Flash Brewed Iced Coffee

Thursday, September 8th, 2016 by

Flash Brew

If you’re one of the many iced coffee lovers who’ve made the switch to cold brew, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about “flash brewed” iced coffee. Back before cold brew was a thing, iced coffee was often regular strength hot coffee (or yesterday’s coffee) poured over ice. The result was watery and disappointing. Also called ice brewed or Japanese-style iced coffee, flash brewed iced coffee is brewed fresh over ice, usually using a pour-over brewer like the Chemex or Hario. For a visual, check out our video on brewing hot or iced coffee with the Chemex. It can also be made with a regular old automatic drip machine or an Aeropress. The key is allowing the coffee to drip directly onto the ice as it brews. Drip by drip, it cools instantly and less dilution occurs than if you were to dump a cup or a pot full of hot coffee over ice.

Flash brew vs. cold brew

If cold brew tastes a little flat to you, that’s because ground coffee requires heat to release some of its acids and aromatic oils (for details on the cold brewing method, check out our post). Cold brewed coffee is much less acidic, but possibly also less nuanced in flavor. High temperatures also cause these oils to oxidize and degrade over time, resulting in the sour or stale taste coffee acquires after sitting on a burner too long. Both methods claim to minimize oxidation, cold brewing by omitting heat and flash brewing by minimizing the amount of time between exposure to heat and consumption.

Another important difference between cold brew and flash brew is texture. Cold brew is less filtered since the coffee sits in contact with the grounds for a long period and some finer sediment dissolves over time. The end result is a rich, mellow cup, with the velvety texture of French press coffee. Flash brewed coffee by comparison is cleaner and crisper, with more bite, more aroma, and some would argue, more flavor.

Flash brewed coffee also has a few convenient advantages over cold brews, depending on your perspective. While nothing is lazier than dumping grounds and water in a bowl and letting them sit, flash brewed coffee is ready right away – no wait required. Also, less coffee is required since cold brew recipes typically make a concentrate with a high ratio of grounds to water. For flash brewing, start with the amount of coffee you would normally use, and replace half the brewing water with ice. Increase the grounds to water ratio if you like a little stronger taste from your iced coffee.

So which one wins? Cold brewing will emphasize more chocolaty or nutty characteristics while the acidity of flash brew will taste fruitier. Try picking a single origin coffee with an acidity level and flavor notes that will either play up or balance these characteristics. For instance, the higher acidity level of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe really jazzes up a cup of cold brew. To further emphasize its brightness, try it flash brewed. To minimize the acidic flavor of flash brewed coffee, try an Indonesian varietal like Papua New Guinea or Estate Java. Flash Brewed coffee tends to have a more nuanced flavor, perfect for a light roast coffee, but there are no rules. Experiment with roast level, see what you like, and share your recommendations!

 

 

 

Iced Chai Bubble Tea

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 by

Bubble Tea

Bubble tea, also known as boba, is a Taiwanese drink with many variations. The oldest version is sweetened iced tea with milk, shaken until frothy, sometimes poured over tapioca pearls. We decided to try this basic recipe with our Spiced Chai Black Tea, which is delicious sweetened with milk. Unlike store bought bubble tea, you can add as much or little sugar as you like, and any type of milk or creamer you prefer (coconut milk would be great). Have fun with this recipe and make it your own!

Supplies (per serving)

1/4 cup dried tapioca pearls (boba) for bubble tea, such as these

3 teaspoons of looseleaf chai tea

1 cup milk (or to taste)

Simple syrup (substitute agave nectar or honey if you prefer)

extra wide straw

cocktail shaker

Instructions

Make a strong cup of tea and let it cool. We used three teaspoons of loose leaf chai, brewed for about three and a half minutes. Cook your boba according to the instructions on the package. You can find tapioca pearls in different sizes and colors (even rainbow), all of which have a pretty neutral flavor, but the cooking time varies. Once the pearls are cooked and drained, submerge them in simple syrup and store in the fridge. When you’re ready to put it all together, add a scoop of the boba with syrup to the bottom of a glass. Add the milk, tea, and a splash of simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes and shake well. Strain into your glass, add a fat straw, and enjoy!

 

 

Easy French Press Coffee

Thursday, February 18th, 2016 by

Here at the CBD office French press coffee is affectionately called “luxury coffee.” It’s always a treat when we brew a pot.  With French press brewing, the coffee grounds are in direct contact with the water for several minutes and filtered with a mesh strainer. Oils filtered by paper in other brewers remain in the liquid, resulting in a very rich, and flavorful cup.

While it does take a little more input than pushing a button, it doesn’t require a lot of fussiness and it’s so worth the extra effort you won’t mind. To get you started, here are our steps to a great pot of French press.

  1. Make sure your coffee is freshly roasted and ground on a coarse setting.
  2. Use very hot, but not boiling water (let the water sit a minute or two after boiling).
  3. We recommend a ratio of 2 heaping tablespoons per 8 ounces of water. If your coffee isn’t the freshest or you like a stronger flavor, try 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces.
  4. Add the coffee to your pot first, then fill to about halfway with water, saturating all the grounds.
  5. Allow the coffee to stand for one minute, then stir.
  6. Add the rest of your water, leaving just enough room for the French press lid.
  7. Place the lid on the top of your press, without depressing the plunger.
  8. Wait three more minutes, then plunge, pour, and enjoy! If you’re not serving the coffee right away, transferring it to a thermal carafe will keep it from over steeping, and keep it hot.

When it’s time to clean your press, an easy way to get rid of the grounds at the bottom is to swirl some hot water around in there, pouring it out through a mesh sieve. For stubborn stains, try filling the carafe with soapy water and plunging it a few times, or let soak in a 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and boiling water.

Earl Grey Truffles with Orange & Lavender

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 by

truffles

Homemade valentines might bring doilies and glue sticks to mind, but this classy upgrade is almost as easy as the elementary school version. Chocolate truffles are essentially ganache nuggets dusted with cocoa powder. Ganache is incredibly easy to make and dangerous to have in the fridge. This recipe makes a dozen (good sized) truffles, but you might want to double it in case you find yourself “testing” that ganache more than a few times as it cools. We used just enough of our Earl Grey Zephyr loose leaf tea, featuring real oil of bergamot, orange peel, and lavender, to subtly flavor the chocolate. Use more tea to further emphasize the flavor, or try it with our Lady Earl White or Royal Earl Grey Chai.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Earl Grey Zephyr loose leaf tea
  • 6 oz. fine-quality dark chocolate (we used 70% cacao)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

Bring cream and butter to a boil in a saucepan and remove from heat. Stir in tea leaves and let steep 5 minutes. While the tea is steeping, finely grind chocolate in a food processor and transfer to a bowl. Pour the cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve onto the chocolate, discarding the tea leaves. Whisk until smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.

To shape the truffles, spoon even scoops of ganache onto a baking sheet. A melon baller or ice cream scoop can help create rounded, even scoops. Make sure your hands are cold (running them under cold water or holding a piece of ice first helps). Dry and roll each piece of ganache into a ball. Keep the rolling to a minimum to prevent the chocolate from softening. They don’t have to be perfectly round; after all, they’re homemade! Drop several balls at a time into bowl of cocoa powder and turn to coat. Transfer to an airtight container, separating layers with wax paper. Store for up to two weeks in the fridge, dusting lightly with more cocoa before serving if needed.

 

Matcha Cheesecake Recipe

Friday, January 29th, 2016 by

 

Matcha Cheesecake Slices

This delicious cheesecake was made by Lori, our multitalented shipping manager, using our Matcha green tea powder. Matcha is known and loved for its robust, slightly sweet flavor and gorgeous green color. Just a few teaspoons transform this traditional cheesecake recipe into something truly impressive. The chocolate crushed cookie crust is optional, but adds texture and a great color contrast.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb cream cheese softened at room temperature

14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

4 large egg yolks 1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lime zest (optional)

5 teaspoons matcha powder (plus more for dusting)

For the crust:

24 chocolate cookies-finely crushed

1/4 cup unsalted butter-melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan and set aside. Finely crush the cookies in a food processor. Add melted butter and blend until it’s all moistened. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees and begin making the filling. Beat together the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. While beating, add the egg yolks one at a time and beat until very smooth. Add the sour cream, Confectioners sugar, vanilla, lime zest, and matcha. In a separate bowl, beat 4 egg whites with 1/2 t salt until stiff. Fold into the cheese mixture. Pour batter into a 10-inch springform pan lined with the crust. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let sit (door closed) for 45 minutes or more. The cake should cool completely in the oven. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and store in the refrigerator uncovered for the first few hours to prevent condensation. Remove from the pan when cold.

To serve, make sure the cake is dry and dust the top with matcha powder using a fine mesh sieve. Slice the cake while still cold using a thin, non-serrated knife and rinse the blade under hot water between slices. Another great slicing method: use a piece of dental floss, fishing line, or thin wire to cut through the cake. Drop one end at the bottom after each cut and pull it through!