Monday, June 24, 2013

Orange and Cardamom Cold-Brewed Coffee

I've been in a bit of a cooking lull lately. Well, a bit of a lull overall. After a busy spate of days (Making a radio story about beloved childhood books! Seeing an amazing past-my-bedtime rock show from an old friend's band!), I came down with a nasty summer flu. And not the kind where you have an excuse to snuggle up in bed and watch trashy programming. The kind where you're painfully reminded of what it's like to have a bad fever (spoiler alert: it sucks), where you feel like you don't fit in your own skin, where you spend the hours alternating between napping and moaning in self-pity. OoooOOOOoooh.

For a few days, I was pretty much off food entirely (save for a few handfuls of cereal, and the quart of homemade matzo ball soup that my sent-from-heaven friend dropped off to see me through). I thankfully regained my appetite, but still seemed to just be trudging through my days. Sure, there's the long tail of recovery. But I also realized there was something else in play: the lack of caffeine.

Over the past several months, my coffee habit has been gradually nudging up. Maybe I've grown dependent. Or maybe it's just that, well, stimulants are stimulating. Whatever the reason, I have noticed that the belated reintroduction of caffeine has had a marked effect on my productivity, ability to maintain a grown-up bedtime, and general good cheer. Hooray for coffee! And, specifically, hooray for orange and cardamom cold-brewed coffee!

I adore cardamom, with its piney-clean savory-sweet scent. I love it in curries, in chai, and in this insanely addictive ice cream I went through several pints of after I discovered it. And, it turns out, I love it in coffee. Combined with orange zest, it's subtle enough that it doesn't scream I AM FLAVORED COFFEE! It's just gently perfumed, with slight floral notes that keep you reaching for the next taste. And, as a bonus, the whole process couldn't be easier: just toss cardamom, coffee and some orange zest in a jar. Let sit, strain, and pour over ice (and, if you're me, stir in a dollop of sweetened condensed milk). Then take a sip, and wait for your self to be restored.

Orange and Cardamom Cold-Brewed Coffee

inspired by 10th Kitchen
yields ~2-4 servings, depending on how much caffeine you need

1 orange
1 cup medium-grind coffee
a dozen cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 quart water

zest the orange, and combine with the coffee, cardamom, and water in a jar with a lid. That's it. Let sit for 24 hours, then strain through a coffee filter. Serve over ice (you can also water it down if it's too strong for your taste), and a well-stirred dollop of sweetened condensed milk if desired.


  1. This sounds like the perfect plan for subtly flavored coffee! It reminds me of the little twists of citrus peel you get with fancy espressos sometimes. :)

  2. Gotta try this. I wonder if using cloves instead of cardamom would work as well.

    A cafe I used to work at wuold zest a little orange into dark-mochas, very delicious. A lot of coffee origins will have inherent citrus notes in the flavor profile (if they aren't dark roasted coffees). In some cafes in Italy patrons will ask for a slice of lemon to enjoy with their espresso.

    Levi -