Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Japanese Style Iced Coffee

 Who is ready for a dissertation on iced coffee?!


Too bad! That's what you're getting!

I woke up at 6:20 this morning, which was the norm when I was dealing with insomnia thanks to this autoimmune disease situation, but since feeling better (WOOHOOOO!) that hour is no longer acceptable or good! Upon startling myself out of sleep thanks to a wacky dream, I was immediately aware of the temperature in our apartment which I liken to the underarm of a water buffalo on a hot Texas day. No, I'm not exaggerating! I think it may have been 297 degrees. I threw all of the windows open and blasted all of the fans and instantly started dreaming about all of the things one could do at 6:20 a.m.; yoga, cutting hair, cleaning, making a large breakfast, and icing coffee. After my delirious notions, I decided on sleeping a little longer and having a redo upon waking from second sleep.

Is it hilarious to anyone else that musicians can't function before 10 a.m., and if they do, they most certainly require a nap? I think it's batty! I blame anemia and recovery for now, but I am fully aware that the lifestyle of most musicians is not normal. No wonder we can't get it together.

Upon waking from that second sleep, I wandered into the kitchen to start my usual coffee routine with the Chemex I have been using for the last couple of months, but I couldn't handle the thought of hot coffee today. Usually, even on a warm summer day, I am all about hot coffee. Not today! I recalled an article I read about different methods of creating iced coffee and I have heard tales of the Japanese style, but remained certain that it would not possibly be the "right" way.

Once you become a coffee snob, there is no hope for the world. You start off liking the cafeteria coffee at music festivals or offices to survive, you move on to Dunkin Donuts or maybe Starbucks, you get an espresso machine and become obsessed with ristretto shots and appropriate methods of frothing milk and getting the crema just right in your pulls, and then you delve in to pour-over methods and appropriate weight measurements and ratios, the right kind of kettle... and from there, you're just a hopeless wreck.

One of the most life changing experiences for me was in Austin, when I was still a part of the Austin food blogger community, that rare bird that made blogging so special (since leaving the area, blogging seems not as happy or great!) At one of our conferences, Chameleon Cold Brew had just started up and they were spreading the good news of cold brew coffee. I LOVED learning about this process and why iced coffee that had been refrigerated after hot brewing was a big NO NO because the tannins being heated then cooled had no hope, and I supported Chameleon in every city from that time forward. When I couldn't find Chameleon, I got into cold brewing myself - it requires a lot of grounds and an overnight method. I've been fine with this since that time, but it does require thinking ahead of time, which one simply cannot accomplish at 6:20 a.m. the day you MUST have iced coffee.

So, I referred back to the aforementioned article from Serious Eats, and decided to whip out my most favorite bean Holler Mountain from Stumptown and set up a Japanese style iced coffee in my Chemex.

Things you should know:
- Cold brew IS great, but it does take a LOT of beans and a lot of hours as well as a cheesecloth
- Don't brew hot coffee then refrigerate it. Just don't.
- You don't have to use a Chemex for Japanese style, but if you have one, it's super easy and completely safe because of the lab quality glass!

Japanese Style Iced Coffee

this video from Counter Culture is GREAT!

But I must confess that I just loaded up my 6 cup Chemex with large ice cubes, placed a dampened filter paper into the neck of the Chemex, put three heaping finely ground tablespoons of grounds into the filter and brewed as usual. The result was 4 nice little servings of iced coffee. But if you're a proper snob, refer to the helpful video above. Thanks, Counter Culture!