May 30, 2011 Leave a comment
I was never one of those people. You know, the ones who NEEDED coffee to wake up in the morning. The ones who can’t function until they get their first sip of java, and if they don’t get any are the most intolerable insufferable human beings who walk the planet. I mean, of course I don’t know anyone like that. I’ve just heard stories. Ahem.
Well, then law school happened. I was pretty good about rationing my caffeine intake until finals. But during finals, all bets were off. I have (not so) fond memories of stopping to get an extra large coffee and bagel for breakfast at the local coffee shop. Lets be honest, sometimes there would also be a second coffee to reheat as well as my lunch and dinner because I knew I wasn’t going to be leaving campus all day. Sometimes we would STILL go out for coffee breaks on top of that. But now that part of my life is over, as is bar exam craziness (don’t even get me started on my caffeine intake then) and I can actually sit and enjoy my coffee instead of using it to function.
Bean and Leaf is a local roaster in New London. Not just any coffee roaster though – they have been named Connecticut’s Best Coffee Bar by Connecticut Magazine. Though I haven’t yet made it to their cafe, Nutmeg State residents are extremely lucky in that B&L will usually come to them – via a local farmer’s market. I first stumbled upon them at my local market (CRFM) but they also happen to stop at the Billings Forge Market in Hartford on Thursdays and stock The Kitchen at Billings Forge with their delicious coffee if you can’t make it to either market.
Now, not everyone has the privilege of having an awesome local coffee roaster. (Shameless plug: B&L will ship it to you through their online store - not my fault if I start your addiction to their Guatemala blend.) You may hit Dunkin’ Donuts every morning to get your caffeine fix – I’m not here to judge. I’ve found, though, that this works best for me, and with some new equipment and a little patience I can really appreciate the effort B&L puts into their product. I can justify the more expensive locally roasted beans, because even though its much more per bag than the cheap stuff, its much less than hitting up Dunkin’ or Starbucks every morning. Plus, with a travel mug, its much more environmentally conscious. (Sidenote: You can even use the spent grounds as a facial scrub or garden fertilizer or as compost amendment!)
So I guess I am now one of those people. I don’t quite need it to function… yet… but I do enjoy a daily cup or two. Recently, I’ve had to change my coffee setup. It seems that I am one of those people who just can’t do hot coffee when the temperature rises above 60°. Its like an internal switch flips and hot coffee becomes absolutely intolerable in the morning. (Does this happen to anyone else?) When the coffee craving strikes, as it inevitably will, I like to keep some on hand for quick satisfaction. This means planning ahead. I bought a french press a year or so ago, and it has been a great investment. A glass one will only set you back about $25. Not only is the hot stuff miles away from drip coffee, but so is the cold brew. It just requires more time than the heated brew.
Basically, grounds + cold water + french press + at least 12 hours = the best iced coffee ever. I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but it really is worth the planning ahead. If you really want to get fancy, you can freeze some of the coffee to use as ice cubes in your brew. It will stay plenty cold and won’t dilute – is there anything worse than watered down coffee? The leftovers stay in a mason jar in the fridge for a day or two until the next craving hits.
Or, if you’re one of those people like me, you wont need to store your leftovers.