Last week we introduced one of our newest members, Level Ground Trading, a Fair Trade Organization and direct wholesaler of coffee, tea, dried fruit, cane sugar, heirloom rice, vanilla beans, coconut oil and spices. We’re thrilled to have our first food brand in the collective, and are feeling totally inspired by their economic, social, and environmental efforts! I mentioned in my last post that I got a chance to sample several of their coffees from around the world, and they were all so distinct and wonderful that I wanted to try them in a few different forms – and with it being so warm in Washington, overnight cold brew was a given.
I also had a package of decadent vanilla beans from Level Ground, grown by small-scale farmers in Uganda. I couldn’t help making a quick vanilla bean syrup to go with my cold brew – the result was a perfect cool drink for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Making cold brew at home is extremely simple, and you save so much money, as it can get pretty spendy in coffee shops. This was recipe was perfect to make on a weekend, as you quickly mix everything the night before and strain it in the morning. Best to plan it for a slow relaxing morning, as the straining process takes a little patience. I wanted to use a dark, whole bean blend, so I went with these beans from Colombia. Always use whole bean coffee for cold brew, as you want to blend yourself to make sure the grind is very coarse – makes filtering much easier!
I love cold brew on its own, but once I saw the vanilla beans, I couldn’t help making a syrup to go along with it. Angela is always on the search for the perfect vanilla bean latte, and has a story about finding one in a little town on the California coast – so she’s partly to blame for this craving, too. I used this recipe from How Sweet It Is and loved how it turned out. Bonus: my house smelled a-maz-ing while this simmered and cooled!
I prefer a dash of cream, but this would be delish black as well. Find the recipes below, and show us your photos with #alifeconscious on Instagram if you make it yourself!
Cold Brew Coffee at Home:
2 cups coffee, coarsely ground
8 cups filtered coffee
Carefully mix water & coffee in a large bowl, pitcher, or French Press. Loosely cover and let sit at room temperature overnight or at least 12 hours. To strain the coffee, I use a coffee filter sitting in a mesh strainer over a pitcher. Add coffee mixture slowly, changing out the coffee filter when necessary. Store in the fridge, serving over ice.
Vanilla Bean Syrup:
Recipe from How Sweet It Is
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cut your vanilla bean lengthwise and, taking the tip of your knife along the inside of the bean, scrape the beans out of the pod. Add all ingredients, including the pod, to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to dissolve sugar. Once it’s bubbling, cook for another 2-3 minutes (this is when your home starts to smell heavenly!). Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge. Add to cold brew with cream, or use in your hot coffee or latte!