Friday, June 26, 2009

Iced Coffee Lovin'

Coffee shops are one of my serious vices, and I love going to get a little caffeinated every morning. Of particular love is iced coffee, but it costs a fortune and just between you and me, I am watching every penny this summer.

I'm not one to just give stuff up, and let me tell you my friends, walking the dog and going to get my grande 4 pump double shot with my husband almost every morning during the summer is seriously one of my highlights. But at almost 6 bucks for 2 beverages (iced grande chai for him), well, you can do the math and see that this will quickly add up to, ummmm, a lot ($30+ per week for 8 weeks = too darn much).

So I did some research, and here's what I found:

The New York Times, a couple of years ago, came up with a recipe for cold-brewed coffee. Now this stuff is supposed to be mellow and lovely without the bitterness that you get from forcing the hot water through the grounds. I'm mellow (not!), and thought I'd give it a try. Here's what you do (and these proportions come from the Times, so I take zero credit for that):
  • Take 1/3 cup coarse ground (important!!) coffee and put it into a container (I did this the first time with a medium roast coffee and it was way too weak for me. This time - I brought out the "extra bold" and amen sister, it was!) .
  • Add 1 1/2 cups cold water (based on the size container I have, I triple the recipe each time, so 1 cup coffee grounds to 4 1/2 cups cold water).
  • Let set, uncovered (I go for overnight +, which ends up being 12-24 hours, based on when I remember I want to get the party started.)
  • Strain out the grounds (I go with 2 strainings and get the really chunky stuff the first time)

  • Place the coffee concentrate into a container and store in the fridge for a couple of days (do you love that I totally am busted with a jar of sauce in the background? Umm, it's for JVB and the kids when I'm working. I swear. Pinky swear?).

  • I add fat-free half and half (I usually hate fat-free and reduced fat stuff, but I am getting way too fat to go with regular at this point, so I have to make an exception somewhere -- sorry) and a bit of simple syrup, then shake the heck out of it (you can stir if you like). This stuff is pretty daggone strong, so you'll need to dilute it by half and then mellow it out with milk, water, carrot juice, heck, I don't care, but it's potent, so be warned.). Viola!

There's a certain mellowness to the coffee, but still with zing. In fact, my oh-so-extensive research has pointed out that the coffee concentrate is roughly twice as caffeinated as the usual stuff, just so you know. Maybe now you can see why I like it milky and sweet (we called that "light and sweet" back in NYC).

Note to self: Do not try to pour the coffee while looking through the camera lens, because there's a good chance you'll spill it all over the counter/stove and have to clean-up a big mess and waste some of the precious elixir. Just sayin'.

So there you go. Simple? Duh. Worth it? Totally. Economical? Absolutely. Super-caffeinated? Shazam!! I. Can. Do. ANYTHING!!!
Maybe next time I'll have a smaller glass.


Rhea said...

What a great post! The coffee idea is a great tip and your writing is a hoot. I won't hold the prepared tomato sauce against you :) Plus the Henckels knife set on the other side totally redeems you.

One thing I'm wondering, though: what exactly is in fat free half and half??

Chef Christine said...

Thanks Rhea, and great to have you on board (tell your friends! please!!). And thanks for not holding the Prego against me.

Fat Free Half & Half is certainly a tool from the devil. I'm guesing that it's something along the lines of skim milk thickened with seaweed or other such substance (carrageenan) and a bunch of other ooky stuff. Regardless, I am a load right now and I need to cut back somewhere, and that's where.

Interesting side note: I drank that glass of iced coffee and may I say that it had waaaaaay more caffeine then expected. As in, my stomach still hurts. So, be sure you dilute it or suffer the consequences. Yikes!

And side note number 2: Make sure you keep coming back as we're going to have a little shindig at TKS to celebrate Julie & Jula on 8/7. There will be NO Fat Free Half & Half in sight (how could I do that to Julia's memory, right?).

Aidan Ryan said...

I found it's really easy to make in a French Press. Let it sit out overnight, then press in the AM. Easy peasy :)

Chef Christine said...

Of course! That's a great idea! I usually go for bulk so that I can make a bunch for the week, but this is perhaps more brilliant. Thanks for the tip!

One quick note: I found the extra bold Starbucks blend to be way too acidic for cold-brewing, at least with my belly. I went ahead with the bold and it was delicious and didn't hurt my stomach.