Iced Coffee

1:56 PM

I often credit my morning coffee as one of the five things that keep me alive – followed by oxygen, quinoa, sleep and playing acoustic guitar. However, sometimes a hot beverage is just not an option. Imagine lounging beside the pool with a freshly steamed cappuccino or finishing off a lengthy bike ride through the forest with a mouthful of piping java from your BPA-free water bottle. With all the latest studies pointing toward your essential mug of joe being fantastically more healthy than harmful, it is time to master the art of iced coffee.
Coffee gained its unfortunate bad rap from a class of compounds it contains called diterpenes. These oils can cause detriment to a drinker’s health through the elevation of LDL cholesterol levels. The good news is, diterpenes are only present in unfiltered coffee – that is, coffee brewed in a French press, Italian moka pot or an espresso machine. Your classic home drip method using a paper filter will not have any unwanted effects on your cholesterol levels.

Now that you can rest easy about your favourite backyard drink, it is time to prepare a glass of it. A good, dark-roast coffee will be best. Some coffee lovers swear by a citrusy or fruity blend, others will only brew something nutty and chocolately. The nice thing about finding out which blend is best for you is that it takes weeks – sometimes years – of experimenting, or a long talk with your local good-looking barista. Beans taste particularly good when they are freshly roasted and freshly ground. Once your selection is made you will need to locate a glass mason jar or any similarly-sized container with a tightly fitted lid. Fill this to the brim with ice cubes.

Photo by: Sarah Goertz

Iced coffee is a funny thing. As every person’s taste is so different (black, regular, double-double, Tim Hortons has practically invented a language) an iced coffee recipe is more of a road map than it is a specific set of directions. You choose your own path to the final destination which is, of course, pure bliss.

Unless you choose to chill your coffee in the refrigerator (and really – who can wait that long when the jones for coffee hits?) you be adding ice cubes and this means diluting the sacred brew. For that reason, iced coffee is brewed at double strength. This means different measurements for different people, depending how strong you like your coffee. When I drink it hot I use a scoop per cup, so this means two scoops per cup when making iced coffee. As soon as the machine stops dripping it is time to assemble.

A sweetener of your choice is the first addition. If it is easily dissolved in cold liquid, i.e. agave nectar, syrup or an alcoholic liqueur, the sweetener can be added directly to your mason jar filled with ice. A sweetener like honey, white sugar or sucanat will appreciate being added to the coffee while it’s still hot for optimal dissolving, then pour the liquid over the ice. Start with a teaspoon per cup and add more to taste. Stop with an inch or so to spare at the top. You will fill this space with milk and, yes, this opens up another expanse of options. Whole milk lends a creamy texture, half-and-half even more so. Rice, soy, hemp or oat milk will do the trick but may dull in comparison to the delicious flavour of almond milk added to the mix. Whatever your cereal-juice of choice, it should complete your mason jar’s contents and, with lid in place, it is time to shake everything together. Pour this tempting, beige beverage into a tall glass, or drink directly from the mason jar if you are now salivating as much as I am.

There you have it. Coffee may top most ‘foods-to-avoid’ lists but if the research shows that I am in the clear, I will keep these life-sustaining beans close to my heart – and lips.

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