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I'm back, and I have COLD BREW COFFEE CONCENTRATE

Hey guys,

||| It has been awhile! I just want to thank all of you that have reached out to me via email etc. checking in to see how I'm doing, if I am still practicing macrobiotics, teaching yoga, and if I am still blogging. While I haven't updated this space in a while, rest assured I am still here, cooking up my veggies, eating my grains, and other tasty eats, and enjoying life. I kind of unplugged this past year and a bit, taking some time away from posting, hibernating and cocooning for awhile, trying to recuperate, reassess, ponder life, and reconnect to my inspiration. I will do another post about all that and my current favourite eats soon. Stay tuned! In case you didn't know though, I have mostly been sharing my eats via instagram! If you'd like to follow along, I'd be so honoured. You can find me there @thedaintypig . |||

Today's post is a little step away from Macrobiotics, to discuss my most favourite method of brewing coffee! And when I say most favourite, I mean that thanks to my enthusiasm for coffee and the generosity of others, I have ended up with an obscenely large collection of coffee brewing devices in my home, including: two different Moka pots (the little Italian stovetop espresso makers), a French Press, Hario V60 Pour Over, Chemex, and an Aeropress, and I have tried them all. We have had little "flings" with each of them, and yet - the method I am sharing today is our consistent favourite. (Though aeropress comes in second place, for taste, and is #1 amazing for camping!).

I wasn't always a big coffee drinker: during University I would drink coffee here and there, but I was never one to make a pot of coffee everyday. Somewhere along the way though, after T & I returned from Japan around 2011, I began making coffee more frequently. It was partly getting up super early for practice, and partly just that I genuinely love the taste, that led to me becoming a coffee enthusiast. It might sound silly to say that I drink coffee because I just love the taste, because duh, but I really enjoy the bitter quality, and when I am out working in cafes and needing a little something, coffee often seems the most appealing. I find so many other drinks to be too sweet (I'd rather have sweet alongside a coffee than in my coffee) or complicated, and I have mega high standards for tea (I have yet to have matcha anywhere in Canada that even comes close to regular ol' matcha in Japan), so usually the best bet is coffee. Here in Victoria, there are plenty of good coffee shops, with organic, fairly traded, and locally roasted options galore.

So, here's what I make at home: COLD BREW COFFEE CONCENTRATE. I first heard about cold brew coffee in 2007 when I was reading Paul Pritchford's book "Healing with Whole Foods." He mentioned a method of making coffee that was much less acid forming - this grabbed my attention, being the healthy food research nerd that I am. There is a way to make coffee much easier on the body? Hello - sign me up! My stomach can be very sensitive, and often times regular brew coffee feels much too strong. At that point in time, when I was reading Pritchford's book, I was not making coffee regularly and you could not yet buy cold brew at cafes, but I made a mental note of it. Fast forward a few years, and I finally tried it at home. Through many many different trials of changing the measurements, changing the brewing time, filtering vs. non filtering, I managed to find the most perfect recipe. I make this once every week or two (depending on how much coffee T needs to fuel him through school), and ironically enough, I now use two of my other coffee devices to make the process much easier.

Dainty Pig Style Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

cold brew 08.JPG

What you'll need

  • 8 cups of filtered water
  • 2 cups of whole coffee beans, (organic and fairly traded please) ground* (I recommend and prefer darker roasts)
  • large enough glass jar or pitcher to hold the above amount of water + coffee
  • a 1L jar and a little extra jar (maybe 250 ml more) to store the final coffee concentrate
  • FIRST STAGE FILTERING: french press (ideal)**
  • SECOND STAGE FILTERING: a hario pour over or a chemex with paper filters**

* See directions below first for what coarseness to grind your beans

** If you do not have a french press, do not worry! You can just do the second stage filtering, but it may take awhile longer as it'll be a bit sludgier, and you may need to change the paper filter halfway through

*** If you don't have a pour over or a chemex, no worries! For years I used a metal sieve, and lined it awkwardly with basket shaped filters. I would prop up the sieve using two jars, one on each end, over top of a large bowl, and filter the coffee this way.

Directions

  1. Grind your coffee: as you will understand once you've finished reading the steps, after the cold brew "steeps" I run it through a Hario pour over, so I grind my coffee for a pour over setting. If you are using a chemex, grind for a chemex. You can also grind it more coarse if you won't be using either. Feel free to play around to see what you like! 
  2. Add your ground coffee to the large pitcher or glass jar (a funnel helps!).
  3. Pour in the 8 cups of water, and stir. Let it bloom for awhile (where it kind of puffs up), then cover the jar (I just use a little ceramic dish as a lid - use whatever you like!).
  4. Leave out on the countertop to "steep" for 24 hours. This is the length of time that I have discovered is most delicious for the darker roasted beans, ground to the consistency for pour over. Depending on your beans and grind, I would say anywhere between 16 - 24 hours would work with this method. I leave my big ol' jar of coffee steeping at the back of my counter, out of the sun. If it were to get exceedingly hot out, I might consider putting it in the fridge to steep.
  5. Then, after it has steeped, get ready to use allllllll your coffee devices, ha! First, using large spoon, I scoop out any of the grounds that are floating at the top - the more you can get out the better. Usually most of them are hanging out at the top, so I can get most of them out this way.
  6. Then, do STAGE ONE FILTERING: I pour the liquid into my french press (usually I have to do this step twice as there is a large volume of liquid). Press it!
  7. Then, do STAGE TWO FILTERING: I pour the pressed liquid from the french press, through a paper filter lined Hario V60 pour over. I usually put the pour over on top of the large 1L mason jar I plan to store the concentrate in. (Pro tip: I run some cool water through the paper filter first, before the coffee, and dump it out, to remove any papery taste). 
  8. As I mentioned, I usually have to do stage one and stage two filtering twice due to large volume! Dump out the sludge the bottom of the french press after the first round, and pour the rest of the original liquid in, press again, and then pour that throught the Hario as well. 
  9. There you have it, beautiful coffee concentrate! This will last in the fridge a couple of weeks, and you don't need much at a time - see below.
Final product: a big ol' jar of coffee concentrate, ready to caffeinate you as soon as your kettle is done.

Final product: a big ol' jar of coffee concentrate, ready to caffeinate you as soon as your kettle is done.

Now Let's make Coffee with the concentrate!

It is MEGA simple.

Mine and T's preferred ratio is:

  • 1/3 coffee concentrate (you might like even less, like 1/4)
  •    ---TO---
  • 2/3 boiling water for HOT COFFEE
  •    ---OR---
  • 2/3 cold almond milk or cold water for ICED COFFEE or an ICED LATTE

There you have it! Now in the morning you can just turn the kettle on and moments later enjoy a delicious cup of hot coffee, or on a hot sunny day throw some ice in a glass, and have an iced coffee ready in moments.

Benefits to making coffee this way

Here are some things that both T and I have noticed after making coffee this way for a long time now:

  • You can really taste the subtley of the beans this way - unique flavour is much more pronounced. 
  • The taste is VERY SMOOTH! In fact, all other coffee tastes burnt now (and no, I'm not talking about old diner style coffee that has been on the warmer for hours, I mean even high quality coffee, brewed in ways that we used to enjoy, tastes less flavourful now, and just burnt).
  • The coffee "jolt" is much less severe this way, but the good kind of coffee buzz is still there: I find that I get that happy little rush of creativity and flow (hello, YIN energy), but that it is more steady and slow burning / less cray cray. I've got a fair amount of vata in my constitution (ayurvedic speak), so I have to watch consumption of things that make me even more "airy" and I don't seem to get nearly as spacey or jittery with cold brew compared to when I drink regular drip coffee.
  • You can add some of this concentrate to a smoothie with frozen bananas, almond milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon and maple syrup or honey for the best.damn.milkshake.ever
  • My belly never hurts drinking this coffee, even if I have enjoyed too much of it
  • TIP: any extras you can freeze in ice cube trays to throw in a blended drink, or to use as coffee ice cubes in iced coffee!
  • The little bit of extra work in preparation that you do once a week, more than makes up for the DAILY TIME SAVING - seriously, it is as easy as making tea, once you have the concentrate brewed

Troubleshooting

Coffee Tastes Weak or Watery

  • Steep it longer
  • Grind your beans a little finer
  • Add more concentrate to water ratio when you make your cup of coffee
  • Make sure you haven't left it in your fridge for ages - two weeks max, but tastes best the first week

Coffee is Sludgy

  • Use both the First and Second Stage filtering suggestions, if you weren't already
  • Try changing your paper filter halfway through, or doing two rounds of filtering with paper
  • Grind your beans a little coarser (if there is super fine sediment, and your paper filter isn't catching it)

Just isn't Tasting Amazing

  • Trust that you will find a delicious brew, and be willing to experiment with:
    • different roasts of beans. In general, I [personally really do not like more acidy sour tasting roasts, so whichever method of brewing I am doing, that won't change (though an acidy bean brewed this way is still much nicer than brewed another way, for my tastebuds). I feel like darker or med-dark really suits this brewing method
    • different lengths of steeping
    • different coarseness of beans
  • It takes a little time to get it right, so write down what you are doing each time, so once you find that perfect brew you know how many hours and what kind of beans, coarsness etc.

A large part of my inspiration for this post was thanks to my lovely and inspiring plant based soul-sister Juliette! Her and I click on every possible level, and I am so grateful that our paths have crossed. I'm sure we have been friends for many lifetimes. At the end of 2016, her and her family downsized their life, left Victoria, and are currently traveling North America in an RV, while homeschooling, and home-cooking whole food meals. They are exploring and adventuring, and blogging about it all (see their RV travel blog here!). Recently Juliette was inspired to make an upgraded cold brew elixir with adaptogenic herbs and more, and used my recipe here for the first step. Please check out Juliette's food and nutrition blog for our cold brew collaboration (I'll link to the direct post once it is up) as well as lots of other amazing recipes and clean living tips. There really isn't anything that Juliette doesn't do - she's kinda my hero. <3 I have a feeling there will be plenty more collaborations to come!

THANKS FOR READING - I VALUE YOU ALL SO MUCH <3

You will be seeing regular posts here again, as I have found my way back to my inspiration once more, and am currently one happy little dainty pig, ready and excited to connect.

And please tell me: what is your favourite way to brew coffee?