Wellnesting | Creating a Happy Handmade Home

Drinks

Whats in a Paloma, Anyway?

RecipesStephanieComment

Because I've been dying to find out....

What's In A Paloma Anyway | Wellnesting

Salt
1/4 c fresh grapefruit juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/4 c tequila
1/4 c club soda
Grapefruit wedge for garnish

  1. Pour some salt on a plate. Rub the rim of a glass with a grapefruit wedge and dip the rim in the salt.
  2. Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, and honey in the glass. Stir until honey is dissolved.
  3. Stir in tequila. Add ice and top with club soda. Add a grapefruit wedge for garnish.
     

Cucumber Mint Iced Tea

RecipesStephanieComment

Mmm. Iced tea.

A twist on boring iced tea. This homemade cucumber mint iced tea is perfect for staying cool when it gets hot outside.

It makes me think of summer. And the South. And my mom, for some reason. I don’t know if these associations are based on actual memory or just some story I’ve built in my mind over the years, but nevertheless, iced tea reminds me of my childhood catching tadpoles and camping and generally running amok outside in the balmy Virginia heat. I’m almost 100% certain none of those things actually took place around iced tea, but I like the association just the same.

Now, my version of iced tea is not to be confused with southern sweet tea. Sweet tea is an art. A bragging right and a dietary staple reserved for anyone born and raised below the Mason Dixon. I originally thought about making this a sweet tea tutorial (kind of like my cold brewed coffee post here), but after doing a bit of research I realized sweet tea is embarrassingly easy and not deserving of a whole post (although some Southerners might disagree).

But if you reeeally want to know the secret to sweet tea, I’ll tell you anyway. Ok, are you ready? You sure?

A twist on boring iced tea. This homemade cucumber mint iced tea is perfect for staying cool when it gets hot outside.

Baking soda.

 

There’s something about the alkalinity of baking soda that cuts down on the bitterness of the tea and gives it a more full-bodied flavor. That’s it!

See? Nothing fancy. I’m sure you’re even a little let down, no?

And now that I’ve spoiled the mystery, let’s move along...

We’ll be making Cucumber Mint Iced Tea. This is a simple twist on traditional iced tea, only lighter and more refreshing. Instead of using black tea, I used a white tea to freshen things up. And once the tea finished steeping, I added cucumber and mint to give it a fancy spa water vibe. Not only is it refreshing but it’s also chocked full of minerals and antioxidants. Add a little bit of raw honey while the tea is steeping if you like yours on the sweet side and you’re good to go.

A twist on boring iced tea. This homemade cucumber mint iced tea is perfect for staying cool when it gets hot outside.

And just like my cold brew coffee, this can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to drink it. Since I have little patience for kettles and the stove when it’s 90 degrees outside, I like to make enough to last me a few days and then pour a glass whenever I get the itch.

Perfect for lazy summers and impromptu guests and mid-afternoon caffeine fixes.

A twist on boring iced tea. This homemade cucumber mint iced tea is perfect for staying cool when it gets hot outside.

Cucumber Mint White Iced Tea Recipe

Ingredients

6 white tea bags (I used Twinings)
4 c water
1/2 medium cucumber
1/8 c fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp raw honey
 

  1. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Pour boiling water into a large, heat-resistant glass container and add the tea bags. Allow to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Once the tea has cooled slightly, add cucumber slices, mint leaves, and honey. Stir. Then continue steeping for another 2 hours.
  4. Remove tea bags and strain tea through a mesh strainer to remove the mint and cucumbers. Pour over ice and serve with fresh cucumber slices and mint leaves for garnish. Add more honey if desired.
A twist on boring iced tea. This homemade cucumber mint iced tea is perfect for staying cool when it gets hot outside.
A twist on boring iced tea. This homemade cucumber mint iced tea is perfect for staying cool when it gets hot outside.

The Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee

RecipesStephanie19 Comments

I’m not a big coffee drinker (at least I didn’t used to be). But I would be lying if I didn’t say that coffee (and wine, duh) is one of my absolute, all-time favorite things.

The Ultimate Guide to Making Cold Brew Coffee

While I typically prefer to keep the imbibing (both alcoholic and non) to a minimum, during the warmer months my obsession with coffee often reaches a fever pitch and I’m prone to run a little wild. My particular soft spot is for the cold brewed variety served on ice with honey and coconut cream. Or frozen and served as a granita. Or poured over ice cream. Or spiked with espresso. Or all of the above.

Like I said, I’m wild.

And with so many occasions for coffee, I have found that the best way to ensure you never run out is by cold brewing the beans in bulk and then storing your brew for when the craving strikes.

If you’re not familiar with the art of the cold brew or if you have just never tried it yourself, then let me give you the rundown on how to make the best cold brew coffee ever.

The Ultimate Guide to Making Cold Brew Coffee
The Ultimate Guide to Making Cold Brew Coffee

What exactly is cold brewing?

It’s the process of steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for a long period of time to slowly extract the flavor of the bean. This results in a smooth, highly-concentrated coffee perfect for pouring over ice or blending in Frappuccino-type drinks.

 

Why is this better than traditional brewing?

  • Less acidity. (Up to 65% less, but who’s counting) This is good for people with acid reflux or digestion issues who prefer a mellower coffee. This also means a smoother, less bitter tasting cup of pure heaven.
  • More flavor. The long brew time allows more of the flavor to enter the water which means it’s more concentrated and less likely to taste watered down when poured over ice.
  • Stays fresh longer. When coffee is heated and then cooled, the chemistry changes and the compound 2-furfurylthiiol — which contributes to that amazing coffee smell — degrades as it cools off. Since the chemical structure of cold brew coffee doesn’t change, it should taste the same a week from now as it does today.
The Ultimate Guide to Making Cold Brew Coffee

Here’s how to do it

  1. Buy coffee beans as fresh as possible and roasted locally if you can find them. The fresher the bean, the better the coffee. I picked up a pack of organic beans from a local coffee shop that had been roasted about a week earlier and it was uh-maz-ing.
  2. Start with a ratio of ½ cup coarsely ground, medium  roast coffee beans to 1 ½ cups filtered water (or any 3:1 ratio of water to grounds will work). I prefer to grind the  beans first, then measure to make sure I get the correct amount.
  3. Pour your grounds and water into a large glass jar. Stir with a plastic or wooden spoon (metal can affect the taste of the coffee). Cover and let steep for 24 hours at room temp. After the 24 hour period is up, you can either drink the coffee as-is or you can move it to the fridge and let steep for another 24-48 hours for a stronger tasting coffee.
  4. Once your coffee has reached the desired strength, use cheese cloth, a fine mesh sieve, or a paper filter to separate the grounds from the coffee concentrate.
  5. Store your coffee in the refrigerator for up to a week. After that, the coffee starts to break down and the flavor degrades.

Wait. I’m really supposed to wait 24 hours? Patience, grasshopper. That’s the beauty of cold brew. It takes longer to steep but you can also make a huge batch and store it in the fridge until you're ready to drink it. I like to make mine in advance, that way I never run out.

The Ultimate Guide to Making Cold Brew Coffee

Finally, you can water down your coffee concentrate if you like a weaker brew or simply dress it up with the cream/milk/sweetener of your choosing. Because we’re using a higher coffee to water ratio than traditionally used in hot brewing, this coffee packs a higher caffeine punch making it perfect for any of those Frappuccino-type drinks.

Here are some of my favorite ways to drink it.

Latte

Add ice to the top of  a tall glass
Fill 3/4 with coffee
Top off with cream or coconut cream

Mocha

Combine 1 tbsp dark chocolate and 3/4 cup coffee
Stir vigorously
Add ice
Top with almond milk

Energizer

Put 1 tbsp coconut oil and 1 cup coffee in a blender
Blend on high for 20 seconds
Pour in cup and add ice

Infused

Combine the zest of 1 orange and 2 cardamom pods with 1 quart of cold brewed coffee
Allow to steep for 24 hours then strain
Pour over ice and add milk

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Making Cold Brew Coffee