We were recently gifted a subscription to Kinfolk Magazine (from a lovely friend with lovely intentions who knows us all too well). In Issue 3, the charming Brittany Watson Jepsen and her husband Paul write about a breakfast experiment, which gave us pause. The experiment being: actually having it, breakfast. At home. At a table.
We cherish breakfast. Even in August, a month of weddings and weekends away, of not enough sleep and not enough time and temperatures that make us cringe just looking at the (cold) oven, we still find time to sit together for a moment in the mornings, at the table in our sunny kitchen, with our smoothies or our grapefruit, to collect ourselves before the day begins.
Part of this ritual of reflection, unsurprisingly, is making coffee. But actually making it. Grinding the beans just moments before brewing, releasing their earthy aroma, pouring cold water into the base of our stovetop espresso maker, packing it in and setting it on a low burner while we finish preparing for the day, running back into the kitchen when we hear it hiss and bubble, pulling it off before it burns. The ritual is so ingrained in our morning that we hardly notice it anymore, except when it’s missing, and then it is missed. It lends some structure to otherwise hectic times, and we look forward to it.
Lately, with the heat, we’ve snatched a few extra moments to whip our fresh brewed espresso into an icy treat. No, it’s not cold brew, which takes more work and advanced planning (and honestly, tastes a little flat to us, just cold coffee, cold milk.) It’s a trick we learned from Clara’s brother Pablo, and we really hadn’t thought much of it until a string of unrelated house guests each expressed their amazement.
Here’s the trick:
Use a cocktail shaker.
Now, not just any cocktail shaker. It has to be metal, and it has to conduct heat well. Otherwise all you need is ice and cream (or whole milk — skim will work, just not as well) and bam! Iced coffee with character in no time. The momentary heat and vigorous shaking releases the sweetness of the cream, aerating both cream and coffee, and the result is delicious – strong espresso slightly sweetened, cold, and foamy, which makes it more fun, both to look at and to drink. (It’s about as close as you can get to the frothy, steamed milk of a cappuccino, without actually making a cappuccino, and using cold materials…)
It might take a try or two to get it to your liking – not too watered down, cold enough – but it’s worth the practice.
iced coffee à la pablo.
1. Grind. As always, good coffee starts with good beans, ground just before you use them. We’ve been digging this gimme! coffee blend lately, which is purposed for our Bialetti.
2. Brew. Brew your coffee stronger than you would if you were drinking it hot, to counter the inevitable watering down.
3. Prep. Pack the cocktail shaker with ice, as much as you can fit. Add your dairy (and sugar, now, though it really doesn’t need it!), and then pour in the hot coffee. Give it a little swirl for an immediate cool down. If, when you cap the cocktail shaker, the top pops off ever so slightly, uncap and give it another swirl. The heat + cold mix can sometimes cause the lid to blow off — these are preventative measures.
4. Shake. Shake vigorously until the shaker’s almost too cold to touch, and it’s covered in condensation. (Over the sink, just in case.)
Here’s a detail of the condensation:
5. Pour. Pack a glass with ice, and pour in your now-iced coffee. Uncap the shaker for maximum foam!