Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Magic Iced Coffee

Coffee and espresso are childhood friends of mine. They never missed a family dinner party and made the occasional breakfast appearance. The gentlemen enjoyed their shot of espresso straight up; sometimes they'd slip a little something-something in there. Oh how I envied their tiny cups with matching spoons! The ladies stuck with decaf coffee... though my mom fixed it to taste more like sweetened milk.

Café is cultural. We used to tease my mom that the reason she's short is from drinking too much coffee as a kid growing up in Portugal. The reality is coffee was used as a cheap substitute for milk and with ten kids, all corners needed to be cut. Their breakfast frequently consisted of bits of hearty bread mixed into black coffee- it's sort of like cereal? During our honey moon, Mike was thrilled to see a pastelaria on nearly every city corner. Even the rental car had a coffee cup light set for  X amount of miles as a reminder to take a driving break! Long story short... we got this thing for café!

The one thing that was never served in our home is iced coffee. It wasn't until its popularization as a commercial industry in America did syrups, chocolate, and whipped cream enter my cup. I instantly fell for the iced varieties; you don't have to worry about them getting cold (ha!) and spillage while driving to work has no burn risk factor. I used to loveeee iced Kona coffee with a splash of Kahlua in the summer... my goodness.

If you've never made iced coffee before, it's a cinch. Simply coarsely blend the coffee beans (I use a food processor but you can also ask a coffee shop to do it for free, i.e. Starbucks), dump into a large container, add water, and let it sit over-night. In the morning, strain the coffee to make sure there's no  bean fragments floating in your mug, throw in some ice cubes, and add milk to your liking. Ta da!

This iced coffee is magical because of the addition of brown sugar and cinnamon to the overnight concoction. The coffee absorbs the sweetness of the brown sugar while the dash of cinnamon balances out the flavor profiles. It's so good, you don't even need to add any milk.

PS. Pro tip: make sure you give the over-night mix a good shake to before straining to ensure everything comes out. Use a mesh strainer for the first round of filtering; this will get rid of the big pieces of coffee bean. Strain a second time with a cheesecloth to catch the finer particles.

If you're an iced coffee lover- you definitely need to give this one a shot! For the recipe, check out Food 52's post for Magic Iced Coffee!