Through the years, I have become obsessed with coffee. Not only needing it within 10 minutes of waking up, but the coffees themselves and how they're brewed. It seems like I'm on a constant search for the just-right coffeemaker and method.
My kitchen counter has an array of coffee makers — a Keurig single-brew maker with a cappuccino/latte frother, a drip coffee maker that makes just enough coffee to fill my rather large commuter coffee cup and a glass French press coffee maker. And let's not forget the coffee bean grinder ...
Due to time constraints, I use the Keurig when I have to dash out the door to work. Two pods, two cycles and I'm out the door. The lattes and cappuccinos are best saved for the weekend, when I have time to savor them. And the French press is for those days when nothing will do but several very strong, caffeine-full, dark roast cups of coffee.
My favorite coffee is Jamaican Blue Mountain, which I cajole my Jamaican-bound friends into bringing back for me, and which I reserve for special occasions. The best I've ever had came from a little shack, oddly enough called the Blue Mountain Coffee Shop in Negril, owned by a lovely young woman named LaToya, who roasted the beans herself in a tin drum over an open fire behind the shop.
I've never met a coffee I didn't love — and my pantry and counter attests to that. There are at least eight containers of coffee — beans, ground and K-cups — next to the coffeemakers, and more hidden out of sight. Flavored coffees, decaf coffee, dark roast coffee, coffee from Jamaica, coffee from Hawaii, coffee from everywhere ...
My son, David, also a Jamaican Blue Mountain aficionado, introduced me to cold brew coffee, which is made similar to sun tea, only minus the sun. The ground coffee steeps in water overnight, strained and then consumed. I came across this recipe for vanilla cinnamon iced coffee, which I really like, despite the fact I don't use sugar in my coffee.
VANILLA CINNAMON ICED COFFEE
1 1/2 cups ground strong coffee
8 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla cinnamon syrup, to taste (recipe below)
Half-and-half, to taste
Vanilla cinnamon syrup:
1 cup extra fine granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, sliced open vertically
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Add coffee grounds and water to a large pitcher. Stir. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight for up to 12 hours. Strain mixture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Discard leftover coffee grounds. Store coffee in fridge until ready to use.
Fill a large glass with ice cubes. Add coffee, vanilla syrup, and half-and-half. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or vanilla cinnamon syrup as needed.
Vanilla cinnamon syrup:
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add sugar, water and vanilla bean. Bring to a roiling boil and remove from heat. Let cool, then stir in vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Pour syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove any vanilla bean pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.