So I’m sitting in here in my mis-matched pjs on the eve of my 29th Birthday and it looks like it’s going to be a 100% alcohol free affair. Coffee is now the most potent mood altering substance I choose to indulge in – miraculous considering I was the girl who co-invented the ‘Snakey-B-Bull’ ten years ago: a lethal alcoholic mess designed to exploit not one, but TWO of Walkabout’s student night offers by mixing snakebite (cider, beer and blackcurrant) with a double shot of vodka and everyone’s favourite nail varnish flavoured liver destroying venom: red bull. Yes, that is a concoction which I put inside my body.
Without trawling through my entire health journey – I have discovered how great it feels to lavish my liver with the love it deserves and hush any doubts, stresses or scrambled thoughts in my brain with yoga bliss instead of just drowning everything in booze. I have no desire to drag around my useless hungover body again and I don’t think I ever actually liked the person it turned me into (she was falsely over-confident, a little bit tarty and loved cheesy chips). I actually quite like my sober self. And liking yourself is freedom. Freedom to be you, to make decisions without anxiety or regret, to know that you’re following the right path. To basically have your shit together – but on the inside for once – rather than caring what it looks like on the outside. So a sober 29th isn’t looking so bad.
This leaves coffee as my No. 1 jam when it comes to beverage indulgences, but however much time I spend occupying the quietest nooks and crannies of London’s Cafes, ducking between yoga classes, using them as temporary office spaces and enjoying weekend dates with my bearded love, my obsession with making everything homemade has now extended to a decent cup of home-brewed joe – without using some £600 machine which looks like it should be on Robot Wars.
While we were travelling South America coffee was the ritual which followed us through every country, whether we were enjoying little super-strength thick shots of sweet espresso in Colombia, or weak watery ‘cortados’ in Chile. However our favourite cup was found in Buenos Aires at Full City, a cafe owned by a British-Colombian couple, meaning the beans came from her family run coffee plantation in Colombia and the cafe had enough chilled vibes, good music and a stylish interior to make you feel like you were right back in London at your favourite local Sunday morning hangout (which is Roasted Bean, Crystal Palace at the moment by the way).
[Coffee Farm, Manizales, Colombia]
The flat whites there tasted like home, just with a side of sunshine and a natural sweetness which comes from the joy of being a travelling nomad. We couldn’t bear to leave South America without taking a bag of their roasted beans back home with us, but back in South East London, shoved through our french press, this coffee just didn’t taste the same. Not even close.
So this weekend I decided to try the cold-drip method – basically soaking the grounds in cold water for 12 hours rather than brewing with hot water. From what I can understand via my medium-extensive google search*, cold-brewing the coffee helps to preserve lots of the flavours of the beans, bringing out a different kind of taste to the regular hot water method.
(*the most useful of which was this article from The Guardian)
[me blending into the wall in Buenos Aires]
Even more exciting for me to health-geek out about are the nutritional benefits. Of course we’re all told that caffeine is bad for us – anything which stimulates the body and is over consumed will cause damage. But actually, in moderation, coffee in it’s most basic form can be classed as a superfood as it contains lots of phytochemicals, antioxidants and other nutrients (if you think I’m talking tosh then check this info out right here). When we heat coffee however it becomes more acidic, and can disrupt the PH of the body and have a detrimental rather than beneficial effect. Cold-drip is much less acidic, so kinder to the stomach and actually tastes less bitter, so if you’re a sugar in your coffee kind of person you might find you need less or none at all with cold drip.
Cold-drip gets vegan brownie points too as it blends better with almond milk rather than separating and looking like curdled custard. Always a win.
Even though cold-drip coffee sounds like just another example of poncy coffee snobbery, it’s actually stupidly easy to make and totally worth a try – especially as we get closer to summer, when I will be a permanent resident in back my garden, sipping on bottomless glasses of icy cold-drip coffee almond lattes. Way more appealing than a Snakey-B-Bull any day.
* * * * *
HERE’S WHAT TO DO
- Take a couple of cups of beans and whizz up in a grinder/blender for a couple of minutes
- Pop into a large jar or jug and cover with double the amount of water, so that grounds are well covered with a few inches of water on top
- Pop the lid on and leave out for at least 12 hours to brew, then stick it in the fridge overnight – it should be brewed within 12 hrs, but I left mine for 36 hrs in the end and it just kept tasting better!
- When you’re ready to drink it just filter through a mini sieve or coffee filter and add water if you want to weaken it down a bit, or creamy homemade cashew or almond milk for a milkier cup of cawfee.
Y’see?! Childsplay. ENJOY!
*** DONT THROW AWAY THE LEFTOVER GROUNDS *** I am working on a coffee body scrub recipe to use these up so store them for a while in the fridge and watch this space!