TIME Diet/Nutrition

How (and Why) to Make Cold-Brew Coffee

black-iced-coffee
Getty Images

It's more flavorful and nuanced and less bitter than hot coffee

Move over, pumpkin spice latte—the hottest trend in coffee these days is cold. Cold brew, that is.

This isn’t iced coffee, which is hot coffee or espresso allowed to cool and then served over ice (or whipped up in a blender with milk and sugar-laden syrups and topped with whipped cream). Cold-brew coffee is exactly what it sounds like, brewed by steeping coffee in cold water rather than hot. And, like another trend—we’re looking at you, bone broth—it’s a tried-and-true classic that is back in vogue.

Read more: 10 Coffee Drinks Worse Than a Candy Bar

Proponents of cold-brew say that because the grounds aren’t exposed to hot water, the resulting coffee is more flavorful and nuanced and less bitter than hot coffee. (Here’s some science around why, if you’re so inclined.)

You can buy cold-brew coffee ($10.30, amazon), but if you’re more of a DIY person, it’s a cinch to make yourself.

Read more: Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

“Cold brew is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee around,” Michael Phillips, director of training for Blue Bottle Coffee, tells Health. “If you have a bucket and some form of strainer or cheesecloth, you’re all set.”

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial from Phillips:

Measure it

“A simple way to get a good ratio of coffee to water is to use one pound of coarsely ground (French press grind setting) coffee for one gallon of water,” Phillips says. A lighter-roast coffee will be fruitier and will work better for a longer steeping time; darker roasts are earthier. Phillips recommends starting with filtered water: Water is “the majority of what’s in the final cup, so if it doesn’t taste good to start, the brew won’t taste good in the end.”

Add H2O

Put the coffee in a large, clean container (Phillips recommends glass; it’s the easiest to clean and will not leave any flavor in the brew). Pour in a gallon of water, taking care to get all of the coffee wet. “I like to give it a good stir after 10 minutes to allow all of the grounds that were floating at the top to sink down to the bottom,” Phillips says. Cover the container with something breathable, such as cheesecloth, so no dust settles into it, and let it stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

Read more: 6 Healthy Reasons to Keep Loving Coffee

Strain it

Set a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper filter on top of a clean container (this is the one that will be used to store the coffee) and pour in the coffee mixture.

Drink up

Cover and refrigerate the brew for 4 to 5 days. It’s a concentrate, so when you’re ready to drink, pour some of the brew into a cup and add some cold filtered water. How much you add depends on how strongly you brewed your cold-brew and how strong you like your coffee. It’s best served cold. Tip: Cold brew “also makes for a really easy-to-use ingredient for cooking to get coffee flavor into baked goods or even cocktails,” Phillips says.

Read more: 9 Ways to Kick the Coffee Habit

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Dating

This Is The Most Popular Place to Have a First Date

You probably won't be surprised

It turns out that your dating life is just as predictable as you thought it was.

According to a recent study by mobile dating app Clover, the most popular place to have a first date is none other than Starbucks. (Hopefully one that serves alcohol.)

The app offers an on-demand dating option that allows its users to select a nearby location to meet up with a date. After analyzing data from its 200,000 users (between the ages of 18 and 65), Clover tracked the most popular first date spots. Note: Olive Garden is very high on the list.

Clover

Here’s how favorite date spots differed based on age. Unsurprisingly, Chipotle reigned supreme for the 18-to-24 demographic.

Clover

Clover also found that men prefer restaurants for a first date while women opt for coffee shops.

Clover

Starbucks might seem like a pretty basic first date meetup, but look on the bright side: If it goes well, at least we already know that the chain hosts weddings!

 

TIME Starbucks

Starbucks Expands Free College Plan to 4 Years

Stephen Brashear—Getty Images Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during Starbucks annual shareholders meeting March 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.

The company will budget up to $250 million for online coursework

Starbucks Corporation is expanding its college tuition assistance program to offer U.S. employees a full reimbursement of tuition for online bachelor’s degrees, company executives revealed on Tuesday.

Any Starbucks employee who works more than 20 hours a week will be eligible for a loan to cover tuition at Arizona State University, which the company will reimburse once the student has received a passing grade at the end of each semester, the Wall Street Journal reports. Previously, the program limited tuition reimbursements to juniors and seniors.

Starbucks is budgeting upwards of $250 million for the program and expects at least 25,000 employees to take advantage of the offer by 2025.

Chief executive Howard Schultz said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the program highlighted the company’s commitment to “do everything we can to help our people get access to college.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

 

TIME Food & Drink

You Only Have 5 Days to Try Starbucks’ Birthday Cake Frappuccino

The first Frappuccinos debuted in 1995

It’s a scientific fact—at least when it comes to dessert—that the only thing better than chocolate is birthday cake.

Luckily, Starbucks seems to be on top of this important life-truth.

The coffee chain is celebrating the 20th birthday of its signature frozen drink with a new Birthday Cake Frappuccino. The limited-edition drink will only be available in stores for five days, from March 26-30.

So how do you make a birthday-cake-flavored Frap? (No, not with Funfetti.) Starbucks’ vanilla bean and hazelnut flavors are blended together and then topped with a raspberry-infused (read: pink!) whipped cream.

The first Frappuccinos debuted in 1995 and were available only in coffee and mocha flavors. Now, the company boasts a history of fancy Fraps: a blue Seattle Seahawks flavor for the 2015 Super Bowl; a bright green Franken Frappuccino for Halloween; and a frozen version of its newest holiday flavor, the tastes-like-a-cup-of-Christmas-carols Chestnut Praline.

Fingers crossed for a happy-hour-appropriate, boozy birthday cake flavor when the Frappuccino turns 21 next year.

This article originally appeared on People.com

MONEY Food & Drink

Starbucks Backtracks on ‘Race Together’ Campaign

Starbucks will no longer add the phrase '#racetogether' on its coffee cups after facing a backlash.

TIME Food & Drink

Starbucks Baristas Will Stop Writing ‘Race Together’ on Your Cups

Starbucks Race Together Cups
Stephen Brashear—Getty Images Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz addresses the "Race Together" program during the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting on March 18, 2015 in Seattle, Wash.

But the controversial diversity and inequality campaign will continue

Starbucks baristas will stop writing “Race Together” on customers’ cups, according to a company memo, ending one of the key components of the coffee chain’s much-criticized campaign to spark discussions about racial inequality.

CEO Howard Schultz said in the memo that the cups were “just the catalyst” for “Race Together,” which launched Wednesday and invited baristas to write the phrase on the cups, the Associated Press reports. Schultz added that the campaign will still continue as planned, with discussion forums and store expansion into minority communities.

The initiative has attracted controversy as a well-intentioned yet ineffective method to generate more conversations about the topic in a bid to influence change in the wake of racially charged events, like the nationwide protests over police brutality and several officer-involved killings of unarmed black Americans.

Schultz defended the campaign last week in light of the criticism, telling shareholders on Wednesday, “All I am asking of you is to understand what we’re trying to do, to understand our intentions. We strongly believe that our best days are ahead of us.”

Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson says the change is not related to the pushback: “Nothing is changing. It’s all part of the cadence of the timeline we originally planned.”

[AP]

TIME Race

What Starbucks Can Learn About Race From Chipotle

Starbucks Race Together Chipotle Author Series
Stephen Brashear—Getty Images Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz addresses the "Race Together Program" during the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting on March 18, 2015 in Seattle, Wash.

Starbucks' #RaceTogether needs Chipotle’s food-for-thought recipe: honest storytelling on cups and bags — and nothing more

“Must a cup, or bag, suffer an existence that is limited to just one humble purpose, defined merely by its simple function?” an obscure philosopher by the name of Chipotle Mexican Grill posted online last May.

The answer to that question, according to the burrito chain, is no. And to prove it, Chipotle decided to bestow its cups and bags with original literary nuggets penned by some of the nation’s most venerated and popular writers. A blockbuster screenwriter, a Nobel laureate, a revered M.D.-Ph.D. journalist, among others, were offered the rare chance to publish on Chipotle’s wrinkly, recycled papers, destined for garbage cans nationwide, but not before passing through millions of hands. This way, the company’s food and drink holders could manage, if only for a moment, to hold the elusive attention of its customers. And apparently, the project is a hit: the project, called the ‘Cultivating Thought’ series, kicked off its second edition in January.

On Wednesday, along came another cultural change campaign from another, but even more ubiquitous chain: Starbucks. The initiative started with a curious new slogan on its coffee cups: #RaceTogether. It was a well-intentioned aimed at inspiring customers to talk about race at the cash register, but the early reviews were grim: it was dubbed a “brew-tally dumb” plan by critics who also called out the CEO’s “chutzpah.” After all, how dare a coffee shop attempt to defuse the nation’s most incendiary issue with coffee cups. As the Atlantic Monthly aptly put it, the implosion of #RaceTogether is evidence of another societal truth: “no effort to grapple with race in America will go unpunished.” (Starbucks said it would stop writing “Race Together” on coffee cups on Sunday, though it said it had always intended to phase out that feature and that it’s only part of the broader campaign.)

But the good news for Starbucks is the solution is clear: Don’t grapple with race, or any other divisive issue by running into it bluntly—instead draw from literature to crack the issues open. In other words, take a cup from Chipotle. With #RaceTogether, Starbucks made a responsibility, an argument, out of the idea of race, and in the process they alienated the two groups of people most capable of tapping into Race Together: Activists fighting racial bias think it’s trivial and ineffective, and their opponents, already sick of the discussion of race, certainly won’t put up with this P.C. invasion of their coffee houses.

But as the writers who’ve been published on Chipotle’s cups have shown us, using literature to tackle the hardest topics–death, love, high school popularity, even race–has always been the best way to engage hearts and minds. With art, it’s possible to probe racial issues, even with explicit racial cues, without setting off a firestorm—so long as it’s not overbearing.

For example, while Race Together often relies on sentimental or melodramatic statements (“It began with one voice”), Dominican-American author Julia Alvarez’s Chipotle quote graces a sensitive cultural divide with distance and brevity:

I miss them, Mami. All those words I had to leave behind. Also, words that in English didn’t carry the same feeling.

In other words, it is possible for any of us, even a coffee store, to raise issues relating to non-white characters—just don’t allow their most important qualities to be non-whiteness. That’s exactly what a handful of writers have expressed repeatedly, and achieved very masterfully. Some of the authors who appear on Chipotle’s cups have long been great examples of this. Amy Tan, whose Joy Luck Club (1989) mediates more on mother-daughter relationships than their being Chinese-American; and Toni Morrison, whose Nobel-winning works prioritizes black Americans to re-imagine her characters as “raceless,” even during peak eras of racism. While there are more to these stories than race, race is also pervasive, driving history, dialogue, thoughts, actions.

It’s this simple, balanced awareness of race that is missing in Race Together, and its failed efforts, often subtle, to understand racial equality and racial awareness—writing “one race: human” here and “races” there—have rendered the initiative opaque and embarrassing.

So Starbucks, instead of simplistic, corporate-sounding slogans like Race Together, why not go right to the heart of the issue with an excerpted passage from Morrison’s most well-known novel, Beloved (1987). Those are words that would invite Starbucks’ customers to ponder, if not discuss where race may be of significance, if at all.

“Lay em down, Sethe. Sword and shield. Down. Down. Both of em down. Down by the riverside. Sword and shield. Don’t study war no more. Lay all that mess down. Sword and shield.” And under the pressing fingers and the quiet instructive voice, she would. Her heavy knives of defense against misery, regret, gall and hurt, she placed one by one on a bank where dear water rushed on below.

Of course, at some point, racial biases or stereotypes—not simply cues—demand to be addressed explicitly. Burrito wrappers and coffee cups may not be enough to tackle the raging online debates that flare up when we hear white Ferguson cop Darren Wilson’s racially-charged descriptions of being afraid of black teen Mike Brown. Or when we digest the furious reaction to Fashion Police’s Giuliana Rancic’s remarks about Zendaya’s dreadlocks, even after she apologized for trading in such odious cultural stereotypes.

Neither Chipotle nor Starbucks have waded into specific racial incidents like those, and perhaps that’s good, but either company could host lighter-hearted, thought-provoking moments pulled from literature. Take, for example, Amy Chua’s controversial parenting memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011). While a viral WSJ article prior to its publication titled (without Chua’s knowledge) “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” turned her book into a national racial debate, Tiger Mother in fact tells the exact opposite story. Chua unravels that very cultural stereotype, in both poignant and funny ways:

“Ben Franklin said, ‘If thou loveth life, never ever EVER wasteth time.’ Thomas Jefferson said, ‘I’m a huge believer in luck, and the harder I work the more I have of it.’ And Alexander Hamilton said, ‘Don’t be a whiner.’ That’s a totally Chinese way of thinking.”

“Mommy, if the Founding Fathers thought that way, then it’s an American way of thinking. Besides, I think you may be misquoting.”

“Look it up.”

There’s one last very important lesson from Chipotle’s cups—if you’re going to talk about race, push the conversation forward. Whereas Starbucks’ Race Together repeats platitudes about the nation’s enduring racial divides, a piece published by New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell’s on Chipotle’s site, questions more broadly what really counts as social acceptance, and what that’s truly worth. Race becomes just one part of the human experience:

You can imagine what I thought, on the way to the barn-raising: How on earth would a group of Old Orders accept us? This is what we always worry about, of course. If people of different colors and creeds are to get along, we think we need to practice approval and agreement and acceptance.

This more relaxed interpretation of race—not about its groups, but how we approach it—could revive Race Together. Like Chipotle’s desire to give its cups and bags a new function, and like Starbucks’ wish to turn its sales registers into ideas exchanges is worth pursuing. Race Together can gain a broader purpose as a vehicle for thinking about people in general. And that requires looking for more carefully crafted ideas than a hashtag.

And those ideas can be found even beyond literature relating to America: take Katherine Boo’s non-fiction work Behind the Beautiful Forevers (2012), for example, which explores a Mumbai under city to investigate social mobility and justice. These are the kinds of ideas that Race Together needs. And what better way to serve them than on cups to-go?

Maybe because of the boiling April sun, he thought about water and ice. Water and ice were made of the same thing. He thought most people were made of the same thing, too… If he had to sort all humanity by its material essence, he thought he would probably end up with a single gigantic pile. But here was the interesting thing. Ice was distinct from—and in his view, better than—what it was made of.

He wanted to be better than what he was made of. In Mumbai’s dirty water, he wanted to be ice. He wanted to have ideals. For self-interested reasons, one of the ideals he most wanted to have was a belief in the possibility of justice.

Read next: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Starbucks’ Flawed But Wonderful Plan To Tackle Race

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Food & Drink

Starbucks Plans to Launch Delivery Service

Empire State Building Run
Mark Lennihan—AP The Empire State Building and the Manhattan skyline on Oct. 5, 2014.

Work in the Empire State Building? Then you're in luck

Starbucks says it plans to launch trials of a delivery service in the second half of 2015 — but only if you live in Seattle, or work in New York City’s Empire State Building.

Sometime within the year, Starbucks will start two different delivery trials, the Seattle Times reports. The version in New York City will be limited exclusively to within the Empire State Building. The company will have employees from the Starbucks located in the building deliver beverages and food to customers who work there.

In Seattle, the company will be following a more traditional delivery approach, using on-demand delivery startup Postmates to deliver coffee, pastries and other sundries via car and bicycle.

People in these two catchment areas can use the Starbucks app to follow the status of their drink. To use the app, customers have to be a member of the company’s loyalty program.

[The Seattle Times]

Read next: Starbucks ‘Race Together’ Initiative Is Brilliant

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TIME Companies

Starbucks to Serve Your Coffee With a Side of Race Relations Chat

Starbucks Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz takes on arguably the most polarizing political debate in the United States: race relations

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has never shied away from involving his company in controversial debates, whether those debates are about same-sex marriage, or gun control, or U.S. government gridlock.

But the executive, who oversees a coffee empire with 4,700 U.S. stores, has now taken on arguably the most polarizing political debate in the United States: race relations.

Starbucks published a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday — a stark, black, page with a tiny caption “Shall We Overcome?” in the middle, and the words “RaceTogether” with the company logo, on the bottom right. The ad, along with a similar one on Monday in USA Today, is part of an initiative launched this week by the coffee store chain to stimulate conversation and debate about the race in America by getting employees to engage with customers about the perennially hot button subject.

Beginning on Monday, Starbucks baristas will have the option as they serve customers to hand cups on which they’ve handwritten the words “Race Together” and start a discussion about race. This Friday, each copy of USA Today — which has a daily print circulation of almost 2 million and is a partner of Starbucks in this initiative — will have the first of a series of insert with information about race relations, including a variety of perspectives on race. Starbucks coffee shops will also stock the insert.

In a video addressing Starbucks’ nearly 200,000 workers, 40% of whom are members of a racial minority, Schultz dismissed the notion that race was too hot a topic business-wise for Starbucks to tackle.

“I reject that. I reject that completely,” he said in the video address. “It’s an emotional issue. But it is so vitally important to the country,” he continued, pointing to that the United States is “so much better” than what the current state of race relations portray it to be.

The initiative follows several months of consultations with employees that started in December, in part as a result of protests that roiled several U.S. cities after grand juries declined to indict white police officers in the killings of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., near St. Louis, and 43-year-old Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y.

Schultz has met with almost 2,000 Starbucks employees since then in cities hit most directly by racial tension and anti-police brutality protests in the last year, including Oakland, St. Louis, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Seattle, where Starbucks is based. Cognizant of what a powder keg the issue of race is, Starbucks says its baristas will be under no obligation to engage with customers on the topic. The goal is simply to foster discussion and an exchange of ideas.

The potential exists for arguments to break out (not for nothing this topic is the third rail of U.S. politics), and some may fairly question any move that could potentially slow in-store service. But Schultz has never been a wallflower when it comes to political debates and social activism. In 2013, he led a petition-based push urging Washington politicians to end the federal government shutdown. That year, he also wrote an open letter asking gun owners to refrain from bringing their guns into stores even they were allowed. Two years earlier, Starbucks launched a fund, fueled by the sale of $5 bracelets, to spur U.S. job creation. The company has also pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses over a five-year period.

And he has also not been shy to slam critics of Starbucks’ or his political stances, including shareholders. Two years ago, after an investor at its annual shareholder meeting said the company’s support for a marriage equality bill in Washington state had hurt sales after a boycott by an advocacy group, Schultz invited him to sell his Starbucks shares if he felt he could find another stock with as a high a return rate.

Schulz will discuss Starbucks’ “Race Together” initiative at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

Read next: The SAE Scandal Is Another Example of Plummeting Tolerance for Bigots

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MONEY groceries

Here’s How Much You’d Save by Dumping K-Cups for Traditional Brewed Coffee

150305_EM_KCup_1
Shutterstock / Rob Hainer

The inventor of K-Cups says he regrets coming up with the idea and doesn't even own a K-Cup machine.

This week, the Atlantic ran a story in which John Sylvan, inventor of the K-Cup—the single-serve coffee pods that are increasingly taking over home and office counter space—dropped a bombshell. “I don’t have one. They’re kind of expensive to use,” Sylvan said of the K-Cup system he created. “Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.”

This isn’t exactly like Henry Ford saying that he prefers bicycles to cars, or Steve Jobs praising the cost-effectiveness of a rotary phone over an iPhone, but it’s sorta in the same ballpark.

Sylvan acknowledged that he feels “bad sometimes” about creating the K-Cup, which he likened to “a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance.” Also, the proliferation of coffee pods—which are mostly unrecyclable, and which take up more and more space in landfills thanks to America’s ever-growing love affair with coffee—have raised serious environmental concerns as they’ve increased in popularity. Quartz declared them “the most wasteful form of coffee” on the planet.

For now, though, let’s focus strictly on the household economics of single-pod coffee brewers. To what degree are they “kind of expensive” compared with regular coffee makers?

First, there’s the cost of the machine. Recently, marketing professor Eric Anderson at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management noted that in 2002, the average coffee maker cost $35. Today it’s still easy to find a basic coffee maker for that price, or even $20 or $25. By 2013, however, the average coffee maker purchase price hit around $90, partly due to the spread of pricey single-pod brewers from Keurig (the K in K-Cups), Nespresso, and others. At Bed Bath and Beyond, the least expensive Keurig coffee maker is $100, which seems fairly typical.

But that’s only a small factor in how much more K-Cups cost compared with brewing traditional drip coffee. The Atlantic story estimates that the tiny amount of coffee used in each K-Cup winds up costing the equivalent of $40 per pound. That’s easily three times the price of a pound of ground or whole bean Starbucks coffee.

How much more money, then, does a household spend by using K-Cups? The answer depends on several factors, including how much coffee you drink and what kind, and how carefully you shop for deals on coffee makers and the coffee itself. Over the years, various penny-pinching individuals have done the math on the subject, and the breakdown usually shows that K-Cups cost two or three times more per cup compared with traditionally brewed coffee.

One fairly typical analysis, comparing Caribou brand K-Cups versus ground coffee, showed that the per-cup cost was 66¢ versus 28¢, respectively. If you make three cups a day, 365 days a year, that adds up to around $723 spent on K-Cups, versus $307 for regular coffee brewers. So you’d easily save $400 a year by going the old-fashioned route—which, again, Sylvan points out accurately, ain’t exactly hard to handle.

For an idea of how much your household specifically would save—or, on the flip side, how much you’re paying for the convenience of K-Cups—check out the coffee maker calculator one economist created a couple years back. Enter a few data points into the Excel calculator, including how many cups of coffee you brew per week, the cost of coffee machines you’re considering, how much you typically spend on coffee, and even how much of the coffee pot you usually wind up pouring down the drain, and it’ll spit out the per-cup price breakdowns. We entered several different scenarios, and K-Cups were at least twice as expensive in all cases.

If the majority of your coffee does come brewed via K-Cup, at least you can take solace in the fact that you’re not hitting Starbucks or another coffee shop several times a day. Compared to that, your K-Cup habit will seem downright cheap.

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