mardi 24 juillet 2007

In the summer, it's all about the simple things.

It's really the lazy days of summer, with not much to do during the day but work on papers. There was that little stint of jury duty, but luckily I got out after one day after not having been put on a panel. Which is good, really, because I was having a difficult time thinking up good explanations as to why I shouldn't be put on a jury were I to be called. I thought the going out with 4 different lawyers in the past, all of whom now work in litigation in either LA or DC, would do the trick. Good thing I didn't have to go about expounding on that. It might've been awkward.

So one of the things I associate with summer is iced coffee. Actually, I do drink iced coffee throughout the year, even in the winter, but winters in LA rarely get so cold that partaking in iced coffee would be a foreign idea. I think it's because that summer I lived in New York, which does get swelteringly hot and humid and just gross, iced coffee, from the little deli around the corner from my work, was one of the few things that kept me sane (and awake).

But never had I had cold-brewed iced coffee before. The description of it made my mouth water: "Without the bitterness produced by hot water, the cold-brewed coffee had hints of chocolate, even caramel. I dropped my sugar packet — no need for it. The best brews hardly need cream. It really is the kind of thing a gentleman might spend five days in hot-coffee solitary confinement for."

Even if I did think it a bit of a hyperbole - no sugar in coffee? What a foreign concept! Especially since my coffee is always more milk and sugar than actual coffee. So I just had to try it.

And indeed - I've now cut down the sugar to a mere sprinkling, if any, although I do prefer it with more milk than water. It's a great summer treat, and you can make a lot of the concentrate and keep it in the fridge, making yourself a newly-mixed cup of iced coffee whenever you want.

Cold-brewed iced coffee
Recipe adapted from the New York Times

The recipe linked makes enough for two drinks, or so they say. They also serve it with equal parts coffee and equal parts water, putting milk in at the end. Since I take my coffee with a lot of milk, the water just... well, waters everything down. Also, I use a French press to make my iced coffee, since it saves on the twice-filtering step. Sure, there might be a little bit of sediment leftover, but that usually sinks to the bottom of the container I store the concentrate in. Don't swirl it around, and you won't get any in your drink. Measurements are for a 32 ounce French press - at least, that's the size I think mine is. And make sure you use good coffee, but that goes without being said.

Put 1 cup of coffee, medium-coarsely ground, in your French press, along with 4.5 cups of water. Stir very gently, making sure that all the coffee is moist, but more likely than not, you'll be at the very tippy top of your French press. I guess you could reduce the measurements a bit so that it all fits in neatly, but whatevs. Put the top of your French press on, but don't push down on the strainer. Leave overnight. I find that 12-18 hours works best. Strain, carefully. Do this in the sink so that you don't get coffee everywhere. I know this from experience.

Fill a glass with ice cubes. The ratio of coffee-to-milk that I like is 1:2 (1 part coffee, two parts milk). Add a touch of sugar if you must, but you'd be surprised (as I was) to learn that you don't need very much at all. Enjoy on a warm summer afternoon, or anytime, really.