Today on a very special Diesel Sweeties webcomic installment, an important dialog for coffee-drinkers to practice with their faithless peers.
Image: "Indonesian farmer shows coffee beans already digested by Asian Palm Civet, but before cleaning and roasting" (HaztechGuy/Wikipedia)
I've just finished teaching week four of the amazing Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop at UC San Diego; in addition to spending a week working closely with some very talented writers, I came up with a new and cheap way to make astounding cold-brew coffee.
I bought a $10 "nut-milk" bag and a plastic pitcher. Every night before bed, I ground up about 15 Aeropress scoops' (570 ml) worth of espresso roast coffee -- the $20 Krups grinder is fine for this, though I wouldn't use it with an actual espresso machine -- leaving the beans coarse. I filled the bag with the grind, put it in the bottom of the empty pitcher like a huge tea-bag, and topped up the pitcher with tap water (distilled water would have been better -- fewer dissolved solids means that it'll absorb more of the coffee solids, but that's not a huge difference). I wedged the top of the bag between the lid and the pitcher and stuck it in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, I took the bag out of the pitcher and gave it a good squeeze to get the liquor out of the mush inside. Add water to the pitcher to fill to the brim and voila, amazing cold-brew. You can dilute it 1:1 or even further.
Cleanup was easy: invert the bag over a trashcan or garbage disposal, rinse off the bag, and you're ready to go.
This produced very, very good coffee concentrate, with only a little grit settled into the bottom 3mm of the pitcher (easy to avoid). It may just be the cheapest and easiest cold-brewing method I've yet tried.
Cuppow is a a reusable lid that turns a glass canning jar into a travel mug. They have versions for regular and wide mouth glass jars. It's made in the USA from BPA-free, Phthalate-free plastic. What a great idea! Amazon has the regular mouth size for $8; you supply the jar. Cuppow Regular and Cuppow Wide Mouth
The handle on Superstaar's portafilter cracked, and he couldn't get a replacement: "Luckily, my son keeps a good collection of sticks. Sawed one off, drilled a hole, stuck in the portacafe, fixed the crack with tiewraps, et voila. Works better than the original, and is insanely stylish."
Behold, the magnificent coffeebot! Sounds like this was a timer-percolator with a thermos bottle or a hotplate, but man, what an illustration!
Well, the brewing takes a lot longer, but that's some admirably compact instructional video right there. They skip the filtering step, which can be messy. You can do it one cup at a time in an Aeropress, run it through a paper filter in a pour-over or a sieve, or try cheesecloth.
Empire State Development, the New York State agency devoted to promoting New York businesses, threatened the (extremely excellent) Everyman Espresso shop with a lawsuit because they used an "I [Coffee Cup] New York" logo (the logo appears on the knuckles of Sam Penix, who co-owns Everyman). After Everyman took the sign down, Empire State Development's lawyers demanded "an accounting of all gross revenues generated during the period when the I ♥ NY® Trademark was used" so that they could figure out how big a bill to send to a small New York business for using it.
“Basically, it’s extortion,” he said. “It’s also ironic because we are being threatened by the entity that has vowed to grow our New York business.”
The mission of Empire State Development, the department’s parent agency, is indeed “to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies.” Empire State Development is also home to the state tourism department, which started an effort last year to revive and reinvent its “I ♥ NY” campaign.
On Monday, Everyman slapped a “Censored” sign over the logo on the door of its second shop, on West Broadway in SoHo, which opened last summer. Everyman’s principals are complying with Ms. Neumann’s request, albeit under protest. “We just think there’s no likelihood of confusion,” Mr. Terrana said.
Brian Ashcraft updates us on the astounding foam-art of Osaka barista Kazuki Yamamoto. Yamamoto has now mastered 3D foam, and is blowing my mind. Ashcraft has a series of posts documenting the journey of Yamamoto to undisputed novelty foam king of the Pacific Rim.
Adam P sez, "I first found out about the Aeropress on Boing Boing and it has dramatically improved my quality of life as an expat here in China. When purchasing another one online for a colleague, I was well titillated by the shop's 28 point photo guide to the differences between a real and fake Aeropress."
Kent sez, "Here's a travel hack that came to me all at once in a flash at SxSW this year: how to make cold-brewed coffee out of the horrible filter pack and inadequate equipment you often find in hotels in the USA."
Kent's method is clever and upside-down-y, but I still like my method, which involves using your own coffee and a disposable plastic breast-milk bag.
Carefully unwrap (don't tear!) one or two of those premeasured filter-packs that came with your coffee service and stuff it gently into the cup. Ideally you want four parts water to one part coffee, but this is tough to estimate with filter packs.
Fill the remaining space in the cup all the way up with water. Tap water works; filtered or bottled is better. Try not to leave any air bubbles.
Don't worry if it seems it will result in a tiny amount of coffee; it will be concentrated, intensely flavored, and—assuming you're not stuck with decaf—highly caffeinated.
Beau Chevassus resolved to order the most expensive coffee drink in the world, so he went to Starbucks and ordered a 48-shot Frappuccino with every single revolting additive, had it blended and drank at least one slurp of it. Total cost was $47.30. I believe that Mr Chevassus could probably have spent more had he visited a Starbucks in Dubai or Moscow, and possibly have availed himself of even more revolting adulterations courtesy of the local variations available in different regions (caviar?).
The Quadriginoctuple Frap. Previous record: $23.60. I used a 52 oz bucke--I mean mug. (it really is a legit mug). The drink had 48 shots. Filmed in Washington State, home of Starbucks.
The winning recipes from the 2012 Aeropress championships give me the fear. Clearly I have not been paying enough attention to this.
17 grams of coffee (light roasted fresh crop washed Sidamo from Heart roasters)
fine filter grind on a Mahlkönig Tanzania
paper filter rinsed with hot water
water from Maridalsvannet (brought in glass bottles from my flat in Oslo, Norway)
inverted brewing method
preheat aeropress for 10 sec
96 Celcius pour temp (gives ca 90 C actual brew temp)
260 grams of water
50 sec steep time
20 sec press time – slow enough to get a clean brew but also some fines (yuck) and oils (yum)
stop pressing before air comes out
wait for the fines to sink and temp to cool, then pour but hold back the last part with the fines (taste sample for yourself!)
The cup: a clean brew with floral notes and taste of sweet lemons.
Aeropress remains my all time favorite cup of joe, and my go-to method when I'm on the road.