Recently, within the last decade, a brewing method called cold brew coffee has been rising through the ranks of coffee shops across the nation, however its hardly a new method. This brewing style comes once again from the innovators in Japan around the 1600’s and was called “Kyoto-Style” for its popularity in the city of Kyoto, Japan. Kyoto-style coffee is slowly drip brewed with large glass tower setups that slow drips single beads of cold water onto the grounds. In contrast, the U.S. style cold-brew method involves soaking the grounds to extract the coffee.
The process to create cold brew is fairly simple:
1- Start with quality fresh coarse ground coffee.
2- Soak the grounds in a proportionate amount of cold water for anywhere from 12-24 hours depending on your taste preferences. You can choose to refrigerate or not while brewing.
3- Strain your fresh cold-brew from the grounds and pout over ice. Depending on the amount of coffee used, the end product may be concentrated and need to be diluted with water.
This method of brewing coffee has become extremely popular for two major reasons. First, cold-brew doesn’t have the bitter acidic taste that other cold coffee methods have. Other methods like Thai, Vietnamese or Indian style cold coffee require hot coffee to be cooled off with ice which alters and disrupts the smooth rich flavor of quality coffee. Cold-brewing avoids this problem. Secondly, cold-brew is very easy and simple to make, requiring minimal labor. You can simply let it sit overnight and have delicious cold-brew concentrate ready each morning.
Below you can view a video displaying the way to easily make cold brew in your home.
Learn about the tea that has graced the cups of ancient royalty and health gurus alike.
Exploring Matcha Tea
Matcha tea is a unique tea for tea lovers and health enthusiasts alike. Originating in China and flourishing in Japan, Matcha tea has been a special tea often consumed during rituals and ceremonies by religious leaders and royalty. The potent powdered tea is the strongest type of green tea offered and is consumed today for its many believed health benefits. Matcha is estimated to be 10 to 15 times stronger than your average green tea, due to the tea being made of entire tea leaves that are powdered. It also contains tons of antioxidants and beta-carotene, even trumping blueberries in antioxidant power. Many other benefits claimed by Matcha drinkers are long periods of increased energy with no jitters or shakes, improved alertness, stress relief and a substantial metabolism boost. It is also believed that the powdered tea can act as an anti-aging beverage, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, boosts the immune system and acts as a strong body cleanser.
Matcha fine powdered green tea
Preparation of Matcha Tea
Bamboo Whisk Method:
- Add the matcha tea powder to a small amount of hot liquid of choice, using a matcha tea bowl, cappuccino mug etc. Whisk briskly in a vertical up-and-down direction, not circular, to make a thick, green paste.
- Add remaining hot liquid to the paste, and stir thoroughly. The matcha powder will dissolve quickly and easily
- Sweeten with stevia (vanilla stevia tastes the best), honey, agave, or any sweetener of choice. A sprinkle of cinnamon is perfect with matcha!
Click the video link below for a visual guide through the process
-You can mix the drink without a whisk, however whisking the paste is the quickest and easiest way.
-Due to the “settling” of the fine matcha tea powder in the containers/bags, we recommend “dry” whisking each individual serving of the matcha tea powder in a bowl/cup before adding liquids. The matcha powder can also be sifted using a fine sifter. After dry whisking, the liquids are then added and the matcha drink can be whisked as per usual. This extra, quick and easy step of “dry whisking” will ensure a perfectly smooth, lump-free beverage!
Storage of Matcha Tea:
Matcha tea is extremely sensitive to light and heat. The tea leaves are flash frozen as soon as they are picked to preserve freshness, and then ground into a powder and vacuum packed in tins or foil bags Once opened and exposed to light/air/heat, the matcha tea powder will begin to oxidize and degrade rapidly. Try storing your tea in air-tight opaque container or sealed in a dark cool area like a refrigerator.
Guatemala Pulcal Region: Antigua Hacienda Carmona Farm Direct
The story behind this farm direct coffee: I was given a tour of the farm by Luis Pedro Zelaya. He owns the Bella Vista Farm also well known to Antigua. His aunt is the owner of the Hacienda Carmona. She lives in the main house over a century old, well preserved and rich in history. We spent the beginning of our visit eating tortillas, cheese, and beans that she had prepared when we arrived on her balcony over looking the large garden and courtyard.
Before examining the mill and the growing coffee she gave us the tour of the church that was built on the farm. They were prepping for a wedding in the coming days. Everything in sight was green and rows of flowers blooming. The chapel is where they hold baptisms, weddings, and church services for the families and workers of the farm. There was real sense of genuine community here.
The mill itself, Pulcal from which this coffee gets its name, was also a sight to be seen. They process their own coffee on the wet and dry mill they constructed. The old buildings are filled with new equipment and dried on enormous patio. The back drop is picturesque with the volcano centered in the distance. It is the volcanic ash and the rainfall that make the soil and in turn the coffee so special. The organic fertilizer is used from the cows they have on the farm.
The farm is located on the steep hills that seemed to wind up and around the mountain. I got to observe the coffee in the the back of a pick up truck. Winding up the dirt roads avoiding the hanging trees which cover the mountainside and provide shade for the coffee as well. All of these different factors make Pulcal some of best coffee the world has to offer.
On my trip to Antigua this was my favorite coffee I cupped out of the numerous lots and coffees from this years crop. In addition the story, history, and process behind it makes it even more special.