The mellow, sweet, rounded taste of hazelnuts has long been one of my favorite flavors. My earliest memories involve taking big bites from a Cadbury Whole Nut bar offered by – I am not sure now – either my mother or one of my aunts. Later in life, I would be introduced to the unctuous awesomeness of Nutella and the sheer, chic elegance of hazelnut dacquoise at a university function. When I began working, a Starbucks mocha – grande, iced, low-fat milk, but don’t skimp on the whipped cream (och, delicious irony!) – with two or three pumps of hazelnut syrup would rank high among my personal indulgences, so mad I was (and still am) about the harmonious mix of dark chocolate, medium-roasted coffee, and sweet hazelnut.
In these days, however, when one has to pinch pennies and the cost of hip, Seattle-style coffee bar drinks has become horrendously impractical and even a little ostentatious, hazelnut-flavored coffee has become little more than a craved-for memory. Well, or so I thought until I found Coffee Malaysia‘s Ipoh White Hazelnut Coffee packets at my friendly, neighborhood 7-11!
Each 40g sachet (yes, that is a lot of coffee compared to the niminy-piminy sachets sold by local producers) contains an instant version of a coffee drink that first became popular in Ipoh, the capital of the Malaysian state of Perak. For Ipoh white coffee, coffee beans are roasted with palm-oil margarine, making them a touch lighter and more mellow than beans roasted through more traditional methods. The resulting brew is sweeter, somehow nuttier than conventionally roasted coffee and is usually served with condensed milk, pretty much like Vietnamese ca phe sua nong (or its more popular cold version ca phe sua da). The instant version, however, is more bitter than sweet but is pleasantly so. The addition of hazelnut flavoring to the mix adds a deliciously sweet aroma and a toasty nuttiness that makes each sip a pleasure.
While this drink is lovely enough when hot, the current season is a little too warm for it to be enjoyed that way even in the morning. Fortunately, it tastes even better when served over ice – more so, in fact, if you toss in about a tablespoon of instant hot chocolate mix into the fray!
It’s a notion I played with this morning as I was fixing a glass of iced coffee to go with breakfast. Since I’ve missed my mocha fix for quite a while now, I decided to add half a scoop (1 tablespoon) of Swiss Miss Classic with Marshmallows to my hazelnut coffee. Add a couple tablespoons of hot water to dissolve all those powders, a splash of milk, top it up with water, and a few ice cubes, et voila…
…one happy morning sipper to kick start your day! 😀