5 ways to Enjoy Your Coffee Cold

July 21st, 2014 by

Last week’s post explained how to adjust our hot steeping instructions to make loose leaf iced tea, and it’s only fair to give coffee its due. Even if you already brew and drink it by the bucketful, there’s probably something on this list you haven’t tried.

1. Over Ice

…and in a glass. It sounds obvious, but there are many ways to skin a cat. The lazy version: pour hot coffee brewed the usual way over ice. If you’ve ever ordered iced coffee and it wasn’t on the menu, this is probably why you were disappointed. Hot brewing typically produces a livelier, more acidic cup than trendy cold brew, and it’s perfectly fine for iced coffee, but the key is to brew it strong. Double the grinds per cup of water, and if you’re using a drip machine, don’t let it sit on a burner for long after brewing. Allow it to cool and/or pour over frozen coffee ice cubes for a more concentrated flavor.

Cold brewing is hardly more complicated, but it does require time. Check out our post for a step by step tutorial. The results are mellow and slightly sweet, closely approaching the delicious smell of freshly ground coffee (or coffee roasting, if you’re lucky enough to experience that). Cold brews yield a concentrate that tends to store better than hot and still taste delicious a week or more in the fridge. Dilute the concentrate 1:1 with water or milk (or try almond milk, coconut water, or anything else you can think) and pour over ice.

IMG_6751

2. Vietnamese

Combining strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk, Vietnamese iced coffee is addictively delicious. You can easily make it with espresso or with cold brewed coffee, whichever you prefer. Simply pour 2oz of sweetened condensed milk over ice, top with coffee, and stir.

3. Blended

A banana almond smoothie like this one would be a motivating start to your day with a shot of cold brew. Drink it for breakfast or before a workout, and get your swole on – minus the shaking and anger induced by some bro supplements.  Or go in a different direction altogether, and throw in some ice cream and chocolate syrup. Top with whipped cream and enjoy on the couch.

4. Shaken

A simple twist on iced coffee, the frothy shakerato is easy to make and looks impressive served in a fancy cocktail glass. Combine a shot of hot espresso, 4 teaspoons of simple syrup, and 6 ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and SHAKE for a good half a minute (a mason jar also works in a pinch). Serve immediately.  Top with whipped cream if you like. For variations on this theme, try shaking with milk for more of a latte style drink, flavored syrup, or liqueur.

IMG_7211

5. Boozy

Speaking of liqueurs, coffee makes a great mixer. That’s no secret, but most popular adult coffee drinks are hot. Why these same drinks aren’t served iced in the summer is a mystery to me. Try using cold espresso or cold brewed coffee concentrate with your poison of choice: Frangelico, Bailey’s, Kahlua, tequila, whiskey, etc.

 

 

Loose Leaf Iced Tea: You can brew it!

July 11th, 2014 by

For most tea drinkers (in this country anyway), tea equals tea bags. Unless you’ve happened upon a bum bag, you may have never seen what’s inside. And if you have had one bust open, you probably think that tea is a dusty mess. If your pursuit of a better cup has led you to loose leaf teas, you know that’s not so. Whole tea leaves are quite a bit larger than anything you will find in a tea bag. Why is this important? The aromatic oils responsible for flavor evaporate quickly when tea leaves are broken. Whole leaves retain their flavor longer and a larger bag, or no bag at all means they are free to fully expand and express themselves (yield flavor and brew a delicious cup).

If you are a loose leaf convert, you probably know how to brew your favorite teas. If you don’t, we tried to make it simple on our Tattle Tea site by providing some general  guidelines as well as specific brewing instructions for each tea, including amount of tea, ideal water temperature and steep time. But that’s per cup, hot. How does that translate to iced, especially if you’re used to throwing a bunch of teabags in a pitcher?

How to Brew Loose Leaf Iced Tea

Green, white, herbal, flavored — if you like it hot, try it iced. The hot water method may be the easiest place to start. This method creates a concentrated shot of hot tea you can then pour over ice and serve immediately. Start by calculating how much tea you would need to brew 16 oz double-strength (our instruction on the site and our packaging are for 8 oz, so double the tea quantity). 8 oz of hot Orange Pekoe, for example, requires 1.5 tsp of tea leaves. 16 oz would be 3 tsp, or 6 tsp for a double strength batch. Now, if you will be pouring this over ice, so you only need about 4 oz of hot water total to account for ice melt. That means you will be brewing 6 tsp in 4 oz of near-boiling water. The steep time and water temperature is the same as for regular hot tea, regardless of strength or quantity. Here’s the recipe:

16 oz. Iced Orange Pekoe

  • Place 6 tsp of loose leaf black tea into an infuser or disposable tea bag
  • Add 4 oz. of near-boiling water
  • Steep for 3.5 minutes
  • Remove tea and add sweetener
  • Pour over a 16 oz glass of ice and serve

For larger quantities, the same tea: hot water: ice ratio applies, just adjust your amounts accordingly.

1 Gallon Iced Orange Pekoe

  • In a 1 gal. pitcher, add 1 dry measuring cup of loose leaf black tea to an infuser or large tea bag (if infuser is not large enough, leave tea loose in the pitcher and pour through a strainer later)
  • Add two quarts of near-boiling water
  • Steep for 3.5 minutes
  • Remove tea and add sweetener
  • Add ice until the pitcher is full
  • Tea is ready to be served or stored in a refrigerator or freezer and served as needed

Cold Steeping Convenience

As always, a little bit of planning can make life so much easier.  The beauty of cold steeping is that the tea will never over-steep and become bitter, which is often a problem for green teas and anyone forgetful in the kitchen. Also, the ratio of tea:water needed is the same as for hot tea, which makes it the better choice for the math-impaired.*

There are dozens of cold steep jugs available. The Mist Iced Tea Jug works well for loose leaf tea because it has a tea strainer built into the spout, so no infusers or tea bags are necessary. Cold steeping takes time – overnight is best. There is something about cold steeping that makes me want to get creative. Add some herbs or fruit to the jug and allow it all to infuse together.

50 oz Iced Orange Pekoe

  • Add 3 heaping tablespoons of black tea to the a 50 oz. iced tea jug
  • Fill with water
  • Leave in refrigerator overnight or for minimum of 8 hours
  • Sweeten if desired. Simple syrup mixes easily with cold tea
  • When ready to serve, pour over ice

*Since the tea will already be cold, it is unnecessary to compensate for ice melt with extra tea or with less water.

So Long to a Great Month

June 30th, 2014 by

June is a month full of the promise of summer fun and we’re a little sad to see it go. About a third of our staff has a birthday in June which made for a cake fueled roller coaster of a good time and a professional atmosphere like the one pictured below.

Happy Birthday Liz

Our annual kickball game divided us into two blood thirsty, trophy-eyed groups. Mouthy underdog team “Cat Attack’s” brave but ineffectual fight against “Unicorn Slaughterhouse” made for an exciting viewing experience. Of course as always, the real show was in the office rivalry.

IMG_4792

 The winners, above.

IMG_4795

The losers. They’re cure though.

June also marks our 10th anniversary in business, a cause for celebration! Nomad pizza’s wood-fired brick oven on wheels brought the party to us and a Friday afternoon parking lot party put to rest any lingering kickball rancor (for the most part). We’re ready to move on as a team united (next year, Cat Attack).

14359112939_27ccc2cef8_z

14542314031_ebfe5a9ee1_z

June’s been great, and we’re ready for more summer. Next month brings exciting new iced coffee flavors and we will continue to offer our popular Anniversary Blend. Tea drinkers, check out our iced tea sampler and watch for new samplers soon on Tattle Tea!

What’s New for June

June 3rd, 2014 by

June is a beautiful month, especially the June I fantasize about in February, which does not include hay fever. That is a surprise every year. This June is extra-special because it marks our tenth anniversary. Ten years of roasting, blending, and creating some of the most unique flavors out there! We’re celebrating with cake, and not the ten year old frozen kind. Some of our featured flavors in June:

Strawberry_Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Red_Velvet

Red Velvet Cake

If you’re a tea drinker too, celebrate the warm weather with a pitcher of Blueberry Lemon Cake iced tea (it’s great hot too).

Blueberry_Lemon

Blueberry Lemon Cake Rooibos

Usually our customers fall into one of two categories: flavored coffee lovers and flavored coffee haters.  Lucky for you, we try to have something truly special each month for our customers in both camps. For you flavor haters (aka coffee purists,) our brand new anniversary blend is a mix of some of our all-time favorite coffees, or if you’re looking to try something new, give our smoked coffees a try. Smoked the old fashioned way, it is truly in a class of its own. In addition to our original smoked coffee blend, we’re also offering a new, slightly more mellow blend, Cafe Fume.

Although we’re thrilled that purists love the subtle smoke flavor, we also know that our flavor lovers might need something extra to keep their taste buds interested.  For these wild men and women, we’ve made Campfire S’more smoked coffee, Vanilla Bourbon Smoked Coffee, and flavor favorite Maple Bacon smoked coffee.

A decade of playing with coffee and flavor has produced some weird and delicious cult favorites (Jamaican Me Groggy, Zombie Cure, etc). Because we now have over four hundred flavors and we can’t stop experimenting, we regularly change what we offer on our site. Never fear. We can make just about any of your favorite flavors or blends for you year-round. Just call and ask!

Tea Sangria

April 17th, 2014 by

You may have seen our new tea and wine infusion kit, featuring our Mist iced tea jug designed for cold-steeping, and three single-serve packs of Love Struck Rooibos herbal tea. Essentially, we took the two best things to flow from a pitcher, mixed them together, and they were both better for it. The right tea really can enhance an inexpensive bottle of wine. Think of it as a kind of sangria, using a spiced, slightly sweet herbal tea instead of fruit and brandy. The kit eliminates guesswork (and mess). Just empty one pre-measured pack of tea into the jug, fill with wine (we recommend Pinot Grigio), and chill overnight. The Mist jug has a screen in the spout that strains the tea for you. When it’s ready, pour the infusion into a glass and enjoy. We really hope you appreciate the amount of office drinking that went into getting this recipe just right.

Delicious as it is used as prescribed, you can have some fun experimenting with this kit too, and we have. We were  interested in a more traditional fruit sangria variation and after trying different wine-tea-fruit combinations, these two were declared the winners. For both recipes, we started with the chilled tea-infused wine. After pouring the infusion out and returning it to the pitcher to strain the tea leaves, we added fruit and let things sit overnight before serving.

Sangria #1: Peach and Mango Lovestruck Rooibos

Lovestruck Rooibos is the tea we include with the infusion kit. An herbal tea blend with hibiscus, ginger, and citrus peel, the Lovestruck pairs well with many wines and adds a beautiful red color. This time around we tried it with a dry Riesling. The fruity sweetness of the Riesling and ginger-y spice from the tea worked great for this fruit combination. Peach liquor might be a nice addition for a little added sweetness.

PeachMango

Sangria #2: Blueberry Basil Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade is one of new spring teas flavored without anything artificial, just lavender, lemon myrtle, hibiscus, and marigold petals. It’s spectacularly flavorful.  For our second sangria experiment we infused a bottle of Gruner Veltliner with seven teaspoons of tea. We added basil leaves and frozen blueberries, which turned the infusion a lovely purplish red. The lemon-basil-lavender flavor combination was dangerously delicious and refreshing. Try it with your favorite dry white wine or add fresh mint and blueberries for a variation on the theme.

IMG_0183

Pairing teas and wines with fruit is a fun game we plan on playing all summer long. Have an idea for a combination? Share it — we’d be happy to give it a try and report back!