Summer has arrived in the Quad-Cities… Since this is the first summer I’ve had a “grown-up” job, I now fully understand the importance of coffee in the morning. But not just any coffee, iced coffee. That is why, in honor of the beginning of summer, I have tasted iced coffees from six “iconic” QC coffee shops. This is Part One of two, featuring three of the six shops.
A good iced coffee meets expectations
When I order an iced coffee I expect it to be and do certain amazing things. In this post I will be tasting iced coffee from several recommended local coffee shops. At every shop I will ask for the barista to make what is considered to be their best iced coffee.
I will be judging these drinks based on this criteria:
- Taste and ice-to-coffee ratio. I ain’t got time for bland or watered-down coffee… I’m trying to get my day started here!
- “HYPED”factor. Just how HYPED does this coffee make me feel and how long does the HYPE last? I do have a nine-to-five you know…
- Price. I am prepared to pay quite a bit for good coffee… But I would rather avoid bankruptcy caused by my search for HYPE.
The history and general atmosphere of each shop will also be included in my experience and a final score will be given to the drinks themselves.
Redband Coffee Company
329 E 4th St., Davenport, IA
110 W 13th St., Davenport, IA
A Quad-Cities favorite. This humble coffee shop is known for its small yet high-quality menu. Redband prides itself on its coffee bean varieties, selling different beans by the bag for coffee lover to take home. They also sell small-batch drip coffee and iced coffee concentrate in bulk. Redband is a “no frills” coffee shop… You will not find any “frapps” or “ccinos” there.
Neither of the Redband locations are made for hoards of students, writers, or anyone to come procrastinate. The 13th Street location has a few indoor seats by the window, but is mostly a place to get in, get coffee (or a gourmet breakfast sandwich), get out. The atmosphere is still chill though, and the workers at both locations are always helpful and happy to help you choose a drink. The 4th Street location has the same vibe as the first, but it also has outdoor seating and a drive through.
I have been to both locations before but for this post I went to 4th Street. Like I said, their menu is small so asking for the “best iced coffee” would be a bit pointless. Redband is famous for their New Orleans-style coffee, so that is what I ordered.
- Taste and ice-to-coffee ratio.
Okay… the New Orleans-style coffee is absolutely delicious, there’s no doubt about it. It is creamy and sweet without losing that intense coffee flavor. The coffee has that roasted taste without the bitterness.
Since the iced coffee at Redband is a drip coffee there is no need to add a ton of ice cubes. The ratio is perfect. Even after all of the cubes melt, the taste is still well balanced… Must be some sort of voodoo.
I was absolutely WIRED after this coffee… This is definitely where you want to go if you feel like a zombie in the morning. Redband can bring you back to life.
All day I was shaking my leg and writhing around in my seat at work. I felt like I could type a thousand word a minute.
Redband is not a “cheap” coffee option… I don’t think I would feel okay about getting it everyday. However, it is worth every penny.
Three words: “treat yo’ self.”
Final score for Redband’s New Orleans-style iced coffee:
Nine Mardi Gras beads out of ten.
Dead Poet’s Espresso
1525 3rd Ave. A, Moline, IL
Dead Poet’s has been brewing coffee for more than 10 years. Located across the street from the John Deere Commons, this coffee shop has a great outdoor seating area that is perfect for the summer.
I especially love the name of this place. It is so unique and the “dead poet theme” can be seen throughout the shop. Framed paintings of dead poets surround customers inside as they enjoy their food and drinks… It’s much less morbid than it sounds.
I came in in the morning, around 9:30, and the place was full of customers. Many of who were enjoying the outdoor seating. I asked the barista to make me their best iced coffee drink, to which he responded by telling me that they only have one iced coffee option, and that I could add a flavor if I wanted… This is where I made the mistake of asking for cinnamon…
- Taste and ice-to-coffee ratio.
The taste, and this is partly my fault, was way way way too sweet… I think they put way too much syrup in there.
What is nice about the way they serve their iced coffee is that the ice cubes are made with the coffee, so the drink is not watered down…
Other than that I was not impressed. All I could taste was syrup and a hint of basic dark roast in the beginning. However, as the coffee cubes melted the taste became much more bearable. The coffee itself was indeed a dark roast with a strong flavor.
I’ll probably try Dead Poet’s again sometime. I feel as though maybe I just ordered the wrong thing…
Maybe it was the lack of melting ice cubes but this coffee did make me get the jitters. I was shaking my leg and moving in my seat the whole day at work… Even though I only drank half of the coffee!
The price of the iced coffee is reasonable but I am pretty sure I paid extra for the syrup… Not cool.
Final score for Dead Poet’s Espresso’s iced coffee with coffee cubes:
Five flowers on Shakespeare’s grave out of ten.
3800 River Dr. #2, Moline, IL
Milltown Coffee opened its doors in 2014, so it is still fairly new. Located in an old factory warehouse by the river, the shop makes much better use of the beautiful location than whatever was there before.
Just across the street there is a nice riverfront park with benches to sit on an enjoy your coffee with a view. If you happen to visit Milltown when it’s still too cold to enjoy an outdoor park don’t worry, the giant windows it provides still give you a taste of the river view.
I walked in a little after lunch time and asked the very friendly barista to make me Milltown’s best iced coffee. She suggested the Brazilian pour-over, which I found especially humorous seeing as those beans were born in the same country that I was…
- Taste and ice-to-coffee ratio.
The taste was very satisfying. What I found strange is that there was no creamer or syrup added to this drink. I have never had a black iced coffee, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. It also helps that the Brazilian coffee was not bitter but naturally sweet with a roast-y after taste.
The ice-to-coffee ratio was perfect, just enough ice to keep the drink cold without losing flavor value.
The coffee did wake me up but was not exactly “HYPED.” I didn’t notice a huge surge of energy.
Milltown’s prices are very reasonable, especially for its quality of coffee.
Final score for Milltown Coffee’s Brazilian pour-over:
Eight Olympic stadiums out of ten.
This post is Part One of two. Part Two features iced coffees from Coffee Hound and Atomic Coffee.
Where is your favorite iced coffee from? Tell me about it in the comments section!