Some coffee connoisseurs will scoff at serving coffee any other way but black, but the alternative — white coffee — is known and enjoyed around the globe. And I’m not just talking about coffee whitened the American way, with milk, cream or non-dairy substitute.
The term “white coffee” was introduced in 19th-century China, and refers to regular coffee beans roasted in a certain type of heat, resulting in pale, yellowish-brown coffee beans. In Malaysia, “white coffee” is a specific beverage made from coffee beans roasted in margarine, then brewed and served with sweetened condensed milk. (The flavor is frequently described as nut-like.) In Yemen, white coffee refers to the ground shell of coffee beans, which have a whitish tinge. These coffee beans are brewed just like regular coffee, but spices are added. Or, the beans may be steeped in water, similar to steeping tea leaves, and then brewed, to create a whitish, tea-like drink.
For a variation on “nutty” white coffee, try the spiced white coffee recipe. And for a taste of Malaysia’s favorite drink, try the Ipoh Ice Blended White Coffee, named for Ipoh, the capital city of Perak state. Texture is key for this coffee. The ice should be perfectly incorporated into the white coffee mixture so that the consistency is similar to that of a certain national coffee chain’s trademark icy, dessert-like beverage.
Spiced White Coffee
3 cups whole milk
1 cup whole coffee beans, lightly cracked then crushed
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks (approximately 3 inches long)
4 wholes green cardamom pods
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
1.Place the milk and crushed coffee beans in a saucepan. Heat the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 7 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and let the beans steep in the milk for 15 minutes.
2. Strain the coffee mixture and transfer to the jar of a blender. Discard the crushed coffee beans.
3.Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and honey to the steeped milk and blend on high speed until the spices are coarsely ground, about 30 seconds.
4.Strain the liquid back into the saucepan and discard the ground spices. Rewarm the spiced coffee over medium-high heat until the liquid is hot and steaming. Add dark rum, if desired. Pour into warmed coffee mugs, and serve hot.
Tip: Use a heavy-bottomed skillet to crack coffee beans and spices. Place in a sealable plastic bag before crushing.
Ipoh Ice Blended White Coffee
1 sachet of white coffee (available at Asian stores)
3/4 cup whole milk (full-cream milk)
1 cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon sugar
1. Combine the above ingredients in a blender. Be sure not to blend the mixture for too long, or you will end up with an iced white coffee.
2. Pour the mixture into a glass, add whipped cream, and drizzle with chocolate syrup. For additional flavor, hazelnut or chocolate sprinkles may be added.
3. Tip: To avoid an over-blended, liquidy mess, blend the mixture until you see the ice cubes starting to move around, and stop a few seconds later. Blend for a few additional seconds if need be.