With the exception of this last Thursday--when I woke up to a house that was only 60 degrees and had to rummage around for a sweater--it is summer. In the summer heat, cold brewed coffee hits the spot and it's extra convenient if you don't have a lot of time to make coffee in the mornings (or afternoons). You may already be making "iced" coffee at home, by placing your extra drip-brew in the fridge to cool or pouring it over ice. However, if you want to make true cold brew, which is generally much smoother and less bitter than "iced" coffee, here's an easy recipe for you:
Cold Brew Recipe
(1 part coffee : 5 parts water)
Makes 1/2 gallon coffee concentrate
250 grams coffee, coarse ground (8.8 oz.)
1.25 liters water (5 1/4 cups)
That's it! Super-easy, and fun to try with different coffees. I make up a fresh batch every week or so at home. It maintains its flavor for about 2 weeks if stored undiluted in the fridge.
Once you have more cold brew than you know what to do with, you can start getting creative with how you use it. Try diluting your concentrate with coconut water or serving a shot of concentrate over vanilla ice cream. Yum!
I drink coffee all the time. At breakfast. After breakfast. In the afternoon. At night. Coffee is great on its own. But it is even better paired with foods that highlight some of its more subtle flavors. Some coffees can be complex, with individual tasting notes difficult to pinpoint. Others are more straight forward, with obvious flavor-forward profiles. When we first sampled the Colombian Huila "El Porvenir" microlot, the intense, almost berry juiciness of this coffee was immediately apparent. However, how to describe the flavors? Blackberry? Plum?
At the grocery store this week there was a huge crop of fresh Black Mission figs. I was immediately drawn to them. One of my best memories is of the fig tree in the backyard where I grew up, which, for years, produced more fruit than we could eat. Every year, we would pick pounds of figs off the tree and eat them fresh, and my dad would dry the rest and save them in big paper bags in the fridge which I would regularly dive into and consume.
So, naturally, when confronted with a beautiful display of figs at the grocery store, I couldn't help myself. I bought several and ate many on the spot, but the rest I made into this delicious cake. If you can find the figs, the rest of the recipe is pretty foolproof. I know because my four-year-old "helped" make it, and it turned out great! The flavors -- sweet caramel, figs, and orange zest -- all pair delightfully well with the our Colombian coffee and, as it turns out, were just the tasting notes I was looking for to describe this very special coffee.
3 Tbs butter
Zest and juice of half an orange
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 pint fresh figs (about 12), stems removed and halved
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs (room temperature)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350F. In a small bowl, melt 3 Tbs of butter in the microwave. Add in the juice of half an orange and the brown sugar. Mix it together and then pour into a 9" round cake pan. Cram as many fig halves into the pan as you can, arranging them cut side down.
Now, cream together the sugar and the two sticks of butter. When it is light in color, add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each to incorporate. Then add the sour cream.
Next mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: orange zest, flour, baking soda, salt. Dump it into the bowl with the butter mixture and stir until combined. Pour it over your figs in the pan and smooth the top over.
Bake for 40 minutes--it's ready when the juices are bubbling around the outside of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool, then run a knife around edge of the pan and then invert it onto a plate. It should come out cleanly, et voila! Fig cake.
My parents live in Arizona, where my dad has a big workshop and is building a boat in the desert. It's something he's always wanted to do, and I think he would enjoy spending most of his time working on it. In the summers, however, he comes here to Swampscott--a town with a rich maritime history--and the boat-building project gets put on hold. I am extremely grateful for the time he is able to spend here with us and particularly with his grandson, who adores him. For this Father's day, I wanted to make my dad something personal and, since it's something we all enjoy, I thought of coffee. My goal was to make a custom blend that reflects my dad's tastes (rich, dark coffee) and also gives a nod to our own history.
To do this, I combined two of my favorites: our Papua New Guinea Kuta AA and our Congo Kawa Maber. Papua New Guinea (PNG) is an island country in the Indonesian Archipelago, while the Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa and is mostly land-locked. I really liked how this land and sea dichotomy mirrors my family's Arizona-to-Swampscott situation. Flavor-wise, the PNG adds a lot of depth and richness to this blend with an almost citrusy flavor. The Congo brings a wonderful toffee aroma and a deep chocolatey finish.
This mix was just too tasty to keep for myself and I want to share it with the rest of you. I call it "Shipwright's Blend" and have designed a special edition label that includes draft artwork of American frigates--reflecting the history of shipbuilding this area is known for. Keep an eye out for limited quantities of this personalized blend available for sale in our store, online and at the upcoming Swampscott HarborFest!
Without fanfare, I hit the button on the web builder dashboard.
"There," I turned to my husband Andy. "The online store is open."
And now we get to see what happens! It's been a long road to get to this point and I hope you will enjoy Lightning Coffee as much as we do. Each of our offerings was hand-selected by yours truly and has been tested on the palates of pretty much every member of my family and/or willing friend I can wrangle. We want to share this great selection of coffees with all our North Shore neighbors -- check back often for updates, photos and new selections!