Intro: Coffee Nirvana (or the 4 Layer Pousse Cafe')
I've been experimenting with flavored coffee for decades and always come back to this set of ingredients. If you would like to taste what I love and have your friends stop by more often, read on:
Step 1: What You'll Need:
As far as equipment goes, you don't "need" anything more than a plain coffee pot, but if you have the equipment to steam milk, it will add another layer of texture and flavor to your brew and make your presentation better as well.
There are also a couple of ways to make it. I'll split the choices into "Option A" and "Option B".
Option A: This option tastes a lot better, is somewhat more difficult to find ingredients for, is more expensive and a tiny bit more work to make.
You need: A good quality chocolate syrup. I use "u-bet", which, in the South where I live, is nearly impossible to find. If you live in the New York area, you'll find it everywhere. If you can't find it, talk to your grocer and you should be able to have it delivered. U-bet is sweeter than all other brands, makes killer egg creams and for me, the only way to go. You'll also need malt. I use Carnation Malted Milk mix.
Going with "Option B" makes it both inexpensive and easy to make, but to my taste, not as wonderful.
You need: Ovaltine... It has both chocolate and malt mixed together. Not nearly as tasty as Option A, but not too shabby either. I use both, depending on my mood, how lazy I am at the moment and if there's u-bet in the cupboard or not.
For both options, a plastic squeeze bottle. The kind you find at the supermarket for catsup and mustard.
Salt... If your coffee is fresh, you won't need this, but more on that later.
Step 2: 'Makin It
Before you fill your favorite cup to the brim with coffee, add your ingredients to your cup. The amount you use is up to you, but I use a serious amount of malt and a good amount of chocolate. I have a sweet tooth, but just remember, experimenting is fun.
Now make your coffee as you normally do. If you use a cappuccino machine, you may want to make the coffee in a smaller container that fits under the pod and then pour the coffee into a regular size cup where your malt and chocolate are.
As soon as you add the coffee, stir. Malt has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the cup in a gooey mass, so make sure you scrape the bottom and edges well to get all of it into solution.
If you like your coffee black, you're done. The flavor of the malt is what gives the chocolate coffee a unique and spectacular flavor.
If you have the ability to steam milk, you can add an additional flavor and impress your guests at the same time with an incredible Pousse Cafe':
1. Add the malt as in step 1 and stir the coffee well to mix it all in.
2. Pour the frothed milk on top of the stirred coffee.
3. Now add a decent amount of chocolate. The chocolate is more dense than the froth and coffee, so it will sink directly to the bottom.
4. Mix the chocolate into the lower portion of coffee by gently stirring it with a spoon, maybe 2 or 3 gentile circles. The idea is to get most of it off the bottom of the cup, but not lift it too far up into the coffee/malt mix.
5. Fill a plastic ketchup or mustard squeeze bottle with u-bet chocolate syrup (I thicken mine using powdered cocoa).
6. Draw pretty pictures on top of the foam... I messed this one up, trying to photograph and squeeze at the same time, but you get the idea:)
Your guests will taste the sweet chocolate on top, the semi sweet foamed milk, then the malted coffee. As they drink more, the coffee will begin to take on a chocolate flavor as the cup empties. Finally, as they finish, the drink will taste more and more like rich hot chocolate... Mmmmm... 4-layered Pousse Cafe'!
I guarantee, if you serve this, your reputation as a barista supreme will be made.
Step 3: Now, What Did I Forget?
Oh yea... Many of you already know this... Salt.
If your coffee is bitter, add a speck of salt to it. Some people say that bitterness is acid and salt is a base so it neutralizes it, but chemists will probably disagree with that. It may have something to do with our taste buds' ability to discern bitter and salty flavors. At any rate, adding salt to bad coffee can do wonders.
Don't overdo it. The amount I have in my hand is more than enough to sweeten a huge cup of horrendously bitter coffee. If you want to experiment, make yourself some coffee, taste it, add a few specks of salt and taste again. You'll be amazed, guaranteed.