Ever since I blew my mind by cold-brewing ground cacao nibs, I've been experimenting with the process, and have discovered some amazing variations on the formula.
1. Chocolate/coffee blend
Cold-brewing with 50/50 mixes of ground cacao nibs and ground coffee, both somewhat coarse (a little coarser than a French press grind). Outstanding flavor, with a caffeine kick. A refreshing cold mocha, spectacular with cream and/or bourbon or other whiskeys, like a cold Irish coffee, or Kahlua with the gross removed.
2. Chocolate/coffee bend (hot)
Grind the coffee and cacao a little finer and extract with water just off the boil in an Aeropress -- about one Aeropress scoop of each. Takes a lot of pressing -- about 3x more than a regular Aeropress. But ZOMFG, is this amazing. Like one of those novelty flavored coffee pods would taste like, if they weren't fucking awful.
3. Chocolate megadose
A failed experiment: I tried to make a super-chocolatey cold brew cacao by using four scoops of ground nibs in a tea strainer in a mug of water in the fridge overnight. The results were absolutely vile, undrinkably bitter, with a lingering, poisonous aftertaste. Even diluted, this was terrible. The dose makes the poison, for sure.
Next up: I'm going to try variations on the nut-milk bag method to counter the natural buoyancy of ground cacao (the bag tends to float to the top of the jug). Some ideas: putting a weight in the bag (whiskey stones?); use Sugru to affix a hook to the bottom of the bag and an eye to the bottom of the jug.
(Image: cold brew experiment, Dennis Tang, CC-BY-SA)
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Word on the Street, Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
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