I often make cold coffee in summer, and until recently, I used one of two methods. One is to mix up instant coffee, cold milk and sugar and then do an energetic shake-shake-shake (anyone remember the ad?), the other is to brew hot coffee in a coffee-maker, chill it and then mix in milk and sugar. Both were fairly satisfactory.
Then, early this summer, I came across this post on Tiny Choices, a blog about environmental issues and the small changes we can make for the better. This was the first I heard of this method of cold brewing, and what a great method it is. Let's see- it needs no fancy appliances, requires no use of the stove, needs 30 seconds of hands-on time and makes "just like Starbucks" cold coffee for a tiny fraction of the cost.
This is what I do to make the iced coffee concentrate:
1. Use a clean glass jar.
2. Add 2 cups filtered water and 1/2 cup coffee grounds (we always buy the fair trade coffee from Trader Joe's; you can use your favorite brand).
3. Swish the water around so all the coffee grounds are submerged.
4. Put the lid on the jar and place it at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
5. After 8 hours or so, the coffee has steeped. Filter the coffee using a very fine mesh filter/strainer and your coffee concentrate is ready!
Mix the concentrate with chilled milk (soymilk or almond milk are wonderful too) and your favorite sweetener and serve over ice- oh so refreshing. I love mixing the concentrate with sweetened condensed milk to make something like the Thai iced teas you get in restaurants. The possibilities are endless. Top it with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or a dash of cinnamon to create your own fancy coffee drink.
I know people expect a strong cup of aromatic chai at a tea party, but right around tea-time on a hot summer day, a tall glass of iced coffee is just the thing. So this is my contribution to Anita's mad tea party- the deadline was 15th September. It is well into 16th September in her time zone but it is still the 15th in mine, so I hope my entry is in, right under the wire!
Anita recently wrote a very thought-provoking post and I would call it required reading for food bloggers. We food bloggers enjoy reading each other's blogs, trying recipes and exchanging tips, and posting recipes on our blog that are inspired by others, but along with those rights and freedoms come responsibilities, the need to be gracious and honest in acknowledging the ideas that come from others.
You lose absolutely nothing by crediting an idea or a recipe to someone else. After all, human progress is based on people taking what others have done and building on it, adding their own creative touches and creating variations and improvements. On the other hand, when we fail to give credit, we risk losing our reputation, trust and respect, and the loss of any of these is very hard to repair. So Anita's post was a timely reminder to me to try to be a high-quality blogger every time I sit down and type a post and I applaud her decision to take a stance and say something out loud in favor of doing the right thing.
* * *This was a treat we enjoyed last week, a gift from my friends: frutta martozana or marzipan fruits, a specialty of Sicily. They are very realistic and almost life-size.