Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fertilizing Hydrangeas

In the foodie world, trends seem to come and go every few months - crisped prosciutto, duck fat in everything and, now, cold-brewed iced coffee. Of course, it's easy enough to make a few extra cups of coffee in the morning and keep the rest to cool for iced coffee. But, because I have read about cold-brewing at least four times in the past two weeks, I wanted to give it a shot, so to speak.

I took my recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle article by Janny Hu. I added a full pound of coffee grounds to 10 cups of water and let it sit for 12 hours. It's not a pretty process - why are wet coffee grounds so nasty-looking?

After the coffee has steeped, you must strain it to remove the grounds. I did this by lining a strainer with a paper towel, resting the strainer on the top of a pitcher, and ladling the coffee in a bit at a time as the liquid drained into the pitcher. It took quite a while as the coffee grounds quickly clog the "filter," slowing the process to a lazy drip. I was working in the kitchen anyway, so I just got on with my other tasks, returning periodically to monitor the process and refill the strainer.

The result was about nine cups of stand-your-spoon-up-strength concentrate. Don't try drinking this stuff straight - it's lethal! After refrigerating, where it will keep happily for weeks, I added water in about a four-to-one ratio to the coffee concentrate, lots of ice cubes, and half-and-half.

I do love iced coffee and I have to admit this stuff is superior. Robustly flavorful, even when smoothed with cream, it is to me the essence of summer leisure drinking. It's a bit of a nuisance to make but, once made, you have many tall glasses of iced coffee to enjoy without further ado.

The bonus for your garden plants is that you can throw the full pound of wet grounds around the
acid-loving azaleas, camellias or hydrangeas to give them a shot of caffeine as well. Keeps snails and slugs away, as well.

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Blogger ☺lani☺ said...

refreshing drink! love chilled coffee! have a nice day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010  
Blogger kudzu said...

I always believed the coffee-grounds-for-plants theory too, until last week when I heard that once the coffee has been brewed, most of the beneficial acids have dissipated. They still help with the snails and slugs, though, so keep on dumping!

Cold coffee is sooooo good. I can remember the first time I was allowed to drink it (with lots of milk): instant infatuation.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010  
Blogger Janie said...

I have always liked iced coffee and wondered why it is not on the menu at most CA restaurants, as it is on the East coast.

I truly admire your stamina and perseverence. I am not enough of a gourmet and too lazy for your described process. I'm going to have to settle for the refrigerated extra coffee from the morning!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

I'm going to give this a go, I LOVE iced coffee!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Lani, welcome and I'll toast my new friend from Taiwan with a glass of iced coffee today!

Kudzu, my Mom always drank iced coffee when we lived in Hawaii - and ever after, too. I used to sneak sips of hers.

Janie, maybe the Left Coast is catching up on iced coffee now? Maybe when I come to swim, I can bring you some to try. It would be great by the poolside.

Ms Mouse, another devotee chimes in! Apparently, iced coffee is a worldwide favorite.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010  
Blogger Kitt said...

Cold-drip coffee is pretty much all I drink, though I generally drink it hot. You can buy a cold-drip rig from Toddy or Filtron that greatly simplifies the process of making it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kitt, I was pretty sure I could find a kit, but wanted to be sure I liked it first. Thanks for the leads!

Friday, July 23, 2010  

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