Sunday, October 17, 2010

Iced Coffee

A number of years ago I worked as a barista at Starbucks. I was an opener which meant that I was usually off work before many people had even started their days. However, this meant that I was at work at 4:30. In the AM. Yeah, that's early. To endure such early mornings (at a time when I had a lifestyle that was not so accommodating of getting to bed early) I compensated by drinking espresso. It was not unusual to have a shot of espresso sweetened with some sugar shortly after opening and then take a break in a couple of hours and drink a venti whatever with another 3 shots of espresso. I was easily up to 4 or 5 shots of espresso before 10 o'clock in the morning when I finally moved on to bigger and better things. When I started my current job about three years ago my stomach had gotten to the point that even the hint of coffee made me sick and so I stayed away from it for a good long time. Then, around a year ago I decided to give a tiny bit of coffee a shot. And it was ok. I started off drinking only half a cup maybe once or twice a week. Then it started to be a few days a week every week, then mostly every day every week. Now I am back up to a cup or two of coffee every day I work and I am making coffee at home. I used to sort of like the fact that my stomach couldn't handle the coffee because then I wasn't tempted to drink it. Working at Starbucks, I know that it can be an expensive habit. Luckily my work offers free coffee and since I once was a barista, I can make quite a decent cup of coffee. Still sometimes, when I am out and about, I am tempted to stop at Starbucks and get something quick and easy. A few weekends ago I was out looking for garage sales and was tempted to stop and get some iced coffee. I broke down and stopped. I got out of my car, walked in the door, saw the line was 15 people long and walked straight back out. By now though I had decided it was ok to stop and get coffee so it made sense that I should go to a different Starbucks, but when I got there, it was no longer there. I took this as my sign that I should just go home and make it myself. So that's what I did. Why is any of this of interest to you? Because I'd like to teach you how to make Iced Coffee at home! Hope you're still with me.

First things first, you need coffee. If you are making Iced Coffee, you need coffee brewed at double strength. The suggested proportions for normal coffee are 1 TBS of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water, so if you are brewing double strength you want 2 TBS of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water. If you have a coffee machine, use it. I am mostly happy just using my french press. Pour the grounds in the bottom, add boiling water, set for 4 minutes and then push the plunger down.



 While that is brewing you need to make a simple syrup. As you probably know, sugar does not mix into cold drinks so well and so you need to make it into a syrup to get it mix properly. All you need is sugar, water and possibly some vanilla. I am not sure what the exact proportions should be but I just added some sugar and then a little water to get it liquidy. Really technical here, I know. Cook that until all the sugar is dissolved and remove from heat.

As soon as that is ready it is time to assemble everything. You will need:

Soy Milk
Simple Syrup

I spooned some of the simple syrup into a little dish to help it cool off a bit.

First you want to fill your glass to the top with ice.

Then you want to pour in the syrup.

Next, you want to pour in the coffee.

 You want to fill the cup about 3/4 of the way full (if you had espresso you would use less but since coffee even at double strength isn't as strong you need a bit more).

Next you want to give it a good stir. The key here is to get the coffee cooled down so that when you add the milk it doesn't get warm and, I hate the imagery of this word, coagulated.

The ice will melt a little which is exactly why we brew the coffee at double strength. (Side note here: If you are going to refrigerate the remaining coffee and use it at a later time to make more iced coffee, make sure you heat the coffee back up prior to assembling or else you will have a seriously strong drink. Or maybe that's your thing and you should try it. Who am I to judge?) Anyway, back to the drink at hand. Next you want to fill the cup to the top with soy milk.

This is my favorite part. Look how pretty it all looks.

The final step is to give it one last stir and pop a straw in it.

And there you have it. Iced coffee to rival that of any coffee house and at what I am sure is a fraction of the price. I hope you all enjoyed this as I think it may have been my first real procedure post. I never quite understood how much work it is to put one of these together. Please let me know if you try this!