Coffee, Dairy-Free, and the Oncoming Summer

I'm addicted to caffeine.


While I appreciate a good cup of coffee, when it comes to needing my fix, I'm not picky... Well, I used to be not picky. It's easy to not be picky when you can pour delicious, fatty cream and sugary sweet sugar and make any swill into candy. Alas! Alak! Those days are over.

For years, even before having to go dairy-free, I've toyed with different milk... not because I don't love milk. I LOVE milk. I just love milk so much that I want to enjoy everything that's called milk including non-milk milk. That's how deep milk love runs.

Where was I? Coffee. Right.

So I've never found a good milk substitute for coffee. One of my friends, who I introduced to almond milk, now swears by chocolate almond milk in coffee. I love coffee; I love almonds and almond milk; I love hazelnut coffee; why can't I love another nut - coffee blend? I just don't.

I've tried soy, hemp, hazelnut milk. None of them work for me. I do suspect the hazelnut milk being cut with other flavors was why it didn't do it for me.

While complaining to my Mother about it, she stated simply that I'm going to have to start drinking better coffee that is palatable black.

I do enjoy black coffee. Whenever I'm in a fine coffee establishment or restaurant, I sample the coffee black first to see if it needs anything else. I am always pleased when the coffee is good black. It a more "pure" coffee experience to me.

I've also gone through periods of brewing my fine coffees and drinking them black. I just wasn't going through one of those phases right now...

So, back to the oncoming Summer. (I started writing this post a month ago and just finished it now.)

The problem with most "iced" coffee is that at best it's just drip poured over ice. At worst, "iced" means their left over drip recycled. It's completely unpalatable to me without additives.

There are coffee joints around Philly that do cold brew. (At some point, I'll write about cold brew vs. ice brew and why I prefer ice brew but don't really care enough to bother with ice brewing.) I do enjoy their cold brews, but it's a pricey habit.

I've bitten the bullet and made the investment in the tools to cold brew in the office. I’m happy to report I couldn’t be happier. I get to have a refreshing glass of coffee at--in the long run--a fraction of the cost.

Ingredient and Gear Roundup: 

Trader Joe's whole coffee bean blend
Chinese soup spoon
Kyocera CM-50 CF
Cone White Porcelain Coffee Filter Holder #4 generic
Cone Filter Paper Natural Brown #4 Melitta
Big cup

# Trader Joe's whole coffee bean blend

I am not going to tell you which blend I use because I am trying different ones until I figure out which one I like the most. 

# Chinese soup spoon 

I have a million Chinese soup spoons so I dedicated one as a scoop. I generally use 1 slightly overflowing scoop of whole beans for each 8 oz (or so) of water. No, I have no idea how many tablespoons this equals. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to taste it to find the right measure. I’d start with about as much coffee grinds as you like in a hot cup of coffee and adjust from there.

# Kyocera CM-50 CF

I like the Kyocera CM-50 CF grinder for its glass. You can easily when it's time to clean it. Because it's glass, it's also very easy to clean. 

According to you should be using an extra course grind for cold brew. 

# Jar

I ended up just grabbing a 16-oz jar I wasn't using. I will say, however, that considering how much coffee I’ve been drinking lately, I’m probably going to go shopping for 32-oz mason jars soon. 

# Cone White Porcelain Coffee Filter Holder #4 generic 

I ended up getting a much larger holder than I really need. Mainly, I got a larger holder for flexibility later. 

# Cone Filter Paper Natural Brown #4 Melitta

I hadn't given much thought to the type of filter I’d use. I’ve been pleased with these which reportedly have "Micro fine flavor enhancing perforations release coffee’s full flavor, while filtering out impurities for a richer tasting cup of coffee.” Once I’m done this package, I will probably give their bamboo filters a try because why not?

# Big cup

This part is important as I like to pour out the jar and let it strain while I start my work day. By the time I am ready to drink, it's ready to go. I am using a big cup that I’m not quite happy with because it’s lighter than the porcelain filter holder, and I’m worried it’s going to topple over. When I do buy the 32-oz jars, I’m hoping their mouths will be large enough to accommodate the filter holder.

That’s my list. Your milage will vary. The important thing is to experiment to find your favorite balance… and then experiment some more because--who knows--there could be a better balance.