Chicory is a root that has been roasted, brewed and used as an inexpensive coffee substitute for many, many years, but the most notable modern example of chicory use is in the coffee and chicory blend that is a staple for many New Orleans residents and Mardi Gras-goers every year. It’s a unique drink that becomes addictive once you’ve aquired a taste for it – and it is something that can be hard to find outside of New Orleans – especially if you want to make yours with high quality, freshly roasted chicory (just like your coffee beans!). Blue Bottle Coffee offers a New Orleans Iced Kit that will allow you to make your own delicious New Orleans-style coffee and chicory coffee blend at home. The kit includes their signature recipe, a pound of Blue Bottle’s New Orleans coffee blend and an envelope of pre-measured, roasted French chicory that is scaled for one pound of coffee. You will need to add your own milk, sugar, and ice to finish the recipe and complete your drink. BB recommends whole milk and organic sugar, which is what they use to make the drink themselves. It’s a taste of New Orleans (or at least, a taste of New Orleans via the SF Bay Area!) at home.
It has been a little while since I’ve featured a new Starbucks Reserve coffee, and that is largely because I’ve been stuck in a Sumatra rut for a while. The Starbucks in my area seemed to have a lot more Aged Sumatra than in some past years, and it is so good when brewed in the Clover that I’ve found it difficult to resist when it is on the menu. It finally got phased out but, luckily enough for me, a new Sumatra coffee almost immediately took its place, Blue Batak.
The coffee is produced at high elevations by farmers from the indigenous Batak Tribe in Sumatra. The coffee is wet hulled after it is picked – a process unique to the area where the parchment (thin skin surrounding the beans) is removed before the beans have been dried, and the drying process is finished without the parchment. Most coffee is dried with the parchment in place and it comes off naturally or is removed as the coffee is further processed. This process gives the beans a unique flavor and a distinctive blue hue. Don’t open a bag and expect to see the color there, however. That blue color is in the raw coffee beans and by the time they are dried and roasted, they look a lot like other coffee beans. You can still taste their uniqueness when you brew them, however, and I’ve been told that this makes the coffee a bit polarizing for Sumatra fans.
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Coffee and donuts are a match made in heaven, whether you actually dunk your donuts in your coffee or simply enjoy them side-by-side. One alternative to this pairing is to go straight for a product that combines the two, and Krispy Kreme has launched two coffee-flavored donuts that they’re hoping will deliver the best of both worlds. The two flavors are Mocha Kreme and Caramel Coffee Kreme. The Mocha is a filled donut stuffed with a chocolate and coffee flavored cream and glazed with milk and chocolate icings. The Caramel donut is a regular donut topped with a caramel and coffee icing, a mocha drizzle and served with a large dollop of “coffee Kreme” on top. They both look like something that you need a big sweet tooth to get through, so they might be a better choice for a dessert donut than a breakfast one, even with all that coffee.
The donuts will be available through the end of March at all locations. And you’ll still be able to get their classic, best-when-they-are-still-warm glazed donuts and a regular cup of coffee to go if you’re a traditionalist.
A tiramisu is a popular Italian dessert made with ladyfingers soaked in espresso and layered together with rich cream. It’s known as a “pick me up” because of all the coffee that is used in the recipe, though it never hurts to get a little bit more coffee into the picture. I recently picked up a container of Breyer’s Tiramisu Gelato, which is new flavor from the ice cream maker. It definitely captures that coffee and cream tiramisu flavor, but it also has pieces of ladyfingers in it to give it a little texture and to really tie it in with traditional tiramisu. I decided that this gelato was a great candidate for one of my favorite coffee desserts, the affogato.
I simply placed a scoop of the gelato into a small dish, dusted it with cocoa powder and poured a shot of hot espresso over the top. I added the cocoa powder because tiramisus are traditionally finished with a dusting of cocoa powder, and you’ll get a nice chocolate aroma when you pour the espresso over it. When I took a taste, I still got the cream flavor from the ice cream, but the coffee stood out even more. Those pieces of ladyfingers also kept their texture while soaking up espresso and melted ice cream, for a dessert that tasted rich and like it took a lot more time to make than it really did!
You can get a similar effect by using half a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato and half a scoop of coffee if you don’t have or can’t find the tiramisu gelato, though that is the way to go if you have it in your local market. I highly recommend picking up some ladyfingers to serve alongside your affogato, since extra ladyfingers are perfect for soaking up the affogato as it melts.