Friday, August 13, 2010
Blue Bottle Buzz
Coffee is the only thing I like about mornings. Bad coffee gets the job done. Good coffee is an added bonus. For an amazing coffee, I'll get up at the crack of dawn and wait in a block-long line. And that's what I do every Saturday morning at the Blue Bottle kiosk in the Ferry Plaza. Based in Oakland, the company roasts organic coffee on vintage gear, puts it in compostable bags and gets the beans to their customers within 48 hours. Each cup is dripped meticulously leaving you with the most aromatic and flavourful java to satiate your addiction. But how would Blue Bottle translate into ice cream?
Following another David Levobitz recipe, I heated the coffee beans with the milk and let it stand for 20 minutes. Then I strained the mixture into a bowl of cream, pressing firmly on the beans to extract as much coffee as possible. At this point, I was skeptical of how this would turn out as the flavour seemed weak and the colour looked more like vanilla than coffee. I also wondered if it was worth the expensive bag of Blue Bottle or if regular Safeway coffee beans would suffice.
The result was quite satisfying and I could detect the distinct Blue Bottle taste, especially being so familiar with their coffee. (Although I probably won't use Blue Bottle again for economic reasons. If I'm paying $24 for beans I'd rather have the bag last longer and enjoy it as coffee). As an egg-based ice cream, it was creamy but not as much as I expected. In fact, several days later, the texture had gone a bit icy and dry. (If you look carefully, you can see it in the pictures). Hmm...there goes my previous theory that heating the milk without the cream makes it creamier.
I brought some ice cream over to my neighbour, who happened to have a container of coffee Haagen Daz in his freezer and we did an impromptu taste test. To my surprise, we both thought my Blue Bottle was way better and the Haagen Daz tasted bland in comparison. Wow! I always held Haagen Daz to high standards but it must be the difference between good and bad beans and homemade versus store bought! Now if only my neighbour would post a testimonial...