Add a sparkle to your afternoon Joe.
The Super Simple Series aims to be super simple. That’s that.
I don’t know if you can call a coffee a “snack,” but in the afternoons, if I know I’ve eaten a little too much or just want a pick-me-up, a little cup of black gold always gets me through.
Now, I’m clearly not going to write you a recipe for a latte or a double-double (for you Canadians playing at home), but I do like to experiment with the way I consume things.
I recently went to the Samsung 837 store/event space in the Meatpacking District with my mate Rod. Any nerd should make this pilgrimage for an afternoon of tech-focused entertainment. It’s filled with crazy technology packaged into consumer-friendly experiences.
As the afternoon wore on, the inevitable question was raised of where the next caffeine source was coming from. Concession-minded Samsung had thought of it all and had leased out space to Stand Coffee by Smorgasburg. Their creative beverages sparked both of our curiosities and so, we had to try.
The menu starts off simply enough: espresso, drip and cold brew but wtf is an almond Palmer and why would you put espresso with tonic water? Obviously, that’s the direction our curious minds went, so off we went ordering the most ridiculous things on the menu.
Rod got the Almond Palmer: an infusion of cold brew, lemon juice, vanilla and almond milk. Adding something acidic to something that’s already acidic and bitter seemed like a stupid idea but, in a cold drink, it’s actually quietly refreshing. The almond and vanilla rounded out the harshness and it almost became cocktail-like in its cool, sour, summer daze kind of feel.
I tried the Espresso Tonic: as simple and crazy as it sounds. Again, adding an acid to an acid works when it’s iced. It was compounded (I guess you could say complemented) by the bitter notes in both. It helped that tonic contains sugar, which carried the double-double whack and smoothed it out. The carbonation really lifted everything again into that cocktail-esque space. I loved it!
Given that experience, I started experimenting with flavoring in coffee at home. Some choices just did not work. Case in point: lemon juice. As I don’t use sugar in my daily life, just straight out adding acidity to an acidic drink was a poor choice.
The citrus thought, though, lived on. The idea of brightening up deep coffee flavors can be paralleled to chocolate desserts. Have a think about the combination of orange and chocolate in a cake or (for the Aussies) jaffa. The earthiness is really enriched by the sweet and heady top notes of the citrus. I’m employing the same idea here but without the sweetness by using orange zest. The oils in the skin of the orange give us the intense, zippy flavor of orange but none of the sugar.
Adding soda water to this combination is the forklift that lifts the flavors to new heights. By adding this spark of effervescence, we have created something unexpected on the palate: an orange soda with deep earthy undertones. It’s a hoot!
The key here: play! Have fun with your everyday.