee was pleasant, following the standard mix already described, but I was very much taken with the range of little extras thrown at the customer. It’s nice surprises like this that make you want to go back for more. Well done Deluxe, great ice coffee and our second place pick!

In Conclussion…

It looks like Espressoholic is the winner! Clearly the most delicious coffee and we applaud them trying something a little different with their approach to this classic cafe cooler. Go out and try one yourself and let us know what you think.

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