Magical coffee

coffee1I’m not a coffee drinker. I don’t even own a coffee pot. Coffee tends to make me jittery, and that’s an unpleasant feeling. I only occasionally drink it at work, and if a house guest wants it, we can make a quick trip to Starbucks.

Side note on Starbucks: I went a few days ago because I felt tired and really needed a special treat. I only go to Starbucks (or coffee shops for that matter) maybe four times a year, mainly because of my aforementioned lack of addiction and love of coffee, but it was a dark, dreary morning, and I didn’t even care of the caffeine made me feel a little haywire.

I ordered a pumpkin spice latte, and it was disgusting. It was also orange? It kind of tasted like fake, super sweet pumpkin, but I don’t remember that being the case the last time that I had one, which was maybe a year or two ago. I remembered it being flavorful, not overly sweet and pumpkiny. Is that how it’s always been, or has something changed? A co-worker mentioned that I could express my displeasure and get something new, so I did just that, choosing a salted caramel mocha (which is another fall special). It was better, but it still didn’t hit the spot. From now on, I’m going to stick with chai lattes. Those are yummy.

Perhaps I’ve grown accustomed to plainer office coffee, or maybe my sweet tooth is shrinking. (I doubt this, though– last week I made a cup of coffee with quite a stream of sugar poured into it.) Perhaps my taste buds have developed a more sophisticated aka less sweetened preference, at least when it comes to coffee. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed this cold-brewed coffee that I basically made as an experiment.


I saw this recipe, and I had to try it. It sounded fun, and quite frankly, I was just intrigued to see how cold-brew works.

Here’s a quick primer on cold-brew, thanks to Martha Stewart (or technically Lisa Landry, someone who I assume owns a cafe): Whereas brewing coffee creates a chemical reaction, causing the coffee grounds to release oils, which give coffee bitterness and acidity, cold-brew is an infusion, which only releases about 15% of the oils and acids from the grounds. Cold-brew results in a “stronger, richer, smoother, big-bodied brew– yet with far less bitterness and acidity.”

I couldn’t tell any of these things, but the coffee tasted pretty good, and I didn’t even add any extra sugar.



Magical coffee
from The Food52 Cookbook
makes about 4 servings

Note: According to my research, you should use pretty good coffee for cold-brew. Since my knowledge of “good coffee” is pretty much nil, I went with what looked ok to me and wasn’t the cheapest but wasn’t the most expensive. Helpful, I know. Maybe just avoid Folgers?

⅔ cup coarsely ground coffee
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
milk or cream for serving

1. Mix together coffee, cinnamon and sugar in a glass 1-quart jar. Add 3 cups of cold water and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.

2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. In the morning, strain the coffee through a very fine sieve or even a coffee filter (it will take a while with the coffee filter) into a clean bowl. The sediment will be primarily toward the bottom. I went the coffee filter route, and there’s a bit of a technique to it. You can only strain a half of a cup or so at a time, and I found that it strained more easily if you bunch you need to bunch up the filter and made a little pouch for the liquid. (You can also stick the filter in a sieve that has larger holes.)

4. Rinse out the glass jar, and transfer the coffee back into it for storage.

5. To serve, fill a glass halfway with ice. Pour in coffee until about ¾ full, and then add milk or cream to taste.

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