#HospitalHack 1 – Coffee

I love coffee, and it’s awesome the hospital provides coffee, of the Blend 43 variety. I’m not a coffee snob, but Blend 43 doesn’t count. Well, Blend 43 counts if you really need caffeine, then it’s bearable, only as a double shot with sugar (ok, that’s a little snobbish, and I feel a little bad knowing it’s roasted down the road). Anyhow, my preferred coffee is an small (8oz) double shot skinny latté with no sugar. I do like it slightly bitter, so if there’s a choice of coffee shops I’ll hunt to find a blend I like.

Here’s the dilemma; how do you get a fresh espresso, stay bedside to comfort your 6 year old and catch vomit at the same time? Yes, you could just run out and get one and clean up the mess later, but it’s a rare occurrence Violet is in a condition that would allow us to leave. Yes, you could start a coffee cart business in the hospital, but I’m sure there would be some sort of rule/legislation against that. Most of the time you wait for a visitor to relieve you or go the Blend 43 route.

The answer? Cold Brew! With 10-15 minutes preparation, 12-18 hrs in the fridge you can make a great tasting coffee faster than a vomit.

With some experimentation I’ve found the perfect drop. So how do I brew it:

  • Place 125g course ground beans in a large coffee plunger/French press.
  • Slowly pour 1.25L of cold water over beans.
  • Cover and place in the fridge.
  • Wait 12-18 hours (I usually make it at about 3pm then plunge at 7am)
  • Plunge and pour into 1L bottle

The brew easily lasts a week in the fridge (depending on how big your habit is)

To make the perfect cup, I get a small glass and mix 2/3rds cold brew and 1/3rd milk. Yes I drink it cold!

Cold brew isn’t for everyone, it is a slightly different flavour, but one I like. Colleen, not as much, she’s taken another route and is happy to bring her Moccona to hospital, get “boiling” water (avoiding styrofoam cups) then reheat in the microwave.

Things I’ve tried:

  • Beans – different beans produce different results; espresso blends tend to make the mix bitter and doesn’t need to be brewed as long. I’ve also tried using more/less beans:water ratio and settled on above.
  • Bean Preparation – the toddy system says to gently layer water and beans, I found no benefit
  • Time – the longer it’s brewed, the more bitter the result, I’ve found 12-18 hours is the sweet spot.
  • Water – although some people have taken this to the next level. I’ve tried tap water and cooled boiled water, I find water out of the fridge the best fit.
  • Heat – I read that you can heat the coldbrew before drinking to give the traditional expresso taste; I disagree, I think it changes the flavour for the worse
  • Milk – I’ve tried without milk and different ratios, for my tastes the 1/3 milk ratio is perfect