Bottomless Cup: The Many Faces of Coffee

Bottomless Cup: The Many Faces of Coffee

Two weeks ago, I nursed a drip cup of Blue Bottle Bella Donovan while bundled up in a hoodie and mourning the loss of summer. Last week, I strolled pleasantly along in seventy-degree weather sipping on an iced coffee from Sabor y Cultura. Yesterday, I attempted to corral the drippage from a rapidly melting coffee paleta as the temperature soared to an incomprehensible and ugly high (113 Downtown, 119 in the Valley). Thanks to the weather, figuring out how best to get my daily intake of coffee has been a challenge as of late, and I find myself thinking entirely too much about the sweet jolt of java in all its forms. It turns out I’m not the only one — hot or cold, folded into dessert or spicing up dinner, coffee is a favorite topic on the food blog circuit. After poking around the most caffeinated corners of the Internet, I now have a (seemingly) endless list of ways to consume my favorite beverage:

Some Like It Hot
There are plenty of places in the world where scorching temperatures would never keep a true addict away from a morning cup of joe. Take India, for example. The country may be known in the beverage sector for its glorious chai, but it also is host to a huge coffee culture. eCurry demystifies the Indian “Espresso” — which is creamy and rich, but doesn’t contain any actual espresso. Turkey wins points for simplicity, but you’ll need an ibrik to make it properly. Step-by-step instructions are provided by the Turkish Coffee Blog. You can also use an ibrik (see below) to make Cafe de Olla, a spicy sort of Mexican mocha, like this version from Coffee Territory. Or, give Armenian coffee a try. This recipe from the Armenian Kitchen includes cardamom. White on Rice Couple recently went camping and whipped up some Vietnamese coffee. We suggest swapping out the regular grounds for Cafe du Monde chicory grounds. This is the time of year when we’re supposed to be falling under the comforting spell of a warm and nutmeg-y pumpkin latte. Riffing off the familiar recipe of a certain green mermaid infested chain, The Kitchn’s DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte works with or without an espresso machine. The folks over at Brewed Coffee hacked Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha recipe, so ’tis the season anytime you feel like it. To feel even more jolly, might we suggest spiking your coffee beverage? The fine folks at Imbibe are way ahead of us here, with a boozed-up and flaming Spanish coffee recipe. For a less complicated (and less dangerous) tipple, an Irish coffee can do no wrong and The Celt shows us how they do it in County Limerick.

A Cold Front
The wonders of cold coffee beverages run much deeper than your standard iced coffee — although we still dig a cup of the simple stuff, especially if it’s made the way Small Notebook demonstrates. When Vietnamese coffee cools down, the sweetness of the condensed milk really comes through. Try this easy method from Steamy Kitchen. Thai iced coffee often uses condensed milk, too, but heavy cream also works. With coriander, cardamom, and sugar, this version from Easy Coffee Recipes is practically dessert. Want something a bit more indulgent? Ice cream, whipped cream, and vanilla make Get Cooking’s Coffee Punch a frothy midpoint between a frappe and a milkshake. Simply Sugar and Gluten Free offers a healthier version of a Mocha Frappe (read: there’s a carrot in it). Another frothy chocolate drink gets the berry treatment over at Imbibe. Chocolate, espresso, and almond gang up for some whack-you-across-your-high-brow decadence in David Lebovitz’s Shake de l’Opera. If that’s not indulgent enough, try out this wine coffee froth.

Caffeinated Cooking
As anyone paying attention to the barbecue world knows, coffee isn’t just for drinking. Coffee’s roasted, earthy flavor makes it an excellent ingredient in a whole range of recipes, and it has found particular favor around the grill. These smokey ribs from the Petit Chef gets their kick from instant coffee granules. To make your own sauce, use this recipe from Brewed Coffee as a base and tinker ’til it’s yours. Burgers get their grounds on over at Caffination — literally, they’re rolled in the stuff. Daily Shot of Coffee has its own take on coffee burgers. Whichever you choose, we suggest topping your finished burger with plenty of coffee barbecue sauce. Also from Daily Shot of Coffee are these caramelized coffee chicken breasts. We applaud Mike’s use of Cafe Bustelo in the brine, both for its affordability and robustness. Our next coffee chicken recipe features nuts (yes, nuts) and demands a stove top. From Omnomicon comes this hearty chicken stew with chipotle, coffee, cumin, and cloves. If red meat is more your speed, this coffee beef stew from I Need Coffee includes a garden’s worth of root vegetables (and dumplings!). Those that are still a little worried about cooking with coffee can baby-step their way with Zoka’s black bean and coffee chili (try adding a few squares of very dark chocolate) or throw some brewed coffee into their pot roast braise like Amanda at What We’re Eating. This award-winning pan-seared coffee lamb rack impressed Imbibe and won the gold at the 6th World Championship of Chinese Cuisine. Next, Epicurious takes us into the oven with short ribs braised in a coffee ancho chili sauce. You can even eat coffee for breakfast. Make muffins with a coffee bread recipe, like this chocolate espresso whole wheat one from This Mama Cooks or simple toast made out of Martha Stewart’s black bread. Or, try coffee chocolate chip waffles from, served with coffee-glazed bacon, of course!

Not in Your Grocer’s Freezer
Did you know coffee ice cream has its own day? While I knew nothing about September 6th being National Coffee Ice Cream Day until just this moment, there’s a pretty good chance I was digging my way through a tub of Jamoca Almond Fudge just the same. There’s no need to hit up the Baskin-Robbins or the 8 dozen brands in your grocer’s freezer — it’s easy to make your own. Start simple with this espresso bean ice cream from Running With Tweezers. The Chocolate Gourmand has an easy, creamy recipe for espresso gelato. Chaos in the Kitchen teaches us how to fold the condensed milk loveliness of Vietnamese coffee into ice cream form and Simply Recipes captures the comfort of Ibarra Mexican Chocolate (with the help of some cayenne pepper) in these scoops. Serious Eats takes the freezy fun to a new, delightfully alcoholic, level with smoked chocolate and tequila ice cream.

Awake for Dessert
Coffee has a long history on the dessert menu, and not just in ice cream form. Tiramisu has long been the benchmark for a stellar Italian-American restaurant (or a tolerable casual dining chain). Made By Girl makes her espresso-soaked ladyfinger dessert sans booze and in individual servings. David Lebovitz also goes for single-servings, but takes the classic route with cognac and raw eggs. From 101 Cookbooks comes Paul Barbano’s ghetto take — Beeramisu. Replacing the cognac with beer sounds off-putting, but Barbano uses porter, a dark and creamy brew. We’d go with Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald, which has notes of bourbon, chocolate, and coffee. A coffee-infused chocolate dessert is hard to top, particularly if it’s this fudge pudding cake from Kitchen Daily or this flourless chocolate espresso truffle cake from Use Real Butter. Too decadent? Try a simple coffee granita, which is basically an elegant slushie. Coffee has found its way into cookie and candy recipes, too. Espresso bean cookies make an impressive and delicious dessert. 101 Cookbooks ups the cocoa ante with this chewy triple chocolate espresso batch.  This coffee toffee from Serious Eats is nutty and full of butter; these cocoa espresso truffles from Always Order Dessert are lovely little balls of caffeinated bliss; and this chocolate espresso fudge from Not So Humble is a silky sweet square of Kahlua-laced coffee excess.

The Coffee Makers:

1. 6 oz Copper Turkish Ibrik by Turkish Coffee World

2. V60 Buono Kettle by Hario

3. Saffron Vacuum Jug by Stelton

4. V60 Glass Dripper by Hario Glass

5. Pura Cafetiere by La Cafetiere

6. Eileen French Press by Bodum

7. Bean Ice Coffee Maker by Bodum

8. Syphon Brewer by Yama

9. Ten Cup Classic Series Glass Coffeemaker by Chemax

10. The Twist Hand-Held Espresso Maker by Mypressi

11. Flip and Drip Coffeemaker by Bruton

12. Red Dama Deco Stovetop Espresso Maker by Bialetti

Photo: lgkiii