The year 2020 has redefined the very scope of adventure. With COVID-induced lockdowns and restrictions hampering travel, we've depended on culinary discoveries and exploring our own neighbourhoods and cities to keep our spirit of adventure alive. Coffee has long remained both a comfort zone as well as an adventure for me. Growing up in South India and waking up to freshly brewed filter coffee, it's almost an intrinsic part of my identity. But equally, coffee has also been a source of non-stop discoveries. I've learnt that you can never predict where a new coffee experience can unfold. From a classic Piccolo in Lygon Street - one of Melbourne's famous Italian quarters - to a Vietnamese-style coffee in Hanoi and to an Ethiopian-style coffee in Delhi's Ethiopian Cultural centre.
It's not just the source of the coffee beans, it's also brewing styles that shake things up. We've seen the emergence of hipsters and coffee snobs across India who truly understand coffee and whose home brewing equipment now includes a French Press or a Chemex for pour over coffees. A whole bunch of enterprising artisanal coffee brands have upped their game. One of the most interesting coffees I stumbled upon is Ol' Smoky from Maverick & Farmer Coffee Roasters, positioned as one of the first cold smoked coffees in the world - a top grade Arabica coffee that has undergone 13-14 hours of cold smoking. Freshly picked Arabica coffee beans are wet-processed with certain parameters of fermentation and pH balancing. These beans are then placed in a smoking room and cold-smoked with locally available wood from fruit trees that have been chosen because of the flavour that they bring to the final cup.
You can try experimenting with some of these international coffees at home too. Many exotic and single origin coffees are now available online or in your city.
Here Are Coffee Recipes That You Must Try At Home:
Vietnamese Cold Coffee Recipe
This is a simple recipe that I learnt during my travels across Vietnam. The Vietnamese cold coffee combines a strong shot of coffee with the extra sweetness of condensed milk.
Add two teaspoons of condensed milk to a glass.
- Place a Vietnamese percolator (or the top half of a South Indian filter) over the glass.
- Fill the percolator with two teaspoons of Vietnamese coffee (or a Strong Coffee) and pour warm water over the coffee, allowing it to drip into the glass.
- Stir the coffee and condensed milk and pour this over ice cubes heaped in a tall glass.
- Stir with a swizzle stick before you serve.
2. Cold Smoked Coffee Brewed With A Hint Of Sweet Star Anise
Recipe Courtesy - Maverick & Farmer
Star aniseed complements the smoky flavours of the Maverick & Farmer Ol Smoky Coffee. You could also substitute the Cold smoked coffee with a different blend.
- To hot-brew coffee one must bring water to a temperature of about 95 degrees centigrade.
- Infuse room temperature water with star anise for about 2-3 hours.
- Use one to two 'segments' of the dried star anise fruit for 300 gms of water. The flavours are very intense, so please be delicate!
- After the cold-infusion is complete, remove the star anise and bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat source and put a tiny piece of the Star Anise into this water and begin the brewing immediately as follows:
- Place 22 grams of powder in a pour-over filter. If you do not have a pour-over apparatus, put the coffee grounds in a small pot or vessel.
- Pour the hot water (with the small bit of Anise) over the coffee grounds in the pour-over apparatus - a total of 260 gms. If you are using the pot, pour the water into the pot. Discard the star anise immediately.
- For pour-over, we recommend you pour the 260 gms of hot water in 3 batches. Once down, add a tiny bit of sugar if you must and enjoy! If you like your coffee not black, add a teaspoon or two warm fresh cream to the brewed coffee.
- If you are using a pot, after 3 minutes of brewing, strain out the brew using a fine steel strainer (Channi) and add sugar or / and a little warm fresh cream if you so desire.
3. Piccolo Coffee Recipe
Piccolo is Italian for small. Perfect if you like a classic latte but prefer a smaller serving. This combines a ristretto (a concentrated espresso) with foam. Think of it as a petite latte. But it's more than that; the addition of the foamed milk doesn't overpower the body of the coffee. I've enjoyed watching baristas in Melbourne create the perfect piccolo. The one trick I've learnt from them is getting the milk foam right.
- Use 20 gm of coffee powder from dark roasted beans to extract a ristretto. You can use a Moka Pot (like I did) or an espresso maker
- Heat milk on a low flame and whisk it to create foam. This is a key step. Try and avoid a 'slim' milk
- Use a demitasse or a small glass to combine the coffee and foam.
4. Cold Brew Recipe:
A cold brew combines the refreshing properties of a cold drink along with the coffee kick. The perfect respite between online work meetings.
- Take a cup of coarsely ground cup of coffee and stir into five cups of water (1:5 ratio) in a tall glass jar/container.
- Make sure this container is sealed and leave it in the fridge or a cool dry place (a fridge is a safer bet especially in summer) for about 12 to 24 hours.
- Strain the coffee (you can use a muslin cloth or a mesh strainer. Repeat if required) into a jar or vessel and store it in the fridge.
- You can enjoy a cold glass - serve it over ice or milk, when you need a caffeine kick or a refreshing beverage or also choose to blend this into a variety of cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.