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Strange Brews

Kohana cold brew

Humanity has been drinking coffee for at least 1,000 years. That’s a lot of time for people to have on their hands, especially in the company of caffeine. Unsurprisingly, the result has been some, shall we say, novel ways of preparing the world’s beverage of choice.

We can’t exactly call these our favorites but they definitely display the full range of coffee creativity:

Let’s start with Es Alpukat, which mixes espresso, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and… avocado? Indeed. Sometimes served over ice and/or with chocolate syrup, the result is a smoothie-like drink sold from Indonesian street carts that’s part salad, part dessert. Those who’ve had it say this culinary schizophrenia works better than you’d think.

Cà Phê Trứng contains no vegetables, but be careful what you wish for. This Vietnamese drink whips condensed milk and raw egg yolk together in a cup then fills the remainder with black coffee. The coffee sinks, the egg mixture rises, and you’re caught in the middle wishing you’d gone to Hawaii instead.

Kaffeost keeps it in the dairy case, but not in the way you’d hope. This Swedish drink pours black coffee over a delicate piece of leipäjuusto. You see it on the menu and think it sounds worth trying. Until you Google “leipäjuusto” on your smart phone and discover it’s reindeer cheese. Then, you order the tea.

When life gives you lemons, make monkey-spit coffee. That’s the philosophy of Taiwanese coffee growers fed up with rock monkeys raiding their plantations and eating their coffee cherries. The carnage leaves ruined, semi-chewed beans behind, which an enterprising farmer discovered have a delicious vanilla-like flavor when brewed. Suddenly leipäjuusto doesn’t seem so bad.

In Melbourne, Australia the latest caffeinated sensation is Deconstructed Coffee. Served on paddle, it’s a cup of espresso, a cup of water, and a cup of milk. Trendy, yes, and quite possibly pointless, but at least monkeys or reindeer aren’t involved.

The coffee drink called a Guillermo is a bit more put-together. Just cut a few fresh lime slices and pour espresso over it for an acid rush that probably leaves scars. An Espresso Romano is similar but uses lemon peel instead. Either way, please pass the Prilosec.

Further down this fruited continuum lies Cabernet Coffee Espresso from a company that may have had a little too much of both. Concocted by Friends Fun Wine, this canned beverage contains exactly what its name implies as does sister drink Chardonnay Coffee Cappuccino. May your own thirst never become this confused.

Saving the best for last, we come to Fiery Waterfall Coffee, the signature drink of the Lighthouse restaurant in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. You’ll want to sit down for this one. And don asbestos. Here, a presumably carefully trained professional mixes Kahlua, coffee and (wait for it…) tequila in a glass, sets the whole thing on fire, and pours the resulting burning river of WTF from one glass to another before adding cream and a cherry. 

That sound you hear is your barista running screaming from the room.


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