My 4 PM Obsession

My most reliable marker of time is consistently my own body. Each day approaching 4 PM I feel a repetitious collision in my brain: my encroaching exhaustion hitting a crossroads with my seemingly unaffected to do list. I gaze at my nearby bed longingly but I know better than to surrender to my assortment of plump pillows and fuzzy blankets– I’ll never get back up. I decided to turn to coffee to provide me with the fuel to keep pushing through my assortment of tasks as the day winds to a close.

I have almost famously been unable to produce a drinkable cup of coffee at home; my taste having been shaped by Starbucks blonde lattes and nitro cold brews with flavored foam. I will always treasure Starbucks but I needed to learn how make myself a decent cup of coffee from time to time.

Months later, I’ve finally perfected my at home coffee routine. I’ll spare you the rest of the story to prevent the classic blog recipe trap of presenting an entire essay about the author’s personal life and experiences with the dish before finally relenting and providing you the recipe 4 pages down. So here it is, my October coffee routine:

You will need:

  • a french press or cold brew pitcher
  • ground coffee of choice
  • milk frother

To Taste:

  • sugar or sugar substitute
  • milk or milk substitute
  • coffee creamer

The secret to this coffee recipe is time . The good news though is that it’s not active time, just waiting.

I start by filling the bottom of my cold brew pitcher (or french press) with ground coffee. Right now I’m loving the Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee grounds that my mom got. It goes really well with the vanilla creamer I’ve used.

After inserting the ground coffee and filling the container with cold water, cover the top of the container (without “pressing” the coffee) and refrigerate. It’s necessary to wait a night, and it’s better to wait two days. The longer you wait, the richer tasting the coffee will be. I’ve found that the second day really helps pronounce the nuttier flavors in the coffee that otherwise get watered out.

When it’s ready to be drunk, press the coffee and pour the distillation into a cup of ice. This next part is all to your individual taste. I then add a teaspoon or so of creamer. A vanilla oat milk creamer goes especially well with the pumpkin spice coffee flavor I’ve been using. I also add half a packet of Sweet n’ Low and stir well .

It’s important to stir all these ingredients before the frothed milk, to avoid deflating the milk with too much disturbance. I froth a small amount of milk in a separate cup before pouring it atop the iced coffee, allowing it to slowly sink past the ice cubes with a quick stir when it gets to the bottom to avoid any settling.

And that’s it, my lovely iced coffee routine that saves me each day at 4.

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