Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Morning Without Coffee is Like Sleep

I remember my very first sip.  I was about 6 or 7 and my mom told me, "You are not going to like it."  I took the cup, held it to my lips, breathed in deeply, and tasted my first coffee.  I was the type of child, when told they will not like something, it becomes their mission to prove you wrong, so needless to say, I entered a life-long love affair.

One problem I had were those long, hot summer months, which usually ranged from early May to around the end of October.  I wanted my coffee everyday, but those stifling, humid days made it not quite as pleasant.  I loved getting those crisp iced coffees from the local coffee shops, but this practice became time consuming, as well as not very cost effective.  I thought it was a conundrum I would have to deal with, and bear it with stoic acceptance.

But earlier this year, I stumbled across this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's blog, and it has become a staple in our house ever since.  

Put 1 lb of your favorite coffee grounds in a bowl.  

My anticipation is building!

Pour 12-16 cups of water over the grounds.  Use closer to the 12 cups if you want your coffee stronger or closer to 16 if you want it more mellow

Stir the mixture so that every coffee ground is covered with water.  This is about the time my husband comes into the kitchen and says in his most red neck voice, "So yur makin that swamp watter agin?"  

Cover the mixture and let it sit for atleast 8 hours.  I usually let it sit overnight and strain it in the morning.

Now this is the tricky part!  Trust me, they have a lot of easier ways of doing this, but this is my normal method for straining the coffee concentrate.  I take a large bowl with a spout and place it in the bottom of my clean sink.

Place my colander over the bowl

Line my colander with paper towels going in different directions to trap all of those coffee grounds.

Take your coffee concentrate that has been marinating for 8 hours...

And pour it in the middle of the paper towels.  I have used several different tools to strain the coffee, but nothing has worked as well as the paper towels.  With the other things I have used, I always ended up with some of the smaller grounds swimming in the final product, and it makes the concentrate too bitter.

Ta Da!!!!  Perfect!  Pour the concentrate into a pitcher with a lid, and it will last you a whole month!  

I don't have a picture of it, but I can easily lift the paper towels with the coffee grounds out of the colander and place it directly in my garbage can.  I have also heard that you can use the grounds as fertilizer for your garden, but this I have not tried!  If you are interested in this ecofriendly option, I found a link showing you how it is done:

Now we get to reap the benefits of all of our hard work.  We use Monin syrups to sweeten our coffee.  They can be found at your local Cups coffee shop or you can find them online at  You can also use, sugar, honey, or any low calorie sweetener you have on hand.

Fill your cup with ice

Pour the coffee concentrate until the cup is half full, not half empty.  We are remaining positive here! (My cup is alittle more than half full because I like it slightly stronger)

This step is up to you.  The Pioneer Woman says to use heavy cream to fill up the rest of the cup.  Remember, Ree, I am drinking this every single morning without fail... my waist-line cannot handle half a cup of heavy cream everyday!  But to each his own.  You can use heavy cream, half and half, skim milk, whole milk, creamer... I use whatever I have on hand which is normally 1%, and it is still fabulous!

This is the finished product.  I pop on a tervis tumbler lid, and I am out the door and headed to class.  Just ask anyone in my class if they have seen me walk in without this in my hand.  They will say, "No!"  Just ask them if they want to see me if I did not have this in my hand.  They will without a doubt say, "Noooo!"