Earl Grey Goose: Infusing Vodka with Loose Leaf Tea

July 2nd, 2015 by

1S0A1323

Infusing alcohol is a creative way to put a personal stamp on your favorite cocktail recipes and preserve the flavor of the season’s glorious fruits, herbs, and flowers. Enjoy your infusions all summer long or reward your shoveling in February with the taste of sunshine.

While fresh ingredients take days or even weeks to fully infuse, tea and spice infusions reach their best flavor fairly quickly and make a great place to start. Vodka’s neutral flavor makes it pretty foolproof as far adding ingredients goes. When choosing a base for your infusion, keep in mind that a higher alcohol content will increase the extraction power. High proof spirits (100 proof or higher) are diluted with water to a drinkable level once the infusion is complete. If you’re sticking to tea, which infuses easily, a lower alcohol (80 proof) content is perfectly fine, no dilution required.

What you’ll need

Vodka, 80 proof. We use Grey Goose, because we like to be fancy, it’s very drinkable infused, and because of the word Grey.

Loose leaf Earl Grey black tea. We also offer an organic version, but conducted our experiment with our standard Earl Grey. Both use 100% real oil of bergamot, extracted from the rind of bergamot oranges.

A tea strainer. We used the Hook Handle Tea Infuser, a simple metal strainer. If you’re using a finer cut of tea, you may want to strain the infusion through a coffee filter.

The Ratio

For every 1 cup of vodka, we added 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea.

The Method

Add your desired amount of vodka and tea, in the ratio above, to a mason jar or other sealable container. Add the lid and shake to combine. Let it sit in a cool place, away from light. The flavor should be just right at 12 hours, but you can definitely drink it much earlier. After just a few hours the vodka will be tasty, but the bergamot flavor dominates. It takes a longer time for the black tea flavor to emerge, and it’s worth waiting a few more hours for. Enjoy  it cold, strained over ice, make yourself a martini, or try it with grapefruit soda (the earl greyhound).

 

 

 

 

Behind the Flavor: Black Forest Cake

June 22nd, 2015 by

Black Forest Splash

We unveiled a new flavor this month: Black Forest Cake, inspired by this delicious rustic version the traditional German dessert. While we feel Black Forest Cake coffee does the flavor justice, we did eat the cake pictured above in the name of research and feel slightly guilty that we didn’t share. So, here’s the recipe, adapted loosely from Butter and Brioche, baked by our shipping supervisor Lori.
While kirsch liqueur is traditionally used in the cherry topping, we skipped that step with store-bought cherry pie filling, but gave it a hillbilly twist, adding moonshine-soaked cherries on top. Consider it the rural New Jersey version.

Black Forest Cake Newsletter

Ingredients
For the cake (three layers):
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1-1/3 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tbsp boiling water
For the frosting:
  • 17.5 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 6-8 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons cup heavy whipping cream
For the cherries:
Directions
Bake the cake:
  1. Heat an oven to 350 F. Grease and line three 7 inch cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the sugar, eggs, sour cream, butter and hot water. Stir gently until the batter is uniform and smooth.
  4. Divide between the three prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes then let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely before leveling any domed tops and assembling.
Whip the cream:
  1. Beat the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until creamy. Add the cream and whip until thickened and spreadable, being carefully not to over whip and split the mixture.
Put it all together:
  1. Place the first cake layer on a serving platter. Spread a thick layer of the mascarpone cream frosting on-top. Place cherry topping over the frosting and gently press in to indent.
  2. Place the second cake layer over the first and repeat the layering process as before.
  3. Top with the third cake layer. Decorate with a generous amount of cherry filling, adding some moonshine cherries (recommended) to the mix. Refrigerator before serving.

Vietnamese Coffee Pops Recipe

June 19th, 2015 by

 

Coffee Pops

 

Combining rich coffee with sweetened condensed milk, Vietnamese iced coffee can quickly become a habit in the summer.  The traditional recipe uses a Vietnamese press, which brews a single serving of strong coffee into a glass containing sweetened condensed milk. Pour the mixture over ice and you’ve got something magical.

I’ve always thought this would be a fantastic ice cream flavor, but heat makes me lazy, and all that stirring sounds like hard labor. Popsicles to the rescue. Sweetened condensed milk is blended throughout the top and bottom layers of this recipe, so you get a nice mix of the coffee and sweet cream flavor at the top, finishing off with a little vanilla at the bottom.

What you’ll need

Popsicle molds for 12 pops

2 cups of cold dark coffee (we used our French Roast coffee, brewed in a French press and cooled)

1- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

Non-stick cooking spray (optional)

Directions

  • Whisk the cold coffee and 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl and pour the mixture into your molds until each is about 3/4 full.*
  • Freeze for 2 hours or until the mixture is slushy, but frozen enough to hold a popsicle stick. The harder first layer is, the better the separation will be. A slightly softer layer will create a swirl effect, which is just as delicious.
  • In the meantime, mix together 6 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1-1/2 cups of the heavy cream.
  • Fill the remaining space in the molds with the cream mixture (you may have a little left over, depending on the size of the mold).
  • Freeze until very solid. Sweetened condensed milk takes a while to harden. Let it sit overnight or longer.

* A word about popsicle molds: 

Having a stick come out in your hand while the rest of your frozen treat remains stuck in the mold is a frustration no one should have to suffer ever. I recommend silicone molds, but managed to have success with the  old-fashioned plastic kind by spraying a little non-stick cooking spray inside before adding the coffee/milk mixture.

If that idea grosses you out, you can also dip the frozen pops in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds or longer before pulling the sticks gently. I recommend doing that anyway, spray or no spray. While they are an awkward shape to eat, Dixie cup pops might be the simplest method of all. Simply peel the paper off, no tugging (or heartbreak) required.

 

 

Tea Margarita Recipe

June 12th, 2015 by

Sometimes when you can’t decide between two great things you should just try them together. The possibility of a new great thing is worth the risk that you will ruin them both. It’s a stuffy 89 degrees today and while a tall glass of iced tea sounds perfect, so does a margarita. Tea-ritas it is.

Tea-ritas are a thing, we did not invent them. There are many variations, and we tried a few before finding our favorite. Tea with a strong flavor stands up best to tequila, which is why we used English Breakfast black in our recipe, brewed strong. The result was a little like an Arnold Palmer with a kick, the black tea flavor perfect with the lime juice and Triple Sec.

Tea Margarita

Directions

Add 1 cup of strong black iced tea (we used Organic English Breakfast) to a cocktail shaker. Pour in 1 shot of silver tequila, 1 oz triple sec, 1 shot of  fresh lime juice, and 1/4 cup simple syrup or agave syrup. Shake it over ice and strain into a glass with a salted rim, if you like that sort of thing. Garnish with lime.

 

 

Simple Pour Over Coffee: How to Hario

May 15th, 2015 by

Why would a person make drip coffee by hand, when there are machines for that?

If you’ve noticed the line moving more slowly at your local fancy coffee shop, pour over coffee may be to blame. The basic process involves pouring water by hand in a slow stream through grounds in a filter to produce a single cup or small batch. If this sounds like what your drip machine does, but slowly and with lots of room for human error, you are correct.

So why is this popular? Pour over is known for having a fuller, more complex flavor than automatic drip coffee, and a brighter, less heavy flavor than French press. Not necessarily better, it can yield different or a range of results from the same coffee depending on the pour. Control over the temperature and flow of the water allows for more control over the flavor profile of the end result.

If you’re interested, but doubt your ability to manage more than a push of a button in the morning, you might be wondering if manual brewers are worth the effort. We picked the Hario V60 system to demonstrate how simple the process can be. If you use an automatic brewer, you already know the basic steps by heart: place coffee in a filter, place a filter in a cone, and add water. The big difference is that you pour the water by hand. You might want to experiment a little to get your pour down pat, but once you know the drill, you can easily make this a part of your routine.


Simple Pour Over Coffee: How to Hario from Coffee Bean Direct on Vimeo.

What you’ll need:

Hario V60 Dripper

Hario V60 Range Server

Hario V60 filters

Coffee

Tablespoon

Directions:

  1. Boil some water in a kettle. The Hario we’re using holds 20 oz, but you can also brew a single serving with the same equipment. After boiling, set aside.
  1. Fold a V60 paper filter along the seam for a better fit and place it in the dripper.
  1. Optional: lightly wet the entire filter with a little hot water. With the dripper attached, pour the hot water out once it has drained through.
  1. Place ground coffee into the filter. We recommend 2 tablespoons (1 coffee scoop) of medium-fine coffee per 6 oz of water. If you want to be fancy, level the grounds and make a divot in the center. This will encourage drainage though the grounds.
  1. Pour just enough water into the filter to wet all the grounds and wait 45-60 seconds, about the time it takes to find a pop-tart and stick it in the toaster.
  1. Slowly pour the remaining water over the grounds. The key to doing this right is to pour very slowly in circular motion and to keep the stream of water on the coffee. Try to avoid hitting the filter or the center directly. This is easier with a thin-spouted kettle, but any kettle or teapot can work if you go slow and keep the stream as fine as you can.
  1. While the last of the water is draining, give the grounds a stir with a spoon.
  1. Replace the dripper with the top of the server and swirl the carafe.
  1. Pour, drink, and get on with your day.