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When I got a tip that the new Brooklyn coffee roaster Supercrown Coffee was serving a drink called the Laura Palmer, and it was a mix of lemonade and iced coffee, I can't say that I was immediately swept up in excitement. You don't go throwing around a Twin Peaks reference for just anything. Also, let me be clear: I'm not above a smart pop culture reference, just cautious.
But I was intrigued. So I called on Darleen Scherer, founder and CEO of Supercrown, to give me the lowdown. (You might know Darleen for a different bag of New York coffee beans: she also founded Gorilla Coffee back in 2002.) As she was putting together her thoughts for some iced coffee drinks for warmer months, Darleen immediately recalled a visit to Sweden last summer, where she happened upon a coffee roaster making "Kaffelemonad," a 2:1 mix of iced coffee and lemonade.
"The flavors work really well together," Darleen explains. "It's super refreshing, and a little bit like a shandy."
I asked our video guru Gabriella, who lives nearby, to report back after trying one for herself. The verdict? A bit of a journey on the first try, and something wholly new, a little weird, a lot interesting, and definitely refreshing. The lemon flavor comes on strong at first, but then settles into something almost caramel-like—rich but not like a liqueur, and a little sweet and fruity because of the style of coffee.
"A lot of coffees have lemon or citrus notes in them, so [those flavors are] not so far-fetched," Darleen says. The mixture is not so foreign of a concept, either, if you think of another popular summertime staple: the black tea-and-lemonade Arnold Palmer. Hence Supercrown's inspiration for the name of their new drink: They like to think it's just a stronger, more badass version of the Arnold Palmer. I'd agree, and not just because I'm more of a David Lynch fan than a links buff.
Here are some of her tips on how to achieve this iced coffee technique, and a perfect Laura Palmer, at home.
1) The key to the drink is the coffee used and the way it's brewed. So first, choose a coffee that will complement lemonade. Supercrown uses a fruity, sweet Peruvian blend for their Laura Palmer, and Darleen says you'll want to stay away from dark roasts that might produce an ashy, extra roasty flavor when mixed with lemonade.
2) Once you've chosen your coffee, prepare it using the Japanese-method. Darleen and her baristas brew iced coffee using the Japanese method—put plainly, it's double strong and brewed right over ice so the coffee doesn't get watered down. While cold brew mutes brightness and flavor, the Japanese method brings out these characteristics in delicate coffees, says Darleen.
Preparing pour-over coffee is the easiest way to replicate this at home, and it's the best way to end up with full-bodied, flavorful iced coffee. Lucky for us, Darleen shared exactly how she'd prepare 12 ounces of iced coffee so you don't have to guess:
- Weigh out 6 ounces of ice and add to your pitcher or Chemex.
- Measure out 24 grams of coffee and grind it to medium (it'll look like table salt).
- Brew the coffee using 6 ounces of water (so that you'll have 12 ounces of coffee total), making sure the double-concentrated coffee pours directly onto the ice. This will produce a beautifully extracted and nuanced cup of iced coffee!
3) Make homemade lemonade. Darleen's recipe is very simple. In a one-gallon container, mix 2 cups sugar and 1 cup hot water until the sugar dissolves. Add 2 cups of lemon juice and enough cold water to render 1 gallon. Stir until well mixed.
4) Layer it up. Mix up two parts concentrated iced coffee, one part lemonade, and serve over ice with a slice of lemon.
Then put this Twin Peaks-inspired playlist on and shimmy around the living room like you're at the Roadhouse while you sip on your new warm weather go-to drink. Because wouldn't you rather be a Laura than an Arnold?