Experiment Number 2 in Cold Brew Coffee

5 04 2015
I first got into cold brewing after a visit to a tea shop in Hong Kong which suggested I could drench my tea leaves in cold water to let them soak before dunking them into hot water. I liked the flavour that produced and my further online reaearch suggested that I could actually go all the way and cold brew tea by soaking tea leaves in a cup overnight in a fridge. That produced a perfect flavour profile (strong, but just short of acidic) for a tea I got from Taiwan. It was convenient too, because I could leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours and drink it,  without having to pay attention to how long I was brewing it while heating the water.
I tried the cold brew experiment a month or two back with a bag of ground coffee from Highlander. I watched a couple of youtube videos, including the one on Jamie Oliver’s channel. I emptied an entire 250g of ground beans into the jar and topped it up with abotu 750 mls of water. I let the jar sit in the fridge overnight before the excruciating process of filtering the ground from the finished product. I used multiple Boncafe’s filters (the 4-6 cups one)  for the entire batch and ended up with a strong concoction (which, not knowing how to dilute, left me jumpy and tachycardic for the evening) it did keep me up for an entire night of partying though. What’s bothered me so far is how the cold brew (or anything short of a properly, foamy latte) lacks a kind of fullness to the sip, but I’ve given up trying to achieve that.
This time round, I decided to try it again, with the intention of using the coffee concentrate for something else. I used about 100gm of coffee power (Kaffe Kaldi’s French Roast) in around 800mls of water. Let it soak for 24 hours and filtered it out (nothing fancy, just a strainer and 6 pieces of filter funnels, consecutively) to come up with the final product that you see on my instagram. The difference between this batch and the previous one, I recall specifically that the KK grounds sank to the bottom while the Highlander ones were mostly floating on the surface. Again, since I do not recall the previous flavour profile, I can’t say for sure how that might have affected the taste.
Co-incidentally, Coffee:Nowhere was hosting a little fair at West Coast Plaza and had some of their cold brews for sale, so  I decided to buy a bottle for comparison’s sake. I cannot recall how my previous batch tasted like and I’m not the connoisseur to differentiate the subtle notes (apple, cinnamon, freshly cut rubber hose), there was something definitely different. My coffee had some bitter notes that were upfront lasted throughout. The bottled coffee (“Specialty Blend”, but no other details) had a gentler, smooth acidic note to it.
I’m not sure if cold brew is a hugely different beast from hot brew, because I have never made my own hot brew at home from grounds and when I’m buying some outside, I never have it black, nonetheless, having two samples to compare, the bottled once had actual flavour beyond the acidic note, while mine didn’t. I noticed the colours looked different, so I diluted mine a little and it toned down the bitter, but had basically, very little flavour otherwise. In retrospect, I should probably consider using the full 200g next time.
What am I going to do with my home made jar of cold brew coffee? Follow me on Instagram @csjjjj and see for yourself tomorrow.

Making your very own smoothie

15 09 2012

The word smoothie has its roots in the fruit based drinks made by Hippies in the 60s, at least according to Wikipedia. I started making my own a month or two after I started taking protein supplements. Despite fancy names like French Vanilla, they.don’t.taste.fantastic. I also realised I didn’t have a lot of fresh foods in my diet, so it seemed natural to mix the two into a post-workout evening meal.

[UPDATE : I read an article on men’s health that says, post workout, you want the protein to reach your blood stream fast. Article on BodyBuilding.com suggests you do something like this before your workout as a source of energy, reducing the chance of your body using protein (and muscle) as a source of energy during workouts and focus less on post-workout carbs.]

Here’s how I make mine.

  1. Ingredients
    A banana, a pear, a small bunch of almonds, a scoop (two if you are post workout) of protein, 8 – 10 cubes of ice, a cup of milk (no added sugar, because the fruits are already sweet and protein has  some artificial sweeteners)
    Mix and match is the key. I realised a pattern where, because you don’t have the complete set of items you need for something, i.e workout equipment, it’s easy to use that as an excuse to not do it. For food, if you feel like you don’t have everything to eat a proper meal, it’s easy to use that as an excuse to reach out for (or buy) a bag of chips. Furthermore, after a while, you can figure out which fruits do and do not go together in a smoothie. This could either be because the tastes don’t match, or because one fruit overwhelms the other. As a rule of thumb, fibrous fruits like apples and pears can give you a thick foam on the surface. You may or may not want that.
  2. Put them in the blender. If you want your fruits and nuts of a consistent size and texture, then you would put them in separately. For me, this is meant to be a quick meal, so I simply  chew on the extra bits.
  3. Drain it out into a mug (this makes 1.5 large mugs for me)
  4. Share the love. Since I’m using my mom’s blender (the multipurpose one she uses for everything from chutney to curry bases), I make it a point to share some with her. She agrees that the protein kind of spoils the taste.

That’s it! Now you absolutely have less of an excuse to not eat healthy, so go ahead and make yourself a smoothie. So far, not all my smoothies have been fantastic, but I’ve never made one that turned out absolutely repulsive, so don’t be afraid to try out different things. While searching around, I ran into NoMeathAthelete’s more comprehensive post, but you can read that later once you’ve tried out my simple recipe above.

Some people who sell smoothies make fancy claims (immune boosting! Detoxification! Making the blind see!) I am not convinced about these claims. What I can say is that a healthy smoothie you make at home (without excess sugar) is better than junk food. And it tastes good.