Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cold Coffee for a Tea Party

Are you one of those people who loves sucking down pricey grande glasses of cream-topped something-cchinos from the corner cafe, you know the one with the little green signage with a mermaid on it? I'm not one for coffee drinks, but V loves them on occasion and so do many of my friends. If you are one of the coffee drink devotees, you might be interested in this cheap, simple way to fix your cravings right at home.

I often make cold coffee in summer, and until recently, I used one of two methods. One is to mix up instant coffee, cold milk and sugar and then do an energetic shake-shake-shake (anyone remember the ad?), the other is to brew hot coffee in a coffee-maker, chill it and then mix in milk and sugar. Both were fairly satisfactory.

Then, early this summer, I came across this post on Tiny Choices, a blog about environmental issues and the small changes we can make for the better. This was the first I heard of this method of cold brewing, and what a great method it is. Let's see- it needs no fancy appliances, requires no use of the stove, needs 30 seconds of hands-on time and makes "just like Starbucks" cold coffee for a tiny fraction of the cost.

This is what I do to make the iced coffee concentrate:
1. Use a clean glass jar.
2. Add 2 cups filtered water and 1/2 cup coffee grounds (we always buy the fair trade coffee from Trader Joe's; you can use your favorite brand).
3. Swish the water around so all the coffee grounds are submerged.
4. Put the lid on the jar and place it at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
5. After 8 hours or so, the coffee has steeped. Filter the coffee using a very fine mesh filter/strainer and your coffee concentrate is ready!

Mix the concentrate with chilled milk (soymilk or almond milk are wonderful too) and your favorite sweetener and serve over ice- oh so refreshing. I love mixing the concentrate with sweetened condensed milk to make something like the Thai iced teas you get in restaurants. The possibilities are endless. Top it with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or a dash of cinnamon to create your own fancy coffee drink.

I know people expect a strong cup of aromatic chai at a tea party, but right around tea-time on a hot summer day, a tall glass of iced coffee is just the thing. So this is my contribution to Anita's mad tea party- the deadline was 15th September. It is well into 16th September in her time zone but it is still the 15th in mine, so I hope my entry is in, right under the wire!

Anita recently wrote a very thought-provoking post and I would call it required reading for food bloggers. We food bloggers enjoy reading each other's blogs, trying recipes and exchanging tips, and posting recipes on our blog that are inspired by others, but along with those rights and freedoms come responsibilities, the need to be gracious and honest in acknowledging the ideas that come from others.

You lose absolutely nothing by crediting an idea or a recipe to someone else. After all, human progress is based on people taking what others have done and building on it, adding their own creative touches and creating variations and improvements. On the other hand, when we fail to give credit, we risk losing our reputation, trust and respect, and the loss of any of these is very hard to repair. So Anita's post was a timely reminder to me to try to be a high-quality blogger every time I sit down and type a post and I applaud her decision to take a stance and say something out loud in favor of doing the right thing.

* * * 
This was a treat we enjoyed last week, a gift from my friends: frutta martozana or marzipan fruits, a specialty of Sicily. They are very realistic and almost life-size.


  1. Oh yeah me too. I am not a fan of coffee but always loved cold coffee.

    This reminds me of cold coffee we used to make as kids in summer. Remember those Nescafe shakers that came free with a packet of nes? The simplest cold coffee one could ever make.

    We loved that coffee so much and made it often. Always whipped up some cream or added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to it. Oh so good!

  2. I like your idea for Thai iced tea/coffee. These marzipan fruits look awesome!! Yes.. plagiarism is truly criminal. I have read about it happening often. Look fw to any actionable suggestions here or in the other post. :(

  3. The Mad and Party are the key words; the tea is just an excuse! :) Thank you for this wonderful cold coffee and the simple idea of cold brewing that I am putting to instant test! (It's not late till the round up is up!)

    Thank you also for pointing your readers towards the post that I hope will help generate greater awareness about what we take too casually. Really, it takes nothing away to give credit to your source of inspiration, even if our final creating is nothing like the original.

  4. nice post,..;-) loved the cofee ,will try ,.;-)

  5. I love this idea of brewing coffee. Defntly a must try on my list. Love your recipe as always Nupur!
    Btw I have been waiting for a sneak peak of your new kitchen, which I think you promised us sometime (if you did not and I am imagining it, I would simply love to see where you make these things happen!)

  6. This is a must try! I love my cold coffee with soy milk and I usually make my coffee in a filter (South Indian Style). Nupur, I finally started a blog and I love for you to visit :)


  7. I am not a coffee drinker but that is such a good idea, letting the coffee steep at room temperature. It would be perfect in this tropical climate in which I live.

  8. I have this wierd allergy of coffee with hot milk, so cold coffee is always the way for me...its been so long since i made some, I always did the shake-shake-shake one...thanks for reminding me of one of my old time favourites !

  9. Hi Nupur,

    Twitter suggested you to me and I came right along ;)Glad I did

    I'm a coffee person but hubster isn't. And I find that so weird! how can someone not like coffee!

    I do make Frappe Coffee. Similar to your cold coffee. Just that after mix 2 parts coffee with 2 parts sugar and water, I shake the share really well! It becomes frothy! Then then add alot of ice and top it with your choice of milk, condensed milk, cream. Yum! I'm gonna go make it right now!

  10. I don't drink coffee or tea - maybe maybe I will have a cold coffee once a year and filter coffee about twice a year when Mom makes it. I actually need a recipe to make cold coffee though - not very good at making it! So, this helps!!


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