iced coffee

I’ve never lived anywhere warm. California is shockingly warm to me and here’s the paranoia I’ve developed: – I’m going to burn – I’m going to get deyhydrated – I’ll need more naps – All fruit will go bad.

In Venezuela, I took naps all the time.

In Chicago, during summer, I drank too much and took naps again.

In Buffalo, when it was warm, it only lasted for a week or two and I usually took myself to a lake and a BBQ. It’s hard not to equate warmth with vacation if that’s how you’ve known it.

But I live here now and it’s warm. I barely want coffee sometimes (sometimes). Enter iced coffee and all of its ramifications. I adore this mocha chip frappe recipe by Elise Larson over at A Beautiful Mess and the willingness to “just want” a nice beverage. It reminds me of Charlotte Bronte saying,  “Better to be without logic than without feeling.” Let me explain: iced coffee is pretty discussed right now.

I was reading this warm consideration about how to serve iced coffee that pleased taste and what I liked about this had less to do with the “science” (seemed a bit more like inquiry and less like science) and more to do with the pursuit to keep experimenting. And then I found this response, which has the potential for real collaboration in the community to KEEP experimenting instead of just claiming something is “right” or “wrong” (at least, it ends with a willingness to “try”). Of course, there are people who adhere to singularity – the “one right” way – but this is written with a deep appreciation for learning from another culture. It’s pretty exciting to see this conversation keep opening up to another idea, even, another technique or way. The insistence to keep trying is remarkable.

And, to be frank, I could also care less because I like iced coffee – I want to sip it, tilt my full face in the sun and feel refreshed by a totally familiar taste. In all of these “conversations” about iced coffee and how it is a bit troubling to make “right”, there’s also memories of grandparents drinking iced coffee, summer scenes of warmth and comfort, and the kind of stuff that makes coffee (even iced) so integral to community building. It seems like the real controversy is why we care about “perfection” so much. This is the way it is with “craft” items right? The client “wants” in relation to the makers true knowledge and passion for “how it should be.” I’m pretty sure innovation can happen here, innovation can happen in adhering to tradition (I do believe that bringing education about how things should be can really open up new thinking) and trying to please preferences, desires, and possibilities (there’s always something new right? If not, what’s the point?).

Explicitly: this whole conversation shows that there’s awesome experimentation, good dialogue, and a real pursuit to balance (or understand) taste and science. Implicitly, there’s something else…

I’ve had some really great food lately (traveling to Portland and San Francisco) and, all week, I’ve been dying for my husband to make toasted bread with tomato, cheese, and salt and pepper. Simple. Familiar. No fuss. Not exactly fine dining (even for our kitchen).

Sometimes it’s less about that pursuit of perfection and more about familiarity, togetherness, and pleasure. All of this to say, it’s hot in California and I’m going to be making iced coffee, coffee ice cream, and any other cooled down incarnation of coffee just to see how much potential there is in a product that is already varied from farm to farm, crop to crop, roast to roast.

Keeping on with experimentation, play, and a deep belief in possibility.

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