Sea salt iced coffee. It's a thing, did you know? You have to remember first of all, that different cultures have a different take on flavors. Some coffee purists prefer Starbucks over any coffee shop in town, and some don't even dare go near the bean if it hasn't been graced by the Midas touch of the Intelligentsia roasters. I, however, have a tendency to change the things that are already perfect. The saying "don't fix it if it ain't broke" hardly applies to me because it kills me to not know the possibilities that are available in the world of food!
It probably doesn't come as a surprise that most of us Asians have a knack for "destroying" familiar flavors and well established traditions here in the States. In our defense though, sometimes we end up changing things for the better like introducing this magical drink dubbed the sea salt cream iced coffee! But other times as in the case of sweet potato filled crust pizza, well let's just say...wait, I take that back. That's a masterpiece in itself too. Case in point that we have a lot to offer in the culinary world. I say "we" loosely because the true mastermind behind sea salt iced coffee is none other than Mr. Hsueh himself, the founder of 85 Degrees Bakery & Cafe. I just like to include myself in there because it sounds cool. :)
Perhaps those of you who are partial to sweet & savory flavors are intrigued by this combination, and with good reason. This iced coffee is unlike any other I've ever tasted. At first sip it is a little strange I admit. It's salty but ever so slightly. It's also so incredibly creamy that you just need to make yourself a cream mustache, and the tinge of sweetness is perfect for those of us who can't take more than a sip or two from a sweet drink.
There's a reason why this concoction is known as the Asian Starbucks coffee, and to prove how addicted I am to it despite my love for a simple cup of java, I literally burst into happy clappy cheer that sounded something like weeee yayyyyyy!!! when I realized that a 7 Leaves drive-thru just opened next door to my sister's house. (FYI: happy clappy cheer is literally the norm thanks to our toddler Selah, hah!) I say, first give the true baristas a chance at making you a nice sea salt iced coffee, and then make it yourself when you get desperate for a quick fix.
I made sure to keep this recipe easy and culture friendly for everyone reading it. No need for fancy and mysterious ingredients here. Although I'm not 100% certain how these businesses make them, let's just say that this recipe comes extremely (or pretty) close to the real stuff. To keep it simple I suggest brewing really strong coffee and having it ready 20 minutes prior to following the steps. This way the coffee cools down and you won't need as much ice, which will in turn keep your brew strong and not watered down. I suggest using good quality whipping cream for the best flavor and keeping the cream mixture refrigerated for at least 20 minutes. I hope you give this a try soon (at your own risk)! :)
Taiwanese Sea Salt Iced Coffee
Makes 2 large drinks
8 tbsp ground coffee***
32 oz filtered water***
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp milk of choice
1/2 tsp sea salt
handful of ice
little bit of cocoa powder (optional)
***For the coffee, you can alter the coffee grounds as well as the boldness according to your preference. If using a Keurig coffeemaker, brew about 3-4 coffee pods with the same amount of water written on the ingredient list.
First brew your coffee and add sugar, then pour into a jug, container, or really thick glasses that are resistant to the effects of temperature change so it doesn't crack in the fridge. You can also use the freezer. Make sure to keep the coffee in the freezer for about 20 minutes and longer if using the fridge. While cooling, mix the cream, milk, and sea salt on high speed in a blender until thick and almost like frosting. Refrigerate while the coffee is cooling down.
When ready, pour coffee into two large glasses filled with ice, top with sea salt cream, and dust with cocoa powder or espresso if desired. Enjoy!
What do you think of sea salt iced coffee? Have you tried/would you try it?
Most unique or fascinating drink you've had?