Bad Karma Coffee Musings

You know it’s going to be a rough day when it starts with bad coffee.

It all started out so innocently, so routine, that nothing could go wrong! I make my coffee in a Chemex, which is a beautiful glass hourglass shaped device. It’s basically drip coffee, but made in glass instead of plastic. As of yesterday I began sinfully blending freshly ground Blue Bottle Coffee (Giant Steps is the name of the roast, which is so inspiring!) with Starbucks “3 Region Blend.” I know. Such a sinner. Combining an artisanal, organic, small production coffee with, well, Starbucks, just seems so wrong. It’s kind of like mixing a George DeLatour 1997 Cab with Two Buck Chuck. If it is any consolation, my mother won the bag of Starbucks at a bridal shower as a prize for filling out a silly bridal questionaire, and deemed it too “roasty” for her taste. Well, “roasty” is my bag. It is now in my possession.

I grind my coffees, mix them together, pray to the artisanal coffee gods that no one calls me out on my superblend, and boil the water. Usually by the time the water is done boiling, I’ve gotten out my homemade almond milk and warmed it up in my mug. This has become a glorious routine as of late. I go to the fridge, grab my glass container of almond milk I so dutifully made 5 days ago…oh no…5 days ago? The good thing about making your own almond milk is that is tastes super fresh and is only almonds, water, and some vanilla extract. No creepy guar gum or added random vitamins. The sad thing about making your own almond milk is that is goes bad in about 4-5 days, so you have to make it about twice a week. I smell it. It kind of smells ok. I think it’s fine. “It’s fine!” I tell myself. I’ll drink it anyway. I doubt myself. I take a sip.

Blahhhhhhh! It is sour, foul, all things bad. I toss it into the sink and come up with plan B.

“That’s ok!” I tell myself. I will use my backup emergency canned coconut milk! Coconut milk in coffee is divine. If you’ve never tried it, do it now. It’s kind of like a tropical breve. What’s a breve? Espresso and straight up whipping cream. I dated a rock climber who only ordered breves. He insisted that it was the best way to drink coffee, and his rippling muscles didn’t steer me away from that belief for quite some time. Only, I don’t drink milk. So I started making coconut breves. I’m still waiting for my rippling muscles though.

Anyway. I distract myself with men in the middle of my posts quite often, even while writing about coffee. I astound myself. I go to the cupboard and root around for my cans of coconut milk. Not there. I go to the other obscure location, behind the dried beans no one will ever use and to the left of the random container of saffron. Nope. I have no coconut milk. I HAVE NO COCONUT MILK! Sometimes I have a container of leftover coconut milk in the fridge. I check.

Not there. I return to stare at my chemex, which is now ready, the coffee has dripped into a perfect brew and is ready for something creamy to be added. I have nothing. I am dramatically frowning and am quite upset at this point, until I have the sudden realization: I have frozen coconut milk in ice cubes!!!! A few weeks ago, during the California spring heat wave, I decided it would be cool (pun intended) to make my own coconut milk and freeze it in cubes for insta-smoothies! I run to the freezer, dig around for them, and find them. I have four left. Perfect!

I microwave the cubes until they melt and pour the coffee on top. I take a sip…and my frown turns into a thin, straight, rigid line. This is bad. This is really bad! When you make your own coconut milk from shredded coconut, you never REALLY get rid of the last of the coconut shreds. So there is a slight gritty, chewy bit leftover that disappears in a smoothie but DOES NOT DISAPPEAR IN COFFEE. I drink in silence.

This story does not have a happy ending. Since I live on a ranch far away from town, I cannot simply “make a quick stop!” at the market. And since I no longer live in Hawaii, I cannot simply “go pick a coconut!” and fix this problem. So, I have some almonds soaking in the kitchen right now, ready for tomorrow’s coffee adventure.

I think the atisanal coffee gods knew I was blending Blue Bottle with Starbucks and gave me bad coffee karma.

See you tomorrow, artisanal coffee gods. I’m fighting back!

 

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recipe: almond milk

Let’s face it, soy milk can get boring after a while. When I try to purchase almond milk, I get a little scared of the bizarre ingredients used to preserve it. Shouldn’t it be as simple as almonds and water? I took action and made some myself. This is great for drinking, adding to tea, or breakfast cereal!

Ingredients
1 C. Raw organic almonds
3-4 C. water.
1-2 Tbsp. agave nectar, to taste (or use none at all for unsweetened almond milk)
1 Tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Soak almonds in 2 cups water in the fridge overnight, or at least 10 hours. Strain soaked almonds in a fine mesh strainer, discarding the liquid. In a blender, combine almonds, vanilla, agave (if using),  and about 3 cups of water. I have a 4 cup blender, so I add water until it reaches the 4 cup line. A little more or less with still taste great. Blend for at least one minute, until smooth.
Straining the almond milk can be messy and tricky if you don’t have the right set up. On a clean counter, set out a medium sized bowl, a fine mesh strainer, and a double layer of cheese cloth (at least a 10 inch square) OR an almond nut milk bag. Layer the cheesecloth/bag over the mesh strainer and the strainer over the bowl. Slowly pour the contents of the blender over your strainer setup, directly through the middle of the cheesecloth or bag. Squeeze excess liquid from the cheesecloth/bag, bundling the edges of cloth together so the almond pulp does not escape. The leftover almond pulp can be saved, refrigerated, and added to oatmeal, pancakes, or baked goods! Keep almond milk in the fridge, and shake before using.
Tips
I purchased an almond milk bag because I make this recipe frequently, and it is difficult to reuse cheesecloth. Buying so much cheesecloth would be wasteful! I found a great one from Alive and Aware, but I bet you could also find them at a local co-op. Brazil nuts work really well in this recipe too! The milk is even creamier than almond milk!