Musical pairing – A Love That Will Last by Renee Olstead
You know I’m a Seattle girl so when Seattle’s Best contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a review of their new ‘Levels System‘ for coffee, I said, ‘I’m in!’ You might be surprised to know that I haven’t always been a coffee drinker and in fact, for years was of the opinion that anyone who drank coffee needed to have their taste buds checked . . . strong, bitter and very acidic, I just didn’t get it. And then coffee bars came onto the scene . . . and with coffee bars came sweet flavors like vanilla, caramel and chocolate . . . as well as milk, cream and half & half . . . and just like that, I was a coffee junkie . . .
Seattle’s Best has recently introduced their new ‘Levels System’ packaging which is color-coded with a number telling you exactly what you need to know – which type of coffee fits your personal taste profile. And they have blends that cover an entire range of coffees – from a mild, light, crisp Level 1 to a bold, dark and intense Level 5; Decaf, an Organic Fair Trade Certified blend as well as flavored coffees in both Cinnamon and Hazelnut are also available. The higher the number on the package, the stronger the flavor profile – easy, yes? Yes! The Professor and I both preferred the dark roast (Level 5) because as noted in the opening paragraph, vanilla, caramel, chocolate and sometimes cream (shhhh . . .) are part of our regular repertoire – not at the same time mind you, but let’s just say we keep a stash of the good stuff in the fridge at all times . . .
I had scheduled an entire post on how to make cold-brewed coffee, but someone beat me to the punch; and not only did that someone write a fabulous post on iced coffee, but this certain someone posted an awesome variation on the same day . . . be sure to check out both of those ‘DIY’ posts! Our Cincinnati family got us hooked on cold-brewed coffee about 4 years ago and we’ve never looked back; (a) it’s less acidic and therefore easier on my fickle tummy, (b) coffee is always ready to go – iced or hot and (c) making your own coffee concentrate is much, much cheaper than hitting your local coffeehouse every day.
And having coffee concentrate on hand means you can make all sorts of wonderful recipes without having to plan to brew coffee: Tiramisu, fabulous coffee cakes (I have a knock-your-socks-off recipe I’m going to share with you soon) and frozen frappes like this mocha-brandy one . . . trust me when I say, this will be a love that will last . . .
Here’s how we make it at Smith Bites!
Disclaimer: While Seattle’s Best provided me with coffee samples, the opinions and recipe are strictly my own.
Makes approximately 3 Cups
- 1/2 cup chocolate-brandy sauce (or your favorite store-bought chocolate sauce)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla simple syrup (optional) *See Note Below
- 3/4 cup cold Seattle’s Best coffee concentrate – more or less depending on how strong you like yours
- 1 cup soy milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cups ice
- Place chocolate-brandy sauce, coffee concentrate, milk, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and vanilla syrup (if using) into a blender and whiz for about 15-20 seconds to mix well.
- Add ice and process for approximately one minute or until well blended
- Pour into glasses, add straws and serve
- Optional: top with real whipped cream
*SMITH BITES NOTE: If you make your own chocolate-brandy sauce and use a 60-70% dark chocolate, you may need a bit more sweet; if so, use a simple syrup or a teaspoon or two of superfine sugar. If you’re using a milk chocolate or a semi-sweet chocolate to make your sauce, you probably won’t need any additional sweetener.