Those who know me will already be aware that I am a coffee junkie/snob. Heck, my blog is titled ‘Cortado Chronicles’, so you get the idea. The coffee has to be brewed from freshly ground beans, at just the right temperature to assure maximum flavour. The milk, if over-steamed, can ruin a perfect cup. Too much milk, too little coffee concentration? It just won’t do for my tastes. The delicate film of foam on the surface of a brimming mug must be a work of art: symmetry without a flaw, with an absence of those undesired tiny receptacles of air. The whole experience of a single sip must be tender, redolent and tantalising; for both taste buds and olfactory nerves.
So when should we actually drink coffee? Our bodies are like clocks. We have a 24 hour long hormonal cycle that occurs within our elaborate anatomy called the circadian clock, which is essentially the component that tells us when we need to eat, sleep, wake up and carry out lots of other rhythmical daily activities. Production of cortisol, a hormone to make us feel alert, peaks between 8 and 9 o’clock in the morning. Think of it as a natural caffeine source. According to scientific research, if coffee is consumed during this peak of cortisol, the actual effect that the caffeine has on your body plummets due to the fact that you simply do not need it. Then you build up a greater tolerance to the effects of the caffeine, causing that cherished ‘buzz’ to merely disappear.
The periods of time we should really be indulging in coffee are 9.30 to 11.30am, and 1.30 to 5pm. But if truth be told, rules are made to be broken and coffee.. well. Coffee is made to be enjoyed.
Which brings me to the real point of today’s post. The warmth of Spring has hit England early this year and although it’s hardly shorts & t-shirts weather I’m finding myself craving iced coffee.
When I drink hot coffee I prefer it plain and simple: unflavored and unsweetened. Iced coffee breaks those rules a little. It’s more indulgent and refreshing with just a touch of syrupy goodness. Chains such as Costa and Starbucks sell iced coffees that provide us with so much energy that it should constitute as a meal but the amount of sugar in those things is what horrified me the most. 50-70 grams! By making my own, I can save money on those ridiculously expensive beverages and also control what goes into my body. This almond iced mocha hits the spot and is a considerably more nutritious choice than its Costa Coffee counterpart.
ALMOND ICED MOCHA (serves 1)
- 1 shot of espresso
- 150ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tbsp dark agave nectar
- A drop of almond extract
- A handful of ice cubes
- Make your espresso. Alternatively, make 50ml concentrated coffee. Leave to cool.
- Whisk the agave nectar, almond extract and cocoa powder with the cooled espresso until smooth. Pour over ice cubes in a glass.
- Finally, pour the almond milk into the glass, mix and devour.