Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cold-Brew Iced Coffee

It is really hard to get back into the swing of things after being on vacation. For two weeks I barely sent a text message, hardly looked at e-mail, and didn't make a single phone call. It was truly a break.

We had a wonderful two weeks in England visiting Paul's family, touring the Lake District, and celebrating our wedding with family and friends abroad. I ate crazy amounts of food - market wares, home cooked meals by friends and family, delicious pub fare - and I have several recipes from our travels that I want to share.

But first things first - dealing with jetlag. After dinner the night we got home I made a joke about resting my eyes for a minute and put my head down on the table. Regardless of my intentions, I promptly fell asleep. Awkward.

I was hoping to post about this before I left but I was running around getting ready right up until we left and didn't get the chance. Homemade iced coffee seems even more appropriate now. Appropriate because coffee helps with the tiredness, but even more so because it's iced. It was 73 degrees when we left England and when we landed it was a whopping NINETY-FIVE DEGREES! And it hasn't gotten much better...

90ยบ weather makes me want to grab a glass with some ice...

If you could just give me a second while I indulge a little...

I don't care what anyone tells you, you don't need any fancy equipment to make iced coffee at home. Gadgets and pretty dispensers are fun but totally unnecessary. You just need three containers big enough to hold your liquid - one for the brewing, one to strain the coffee into, and one to hold your coffee in the fridge until you've consumed it all. I used a large melamine salad bowl to brew, a stock pot to strain the coffee into, and honestly, I used a large vase to keep it in the fridge. It ain't fancy but it sure did the trick.

Cold-Brew Iced Coffee
Total time: 8 hours + chill time

You will need:

  • 8 oz. of your favorite ground coffee
  • 16 cups filtered water (1 gallon)
  • Large fine mesh strainer, or colander
  • Paper towels or cheesecloth
  • 2 containers that can hold 1 gallon of liquid
  • 1 container to keep your coffee in the refrigerator (jug, drink dispenser, vase, etc...)
  • coffee fixins of your choice
Step 1:  Add 8 oz. of ground coffee to large container #1. Add water and stir, making sure that all coffee is saturated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a cool, dry place for 8 hours. (Brewing longer than 8 hours can make for a pretty intense coffee experience. Proceed with caution.)

Step 2:  After your 8 hours are up, rest your strainer atop large container #2 (a stock pot works really well here) and line your strainer with either paper towels or cheesecloth. Go for a double layer because you really don't want any grounds in your coffee. Slowly pour your brewed coffee through your lined strainer. Let sit for a minute or two until all the water has filtered through. Discard grounds.

Step 3: Put coffee in storage container and keep in your refrigerator! 

THIS IS STRONG COFFEE, FOLKS. Ice melting into this delicious cold brew is perfectly acceptable. Desired, even. 

I'm super in love with the Bailey's line of creamers right now. Have you ever looked at the labels for Coffee Mate or International House creamers? The first ingredient is corn syrup solids. I don't remember what the other ingredients are but they didn't sound tasty or like anything a human should ingest. Bailey's has milk, cream, sugar, and flavoring. This is not sponsored, I just genuinely love the product. Lately my coffee tastes like a Bailey's Mudslide. YUM. 

Oh, just one more time...

A few weeks ago I was talking with Paul about how exciting it would be if I ever got to the point where companies sent me products to use and review. I also thought about it a little too much. How could I say one flour is superior to another? I've used many different brands and it is really hard to tell a difference. Honesty is the best policy.

Almost as soon as we had that conversation I was lucky enough to receive my first free product. COCOZIA is a coconut water available on Amazon. I tried hopping on the coconut water bandwagon last year when it really started picking up steam but I really didn't like it. People told me which brands to try and I tried some really expensive kinds. I even tried Zico, which got rave reviews, and it just tasted horrible. So of course my first product to play with is coconut water!

Honesty, right? Well, after chilling COCOZIA all night, I tried it after a really tough workout, hoping for the extra hydration benefits of coconut water. It did not taste like the horrible coconut waters I'd tried before but I still couldn't drink the whole thing. I asked for suggestions of what to do with it and everyone said, "Put it in smoothies!" I love having smoothies for breakfast. 1 banana, 1 cup frozen berries, 3 oz. fresh spinach, and 1/4 - 1/2 cup orange juice. It's my favorite. I decided to give it a shot and replace the OJ with COCOZIA. I actually really liked it. The mild flavor melded perfectly with the fruit and it was totally enjoyable. If you're looking to add coconut water to a smoothie or other mixed beverage then I would recommend it. ( I was hoping to make some coconut water cocktails but coconut water doesn't really taste anything like coconut... 

It's still super hot out there, folks. Keep water with you at all times to stay hydrated and don't forget to wear sunscreen! 

I will be sharing vacation pictures soon accompanied by some delicious food. Thanks for hanging out with me today. I've missed this time together! See you again soon :)

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