Cubist Coffee: or, Handcrafted Summer Mornings

Ahhh, Summertime! Where I live, it is very temperate and pleasant. But in many, many places it is just too darn hot! Especially for a hot beverage to start the day. So this Handcrafted Hack is in celebration of getting your caffeine, without having your eyes sweat. *It should be noted, before we even begin, as with so many handcrafted projects, this is not instant! The cubes will need to be frozen overnight (minimum of 8 hours. 12 is better) I saw a post on facebook about making coffee ice cubes, and decided to put the theory to the test. I decided to start sort of small, since it was an experiment. I brewed about 1/3 of a pot of very strong, lovely coffee.

start with strong coffee

start with strong coffee

Then, I used a clean, empty ice cube tray

clean tray

clean tray

I filled the tray pretty full, and let it sit on the counter for an hour or so, as I filled it hot. You could simply turn off the coffee pot and let it cool before you pour. Obviously, you don’t want to put anything hot into the freezer, as it puts all your frozen foods at risk of thawing.

cooling coffee

cooling coffee

Then, place the trays into the freezer, where they won’t be disturbed until the next day. Just a note, here, I stacked my 2 trays I made, and the coffee froze onto the bottom of the top tray, which, of course melted into dark coffee drips as I was taking it from the freezer, and using the cubes. There is a pretty significant potential for mess, here, so, maybe, don’t wear white while you participate in this process. The next morning, I pulled the cubes from the tray and placed them in my glass:

iced coffee on!

iced coffee on!

Now, because I was just having an “iced latte”, I simply added milk (cow’s milk, for this experiment, but, of course, you can use whatever you fancy), and was on my way. As the cubes have melted, the coffee is mixed into the milk. It has been a spectacular way to start the day.

Iced latte!

Iced latte!

It should be noted that this concoction could just as easily be a mocha (add chocolate syrup), or a flavored latte (add syrup) or a blended drink (drop the lot in a blender and whirl). The thickness of the blended drink is the coffee cubes, which do not water down a blended or on the “rocks” coffee drink. And, let’s don’t miss the obvious indications for both alcoholic additions and ice cream! I believe this idea could easily b adapted to a bunch of other applications, such as tea-cubes for your iced tea (in any flavor, or even herbal); freezing juice cubes, or adding your favorite protein/diet/supplement powder to the mix. So, today’s tutorial not only saves a fortune in coffee house prices, but sticks it to both Monsanto and Starbucks! Double bonus for Awesome America!

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After a long day…

a nice cuppa

a nice cuppa

…I owe it to myself (and my family!), to treat myself to a handcrafted form of relaxation. I know myself well enough to know I need to take good care of myself in this way. Taking time for a ritual cuppa, an herbal blend tisane, reduces my stress, balances my hormones and helps to prevent a lowered immune-response, thus keeping me healthier and more resistant to disease!

I have been “taking tea” since I was a teen, and I have perfected the art in all manner of financial situations. So, I offer my compendium of ways to enjoy and benefit from herbal blend teas from ghetto to gourmet.

The only difference between high rent and anything else is in the process. There are splendid stainless steel tea kettles, and cups with built-in strainers. One could spend a fortune on the very best and most highly advanced accouterments and if you have the means and the inclination, I highly recommend it.

For the rest of us, there are a wide variety of ways to make tea-

  • bagged tea is infinitely the easiest, but not the most cost effective. I am a huge fan of Stash teas, myself.
  • iron-closed paper tea bags. These can be purchased empty and filled with your favorite herbal blends. I love them! I use a curling iron to seal the bags, so I don’t even have to drag out the big iron.
  • Tea balls/bamboo strainers. Very economical, and last a long time.
  • Drip coffee maker. Throw a handful of herbs in the strainer basket and brew! Nothing could be simpler. *Be cautious with strong-smelling herbs (ie, valerian) because they can permeate the plastic of the filter basket with their scent.

Once you have your method worked out, it is all about the herbs. All of these blends are caffeine-free, and have specific effects. ***Please consult your medical professional, herbalist or Witch Doctor before ingesting any herb! This information is not intended to cure any disease or put me in an actionable position! I am not a doctor or an herbalist…;) ***

After A Long Day:

  • lavender 3 parts
  • chamomile 1 part
  • passionflower 1 part

Balance:

  • lavender 2 parts
  • rose petals 1 part
  • chamomile 1 part

Pick-Me-Up (as effective as a cup of coffee for mental acuity and focus, with no side effects):

  • Peppermint 3 parts
  • Lemongrass 1 part

Can’t Sleep:

  • lavender 2 parts
  • chamomile 1 part
  • hops 1 part
  • skullcap 1 part

All of these herbs are readily available at local herb stores, whole food markets and on the internet (when I didn’t have a local herb shop, I bought from Mountain Rose Herbs). Obviously, the more you buy, the cheaper it is, per ounce. Store any unused herb in an airtight seal jar (best kind, a mason jar or similar re-purposed jar and lid) for up to 1 year. But the fresher, the better, so try not to get nuts. I like to buy about an ounce at a time. Then I have enough for individual use, as well as making these blends up in advance.

There is so much to be gained from a handcrafted cuppa. Brew a cup, have a seat. Breathe in the scent. Savor the flavor…mmm…