My Perfect Iced Coffee
I believe as with every other subject in this world cooking is most definitely an ever learning process where you not only learn new dishes , techniques ways , sometimes you get to improve upon that what you previously know and sometimes you hit upon the exact note and then stick to it.
Like I keep on saying taste cannot be anything but subjective and with the firm notion of the importance of the subjective nature of palate sometimes we find people with a similar taste and then does the merriment begin.
I have a few close friends and I always feel extremely happy and lucky that one of my closest friend , Tori and I have taste which is quite similar when it comes to food. We both like seasonal food which is apt for the seasons, we have this palate and appetite for a variety of cheese, we both love meaty treats and we both love love love strong coffee I mean really strong which sadly very few cafes make in India (Mumbai or Kolkata)
Anyway point is just like I try my hands on every dish that I eat outside which catches my fancy for years I had tried making iced coffee at home and it always missed this mark. No matter how lovingly I ground the coffee or how generously I used the coffee it was just not what I would have wanted.
Finally somewhere in the beginning of the season of heat and dust in 2013 I chanced upon The Pioneer Woman's post on Iced coffee.
What caught my attention was the method of brewing and I thought there was no harm in trying out this new technique. It was a bit time consuming but after a good 12 hours the fruit of the labour was so beautiful and sweet that I knew this was it.
Of course Tori approved of it with all her heart and quite honestly though it might sound pompous (though all the steps I follow are collected from all over the internet including Pioneer Woman's brewing mwthod which she has herself admitted to have collected from somewhere. isn't it great when good information is passed on this way) this coffee is for those who like the strong flavour of coffee than the watery mild flavoured coffee that one purchases in the cafes in India.
Anyway last year when I had invited my friend Pritha who blogs from Guilt Free I had made this coffee for her and she seemed quite pleased with it.
Well months went by and the hot season hit us hard again when The Shirazaine shared this article from The Huffington which basically was a gist of everything I do with my iced coffee and so I decided to make a tall cooling glass of this magic potion for the summers and as usual when two food bloggers are friends except them to whatsapp each other at any given point of the day about food tirelessly and passionately. So Pritha told me I should make a post about it and so here it is.
This one I dedicate to Tori and Pritha. I have jotted down the steps which are crucial for the taste. Perhaps you would be interested in giving it a shot.
This process needs a bit of planning but I feel it is worth it. Hurrying the method does just not give the required results.
All you need are good coffee beans. I live in India and the ones from Nilgiri in South India work beautifully for me. Now you would ask me where I procure it from. In Kolkata you get it at good Tea shops which sell loose tea. They keep coffee beans as well. And where there is a will there is always a way. When I had gotten married and my husband was in Mumbai I would frequently visit the city and found amazing beans at The Philips Coffee Shop. So basically every city will have a place which sells coffee beans . All you have to do is search a bit and you won't end up paying a fortune for coffee if you don;t want to. In case you want to use the beans from the exotic Costa Rica or Ethiopia its completely your choice and it probably might just give you better quality coffee which I cannot talk about since I have not used coffee from any exotic place for coffee. Instant coffee just does not give the required flavour and yes I have tried that as well.
I use a normal coffee grinder and in my experience the powder needs to be finely ground for good flavour.
Now comes the important part and yes I believe this is a very important part. Its cold brewing all the way. So basically you soak the ground coffee with water and let the flavour infuse for a minimum of 18 hours to 24 hours and then you basically use a muslin cloth to strain the coffee and its flavour is what the iced coffee is all about. The coffee to water ratio is 1:8 as per Jamie Oliver's site. I usually use about 120gm ground coffee per litre of water. Then you put this in the refrigerator to cold brew. Then you do the needful of straining.
The Coffee Cubes
Now this part is again crucial for my coffee. Have you ever had a well made iced coffee and you love the first few sips and slowly and steadily the coffee gets diluted and you feel meh. Well here is the answer. Again this is also a method I chanced upon some article over the internet. Once your coffee has been cold brewed take some of the coffee add sugar as required. I usually need about 8gm to 10 gm per 250ml brewed coffee and then freeze it in a ice cube tray.
The Final Product
Well here is where you taste is yours and so how you make it depends on how you like it. Personally speaking I reduce milk not to the consistency of condensed milk but say if I take 250ml milk I would reduce it for 15 minutes , cool it chill it and use about 125ml of milk per 500ml brewed coffee. I like it really strong. I just blend the coffee and milk with some brown sugar and voila its done.
The Pioneer woman uses condensed milk following some Vietnamese coffee recipe.
Finally fill a tall glass or jar with the coffee ice cubes and add the blend and sip away my friend.
While making the final product you can always experiment by using dairy cream, chocolate if you like that or some other flavour . P.s. Sometimes I make alcohol based coffee essence at home and 1 tsp of that takes the coffee to a whole new level.