Mixing sweet and salty has become mainstream-trendy in the past couple of years; mixing coffee and tea in the same beverage is not quite so popular – in the States, anyway. In Asian countries, there are many variations on the sweetened coffee-and-tea mix, chiefly kopi cham in Malaysia or yuanyang in Hong Kong. But Bubbles & Ice, the dessert bar next door to (and under the same management as) Noodles & Rice Café on Mills Avenue, serves their own deluxe version of the Eastern taste treat, and we’re rapidly becoming addicted to the sweet-salty, soft-strong, black-and-white charms of this caffeine cocktail.
In this version, sweetened black Vietnamese iced coffee is blended with a concentrated brew of black, jasmine and green tea and poured over ice. (For an extra 75 cents or $1, add boba, popping pearls or coffee jelly cubes.) Then a glorious mix of evaporated, condensed and whole milks is steam-foamed, laid atop the dark caffeiney goodness, and sprinkled with sea salt. Do not slam a lid on this puppy and sip it with a straw; you must drink from the top to get the full effect of the rich, lightly sweet milk foam touched with a salty halo.
After a few swallows, the soft jasmine tea and sweet coffee start to break through the milk foam, and the milk starts to drift down into the coffee/tea; at this point you can go ahead and give it a stir and use a straw. That may seem like a bossy lot of directions, but it pays off.
Bubbles & Ice Dessert Bar,
813 N. Mills Ave, 407-895-8833;
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