I don't want to call it an addiction. I'm far too committed to healthy living to admit that. But, I'll fess up that I hit a wall around 4 pm that is simply insurmountable without an afternoon pick me up. It's not just the jolt of caffeine I crave - I also enjoy the ritual of an afternoon coffee break. I work, work, work toward that 4 pm break time motivated by that 10 solid minutes I get to refresh and recharge my brain.
Even though I live in a metropolis with several uber-modern grocery stores and hipster coffee shops within 2 miles, I have always struggled finding a reliable cold brew source. Often, I'd make a special trip to buy it only to find out they are out. The struggle is real, folks. And, patience is not one of my virtues. So, I decided to cut out the middle-man and start making it myself.
If you're serious about coffee (and I assume you are if you are making your own cold brew), then you'll want to start with the best ingredients. Filtered water (bottled spring water or your Brita pitcher will do) is the key basic ingredient. You don't want to buy just any old grocery store coffee for this. Head to your local coffee shop and ask them to freshly grind 2 cups for cold brew (it's more coarse and easier to filter out later). You can find reusable glass bottles with corks like these at Ikea and Target for just $3. If that ain't the deal of the century, I don't know what is.
Cold Brew Coffee
- 16 ounces of coffee
- 5 cups of filtered cold water
- Clean glass vessel with lid
- Cheesecloth or fine strainer
- Fill the empty glass vessel with 5 cups of filtered water
- Measure 16 ounces of coffee and carefully add to the glass vessel containing the water
- Swirl the contents to ensure even distribution
- Refrigerate for 2-3 days (swirling the contents daily)
- Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a fine strainer
- Re-bottle the coffee concentrate and refrigerate for up to 10 days.
Notes: The ratio of coffee to water to time brewing is somewhat negotiable depending on personal tastes. Obviously, more coffee and brew time will make a stronger brew.
Vanilla + Date Cashew Creamer
If you're a coffee addict and non-dairy consumer like me, you've probably read the back of every carton in the non-dairy section searching for one that has that perfect marriage of flavor and health. It's a rare bird. Maybe I've read too many health articles, but as a general rule I try to avoid soy, carageenan, added sugar, and artificial flavors - all fairly prevalent in the nut milk industry. If you're a classic overachiever maybe you make your own nut milks, but for those of us with a lack of patience or time there are a few brands that don't include those controversial ingredients. I've had the most success with cashew and coconut milks and creams, but this recipe could substitute any milk of your choice.
- 1 Pint of Cashew Cream (store-bought or homemade)
- 2 Whole Vanilla Beans
- 4 Dates
- Combine cashew cream, vanilla beans, and dates in a glass jar
- Let the flavors infuse for 48 hours
- Strain beans and dates and restore in the refrigerator up to 5 days
The beauty of these 2 simple drinks is that now you can use them as ingredients in other recipes. Since the cold brew is a concentrate so much more coffee flavor is packed into every mouthful. Of course, my favorite will always be an iced coffee - 1/2 cold brew + 1/2 vanilla date cashew creamer (add a little agave if you need it sweet)! But, I've also used these ingredients to make toasted coconut mocha cashew ice cream and a coffee rub BBQ sauce (you could marinate a shoe in and I'd eat it). I've got plans to holiday it up with a vegan Irish Cream and Mocha Martini. I'm certain these will find their way into Tiramisu and other cakes. The grinds also make an excellent body scrub butter (caffeine is rumored to reduce cellulite gals!). The possibilities are infinite really.