May 25, 2020

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Ice + cold brew + milk + condensed milk.

It doesn’t get much easier than that.

It is supposed to get blazingly hot the next two days here, and I’m ready and prepped with my cold brew to make my favorite Vietnamese iced coffee. Once you have your cold brew ready, it’s just a matter of dumping ingredients together and shaking them up until it’s got a wonderful layer of frothy goodness ready for sipping (or gulping!). It is so, so good, and if you have never tried making it, this is as good a time as any!

If cold brew sounds very fancy to you, just think of it like this: Tea is usually leaves steeped in hot water for a few minutes. Cold brew is simply ground coffee steeped in tepid water for a few hours. And then it lasts in your fridge for like a month. I like to use ground coffee from Cafe Bustelo to make a big batch:

I’ve actually shared this recipe before, and in the last five years I have found no way to improve upon it, so please check out the original recipe to get more frothy details! What I really want to talk about here today is my mason jar setup. Specifically, my mason jar lids:

I have wanted to share about my mason jar lids for a long time now, but it always seems like a really silly thing to write about: “Guys, I have plastic lids for my big mason jars and they makes me SO HAPPY.”

But that’s the truth of it. I have reached that part of life where I have a favorite baking spatula and favorite cooking turner. When I discovered that the lid from my cast iron pot fit perfectly over my cast iron frying pan, I was absolutely elated. I might have done a little happy dance. A good pair of kitchen shears that come apart nicely for the dishwasher brings me great satisfaction, and I have never been more pleased to own reusable straws. It’s the little things, guys.

Which brings me to these plastic lids. I have a set of wide-mouth mason jars that I use all the time (why are they 10x the price on Amazon?!), and a set of plastic wide-mouth lids that I pair them with. Together, they live in my tupperware drawer, and get just as much use as my expensive Snapware does. I use them to store leftover soup, shake up milk tea, shake up iced coffee, make overnight oats, store watermelon juice, etc. They’re also handy for storing dried goods in the pantry, like leftover dried pasta or those last few handfuls of pretzels or Cheez-its.

Sure, you could use the metal canning lids that come with them, but there are two reasons I don’t prefer them: 1) They come apart, 2) They rust and dent easily. The two-piece lids that come with many canning jars are meant for one-time use and I read that the rubber seal can be compromised over time if put in the dishwasher. I also have several rings that are missing lids, and I just don’t need that kind of incompleteness in my life. When they get dented or rust, then I have entire jars without a matching lid! It’s maddening. So when I found out you could get plastic lids, it was a game changer.

They are so convenient. They twist on easily and clean easily. They don’t rust. They spark joy for me. And I just wanted to share that with you :). I’ve used them for years, and have been using them several times a day lately with everybody home all the time. Ben and I have regularly been indulging in homemade milk tea and iced coffee and I love pretending I’m shaking up drinks in a cafe and serving refreshing drinks to my favorite customer!

Also just curious: Even if mason jar lids aren’t your “jam” (hehe), is there some small, seemingly insignificant thing in your life that sparks joy for you? A smooth pen, perfect notebook, or favorite guitar pick? Please share, I would love to learn about it!

2 responses to “Cold Brew Vietnamese Iced Coffee and The Essential Tools”

  1. Rosanne says:

    After those two blazingly hot days, I was hankering for some ice-cold caffeinated drink—this post was so timely!! I didn’t have cold brew on hand so I just made some strong coffee and waited for it to cool down before adding the rest of the ingredients. SO GOOD!!! I’m going to remember your ratios from now on, and try making the cold brew tonight! (also used a splash of half-and-half today and it was great)

    Good tip also on the mason jar lids—I’ve been using a ton of mason jars during SIP, and realized we had fewer lids than jars anyway, so I think I might be trying those plastic lids out 🙂

    • joellen says:

      OOOOh yes so glad you liked it!! Post a pic! 😀 And yes, the plastic lids are seriously one of the small things that bring a lot of satisfaction ahha :)!