Sometimes a girl just needs a cold one...
I have just enough alcohol tolerance to be a cheap date so inasmuch as I would like to be swilling fine Belgian ales on a hot spring evening (yes, Hong Kong is already moving into hot monsoon season...), the best I can do is to drink cold espressos.
My wiser half and I discovered the beauty of caffe freddo during our trip to Italy as part of a family Holy Land tour (fear not--we were agnostic, atheist, and lapsed Catholic pilgrims). W.H. doesn't drink coffee but he was impressed by the agitating technique as utilized in preparing martinis, pulverizing ice and blending it with espresso (doppio, methinks) before pouring the frothy product over more ice or serving it as is.
I was shocked silly that my coffee-deriding spouse would be so excited about such a beverage, but discovering iced coffee in its ideal form was a highlight of our trip and has become an occasional topic of fond reminiscence. It has also become a dire necessity in present weather conditions (am not complaining, as I fear the cold-climates).
Back in my old neighborhood of Tsim Sha Tsui for a half-hour, I decided to spend my time finishing up some notes for a paper and to inspire my thinking (see The Oatmeal: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/caffeine), I needed coffee. I wasn't hanging out with people or "to be seen" in a posh establishment but geography and thirst drew me to the Espressamente Illy cafe at the K11 Art Mall. I don't know it is called an art mall, but it's very surreal... [http://www.k11concepts.com/en/]
I had just spent a glorious day with my nephew romping around Ocean Park [http://www.oceanpark.com.hk/html/en/home/] for 5 hours, and was ragged in appearance (but very upbeat in spirit -- nothing like the young to revive one's crusty 33-year-old soul). The counter server eyed me delicately with the "I'm too polite to comment on why you don't belong in our sophisticated establishment" but since she didn't say a word nor try to shun me, I went ahead and ordered up an espresso freddo for the dear price of HKD28 [today's rate: $3.60 -- for shame, I know!]
The counter server motioned for me to sit down at one of the twelve-odd tables and wait quietly for my beverage. My fellow customers were a motley bunch of expatriate families, local artists (as one could tell from their conversations), and elderly gentlemen of both local and non-local variety dozing off to low-volume bossa nova and clicking of spoons and saucers.
My espresso freddo arrived in a tall, slim glass with a bendy-top straw practically centered in the middle of the Guinness (stout) colored liquid. (I don't drink but I do see alcohol from time to time) The server also brought a similar-sized glass of ice water. The espresso itself did not come with ice but was perfectly cold, and included a hint of sugar. Each of twenty sips was powerful, no sense at all of being watered down in the cooling and blending process. It certainly seems impossible to have so much flavor with no compromise or consistency of taste, but this cafe manages the challenge. I also felt much better for spending 30 minutes to try it.