It’s Sunday evening and I’m enjoying a cup of Malaysian Aik Cheong brand Kopi-O (black coffee). I found a few bags stashed away in our boxes of household items that came by ship from Singapore. My coffee palette has expanded in the last few years thanks to the amazing local coffee brews in South East Asia. In fact, they’ve turned my “I hate coffee” husband into a coffee snob, so much that he’s tried to recreate the smooth, acid-free, buttery taste of Malaysian coffee at just about every coffee shop we’ve stopped into over the last few months. It started with his discovery of Italian coffee mixed with a chocolate sludge-like syrup from Cioccolat Italiani on a trip to Milan. They’re well known for offering amazing gelatos but serve drinks also. After many failed prototypes, we’ve (I’ve) given up trying to recreate this version at home.
Around the same time, he discovered a liking for Malaysian coffee which he takes with condensed milk. Yep, it might sound strange to American ears but that’s one of the options for “cream” in SE Asia along with evaporated milk and the usual milk or soy selections. If you’re a fan of authentic Vietnamese coffee you can relate. I must say that the patience of baristas at independent coffee shops in the U.S. amazes me because they take time to listen to what their customers want. Most of the larger chain-operated stores (no name bashing) give out strange looks which usually translates to “For the love! Just order something that IS on the menu!” The closest he’s come to a good brew was at Cultivar Coffee in Dallas, TX which is a great coffee shop without the frills, housed next to Good to Go tacos. A few good indie places I’ve come across in South Florida include Second Cup and Señor Coffee but we’ve had to add flavored syrups to the brews to cut back on the bitterness. If you’ve found a fix to the same problem let me know! Next stop…Cuban coffee!