Well, this is exciting. You see, I first tried coffee shrub about three weeks ago (Instagram is handy for record-keeping). Cue a choir of caffeinated angels singing!
I was trying to leave town to go for a hike, but Fleet Week, bless its debaucherous heart, had shut down basically all of the streets a relatively new Portlander knows as possible routes to get to a specific highway. Sad trombone for that, and another sad trombone because I clearly don’t know how to do Fleet Week right in the first place.
So, I turned around and went home, but not before stopping at Barista. I saw coffee shrub on the blackboard menu, my eyes got a little starry, and a very special love story began. It was sharp, tangy, fizzy, with a beautifully deep coffee flavor. There was no adjustment period, no need to warm up to it; I loved it immediately, and have been trying to recreate it for those three weeks.
It would have probably taken me many more tries to get this right, if the barista at Barista (heh) hadn’t helpfully explained the major components of the shrub. It’s simply a very, very concentrated cold brew spiked with balsamic, maple syrup, and cane sugar. I used brown sugar in this particular batch, which added a little depth. You do you — there’s plenty of room to experiment here.
I hope the Barista folks don’t mind me sharing my version. I will say, though, that I became something of a coffee shrub pusher at work, occasionally coming in with 3-4 of these bad boys for my (now former) coworkers in Salem. People have been converted. Habits have been formed. And if any of you come to Portland, you must go to Barista anyway. By the time you do, those darlings will probably have yet another brilliant concoction to blow all of our minds. In the meantime, you should try this at home. 100% endorsed, 100% refreshing.
It’s shaping up to be a scorcher of a summer, so let’s hold onto our hats (because we’re obviously not wearing pants), grab a cold, tangy beverage, and slink around in the darkest corners of our apartments like vampires. Vampires with exceptionally good taste. Cheers!
- 2 cups medium-ground coffee
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (brown sugar is also nice)
- 1 1/2 ounces coffee shrub
- Sparkling water
- To make shrub, combine coffee grounds, balsamic vinegar, water, maple syrup, and sugar in a medium bowl or other container and stir well. Cover, and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Then, strain through a fine-mesh sieve, and once or twice more through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a paper towel. Press well to extract all of the liquid you can. I got nearly 3/4 of a cup, enough for at least 3 drinks.
- To make the drink, pour 1 1/2 ounces of the shrub into a tall glass filled with ice. Fill about 2/3 of the way with sparkling water, and stir well. Top off with additional sparkling water.