28 January 2011

Caffe Frappe

There are a lot of things I miss about being in Raleigh, but one of the things I miss most on a daily basis (or a weekly basis, anyway) is Global Village coffee.  This was my twice-weekly homework/study/break spot.  And their house Cappuccino is the best I've ever had.

It wouldn't be so bad if we had a good coffee shop up here, but there is only one coffee shop that isn't Starbucks, and its nothing to write home about.  They serve some good loose-leaf teas and local beer, but that's their only redeeming quality.  We're talking cheap (and not in the good way) espresso and powdered Chai tea mix.  Plus, there is something just not right about a coffee shop owned by a man that doesn't drink coffee!

So I've been doing a bit of experimentation trying to make coffee drinks from home that at least remind me of the great coffee I got from Global Village.  Now, Cappuccinos and Lattes are difficult to master from home, especially with the equipment I own.  I can make a decent plain Cappuccino, but my maker doesn't allow me to mix stuff into the espresso before adding the milk, so the flavor is not quite the same.

But one of my favorite drinks at Global Village is their Caffe Frappe.  It is a rich, creamy, slightly sweet iced coffee drink, that is incredibly refreshing on a hot day.  The creamy, sweet flavor comes from sweetened condensed milk, an ingredient you don't normally see in a coffee shop.  Knowing the ingredients, I just had to play with ratios to get the flavor right.  And here is the result...

Caffe Frappe
serves 1
1 c cold-brewed iced coffee
2 T sweetened condensed milk
1/4-1/2 c water (I use 1/4c, but you can adjust to taste)
6 ice cubes (or the equivalent amount of crushed ice)

Place ice in cocktail shaker.  (I prefer using crushed ice, as it will result in a frothier drink.  However, I usually use regular ice cubes because I have an old-school ice maker that doesn't make crushed ice).  Pour the remaining ingredients over ice, then shake for 30 seconds until drink is frothy.  According to Alton Brown (see Raising the Bar part 1 and part 2 - a little more information that you need but who doesn't like to hear about the best way to make cocktails), the best way to shake a cocktail is by holding the shaker horizontally about shoulder height, and shaking horizontally as well.  I figure shaking is shaking, as long as the drink gets mixed.  Open shaker and pour the drink and ice in a glass, add a straw, and enjoy!


Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
adapted from smitten kitchen
makes about 3 cups
5-6 scoops of your favorite ground coffee (I used Global Village House Blend, to continue the theme)
3 c water

Place water and coffee in a jar and stir.  Cover and let sit about 12 hours at room temperature, stirring occasionally.  After 12 hours, strain grounds out of coffee and store in the refrigerator.  This makes a STRONG coffee, so if I am drinking just iced coffee, I mix it with a little water or milk, usually about 2 parts coffee to 1 part water/milk.

I make this in an old quart mason jar, so I can just shake the whole thing occasionally to mix it.  Then I just store the cold coffee in the same mason jar in the refrigerator.  I think a coarse grind on the coffee works best here because my strainer leaves bits of finely ground coffee as sediment in the coffee.  I use a fine mesh strainer, the kind they sell to strain sediment out of wine.  If a small amount of sediment bothers you, you can strain this through a coffee filter, although that takes a lot longer.

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