Coffee Drinks from Around the World: Making Drinks with Green-Bean Extract

Green-bean extract doesnt taste good on its own, but people were drinking it for centuries before they figured out how to roast coffee. Here, we give you updated recipes to enjoy the caffeinated beverage.

BY CHRIS KORNMAN & SANDRA ELISA LOOFBOUROW
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE 

This is Part II of a two-part series on green coffee extract—check out the history of green-coffee drinks here in Part I. 

Green-bean extract does not taste good. A mix between soggy burlap, old peas, and herby chamomile, it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t really need to be tasted more than once. That people had the determination to get caffeinated before roasting became common practice is frankly impressive. When presented with the challenge of crafting a beverage that tasted delicious, but that used green-bean extract as its base, I wasn’t totally sure it was possible.

As baristas, it can be tempting to rely on the simplicity of just one or two main ingredients for crafting delicious drinks. Luckily, there are other industries just as dedicated to deliciousness with a much wider range of ingredients. Taking cues from bartenders and chefs, I reviewed my arsenal: bringing balance to this earthy drink would certainly require adding acidity and sweetness. The musty intensity and bitterness of the extract would benefit from dilution, and carbonated water would add effervescence and a more interesting mouthfeel.

Even with these ingredients in mind, there was still a mid note missing—one that could fill the gap between the base notes of the muddy extract and the high notes of whatever acidic and sweet components were added. The solution? Ginger beer! This product filled that space perfectly, rounding out the beverage with mild spiciness, and an earthiness that complemented and improved on the muddy quality of the extract while playing well with whatever other ingredients were included in the recipe. Through multiple iterations of this drink, I found that ginger beer was the best solution for bringing true balance.

Here are two recipes for an iced-tea-style drink that made green-bean extract not only palatable, but delicious. Both use the recipe for green-bean extract listed below as their base. Don’t forget that the extract is highly caffeinated, and should be imbibed with restraint if not caution.

Green-Bean Extract:

Rinse coffee beans thoroughly before steeping. Boiling the beans more aggressively or for a longer time will yield a more concentrated brew.

Ingredients:

  • 100g green coffee
  • 300g water

Bring water to a simmer. Add green beans and stir occasionally. After 10 minutes, strain coffee beans out and let the freshly brewed extract cool.  

Green-bean extract is best consumed within 24 hours, but will keep in the fridge for a few days. As always, if there is a drastic change in color or opacity, it’s best to discard the liquid.

Spiced Ginger Cooler with a Caffeinated Kick:

This drink is cool and refreshing, and the spiced simple syrup and demerara sugar add a layer of complexity to an otherwise simple iced tea.

Ingredients:

  • 120g green-bean extract
  • 120g ginger beer
  • 60g spiced simple syrup
  • 420g sparkling water

Mix all the ingredients together and add ice or chill. The flavor of the green-bean extract should be distinctly present, but not overwhelming; getting the right ratio down might require some fine-tuning.  

Spiced Simple Syrup:

  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 5g cardamom seeds
  • 5g star anise
  • 5g cloves
  • 200g filtered water

Bring water to a boil, and add sugar and spices. Cook for 15 minutes, or until sugar has completely dissolved and the spices have fully infused. Strain the spices out and allow the syrup to cool. Kept in the fridge, this can last for four to six weeks.

Makrut Tamarind Tonic:

Tart tamarind can be a great counterpoint to the green-bean extract, and syrup flavored with the unique acidity of  makrut lime leaves (sometimes known as k-lime, previously known under the slur kaffir) creates a fresh, rejuvenating (and again, highly caffeinated) cooling beverage.

Ingredients:

  • 100g green-bean extract
  • 20g tamarind juice
  • 20g makrut lime simple syrup
  • 40g ginger beer
  • 200g sparkling water
  • 5 drops Angostura bitters (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and add ice or chill. The flavor of the green-bean extract should be distinctly present, but not overwhelming; getting the right ratio down might require some fine-tuning.  

Tamarind Juice:

  • 200g tamarind paste
  • 100g white sugar
  • 600g filtered water

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and tamarind paste. Use a wooden spoon to break up the block of tamarind paste until it has dissolved completely into the water. Simmer 15 minutes, then strain the juice into a clean container, leaving the tamarind pods and most of the meat behind. Straining more than once can help remove more of the meat, but it isn’t strictly necessary. The juice will separate slightly, and needs to be shaken to reincorporate the solids before use. Will last in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Makrut Lime Simple Syrup:

  • 5g makrut lime leaves
  • 5g coriander seeds
  • 5g cardamom seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 100g white sugar
  • 100g water

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and spices. Let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lime leaves are cooked through. Strain syrup into a clean container. Will keep in the fridge for four to six weeks.

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