When I hear a name like “smooth and mellow” my first thought is that a coffee will be boring and flat. This is largely because so many brands of caffeinated drinks – including coffee – try to make their blends sound energizing with words like “buzz,” “jump,” etc., as well as with words about the strength/darkness of the roast. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s Smooth and Mellow Blend succeeds in being a good blend of medium-roasted beans that is neither boring, nor flat. The thing that is really nice about this coffee is that it is smooth and mellow – medium to low acidity with a smooth finish. It has notes of cinnamon and (strange as it may sound) toast, as well as a mild hint at a nutty flavor. It is not the most dynamic coffee I’ve ever tasted, but it is very drinkable and is the kind of blend that pretty much everyone can enjoy.
It’s easy to put fresh fruit into cold, blended coffee drinks. Bananas and other fruits simply blend up into the drink as they would in a milkshake. It’s harder to get fruit flavors into hot drinks, however, as pureed fruit doesn’t combined well with hot coffee. Generally, you have to use pre-made, sugar-based syrups to get the effect.
This raspberry latte uses fresh raspberries, incorporating them into the drink in the same manner that they are incorporated into some cocktails. The raspberries are muddled (mashed) with some sugar at the bottom of a coffee cup to release their juices. A shot of hot espresso – or some hot coffee – is poured in on top of the raspberries, dissolving the sugar, and topped with steamed milk. I finished mine with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
The drink was delicious, and the fruitiness was subtle, unlike the fruitiness of drinks made with thick, fruit syrups. The raspberry went pretty well with the coffee and made the drink taste very fresh and perfect for spring.
Maraschino cherries and coffee aren’t elements that are put together all that often, but make a surprisingly good combination when they do come together – especially when chocolate is involved. This Black Forest Coffee is inspired by black forest cake, a cake with dark chocolate layers, and loads of whipped cream and maraschino cherries. This is a little simpler and a little less rich, while still incorporating the same flavor elements.
The coffee is slightly sweet with a hint of cherry flavor. My recipe here doesn’t include milk, but you could certainly add some in to make the base more like a mocha latte than just chocolate+coffee. My favorite part is the whipped cream with the cherry on top. No harm in finishing that part off, adding another layer of whip and another cherry, and calling it dessert, right?
Adding coffee or espresso to a recipe can infuse some coffee flavor, but it tends to be on the mild side unless the recipe can accommodate a lot of it, as Mocha Pudding Cake can. I find that it’s often better to use coffee extract, instant coffee or other coffee-flavored things, like Cappuccino chips. The chips are made by Guittard and have a distinctly milky coffee taste to them. They’re not too sweet, even though they’re made of white chocolate, and add a nice extra boost of flavor to a recipe.
These chocolate chip cookies have real coffee in the dough, as well as cappuccino chips, chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. They’re delicious when they’re still warm, served with milk or coffee, and have a nice chewiness to them even after they’ve cooled. Espresso can be substituted for the coffee, as well.