Jack Cusumano

Step Your Coffee Game Up


Creative professionals of the world, I know your secret – coffee. Coffee is the only thing that keeps us from losing our minds in a world of late nights and weekend crunches, tight deadlines and clueless clients. Coffee is the reason you are still awake, even though you worked the past 24 hours straight. But why drink any old sludge when you can have it just right? After all, coffee can sometimes be the only ray of sunshine in an otherwise oppressive day – take this opportunity to treat yourself right.

Follow me to find out how to step up your coffee game and become a happier person in the process. Today’s special, iced coffee.

I used to live in Orlando. Here I made the mistake of trying an iced coffee “sweet with cream” from local hipster hangout and coffee house, Austins Coffee. Little did I know it would forever spoil me from other iced coffees. The intense, harsh, gloriously burnt taste of freshly roasted beans, the shameless assault of pure sugar, and a hedonistic final touch of whole cream all served in a far-too-big plastic cup with a straw – once you cross that threshold, there is no coming back.

Now that I live in Tucson, I’ve been driving all over town trying to find a substitute. When I failed to find one, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Weeks of experimenting in the lab has finally yielded a potent mixture – not quite as good, but leaps and bounds above the competition. And now, I will share what I’ve learned in an effort to make your lives as creative professionals that much better.

1. Chill your coffee – This is the single most important thing I’ve discovered in my experiments. After brewing your coffee, place it in a pitcher/glass jar and store it in the refrigerator until cold. If you don’t, the hot coffee will instantly melt a good deal of the ice in your cup, watering down the coffee flavor before you even take a sip. I have been advised against storing coffee in the refrigerator, as it loses taste over time, but if you make sure to use the coffee within a day or so, you are golden. Whatever flavor is lost is nothing in comparison to the flavor you save by pouring cold coffee over cold ice.

2. Brew it double-strong – However strong you like your coffee, double it. Or at least add a little extra. This, again, is to preserve that bold coffee flavor in the final product.

3. Grind your own beans – This is a no-brainer, but you really want to grind the beans fresh for maximum flavor potential. If you are extra crazy, roast your own. I haven’t tried it yet, but as soon as this starving artist gets a bit more cash it’s going down. I’m personally a fan of a dark roast, for the pure taste of it, but believe it or not a dark roast has less caffeine than a light roast. Who knew?

4. Cream and sugar – I love the taste of black coffee. That being said, there is something beautiful about the perfect blend of coffee, cream and sugar, and if the coffee in question is iced, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My only tip here is to add your sugar immediately after brewing and before you place the coffee in the fridge to chill. This will keep you from having a grainy mess when you try to sweeten a chilled beverage, and will also make sure that the sweetness is nice and evenly distributed by the time you take a sip. As far as cream, you can’t beat whole cream (organic is even better). Indulgent? Maybe, but milk and even half and half just don’t pack the same punch, and damn it, I am worth it. Besides, you only need to add a touch to get it just right.

5. Ice first, then coffee – Another no brainer, but fill the cup up with a good deal of ice (2/3 of the way full is a good way to measure), then add the coffee second. Why? It just works better, and that’s all you need to know.

That’s my technique, but you can get a second opinion here: talkaboutcoffee.com

Also, you can order Austins Coffee from their webstie: Austins Coffee


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