It's no revelation that America loves sweet, rich coffee drinks - the kind of beverage that's more like a dessert than a morning pick-me-up. But at the very top end of the category, where coffee shops from Silver Lake to the Lower East Side employ rarified means to extract the perfect flavor from obscure single-origin beans, minimalism has long been king. It's coffee you drink black, with the variation between menu choices being more about extraction method than mix-ins or syrup drizzles.
But lately, we've noticed some interesting items creeping into Brooklyn's coffee menus. They might not be frappuccinos, but they're definitely not an ascetic cup of pale pour-over brew, either.
Consider a CE favorite, the Krokodil at Dillinger's Cafe in Bushwick. A red-eye made with condensed milk, its sweetness recalls Vietnamese iced coffee without being cloying. And nearby, Little Skips offers a cup called the Jake and Taylor, sweetened with maple syrup.
The biggest step toward indulgence, though, is coming from Supercrown, a cafe and roastery that combines a careful sourcing of beans with some seriously indulgent concoctions. The drinks - which are presented more as cocktails than coffee-bar formulas - feature ingredients like lemonade, Mexican Coke, matcha and 75% cacao chocolate.
What does this mean for mainstream American coffee tastes? Well, perhaps they'll simply continue as before; truly high-end third-wave coffee culture had never really penetrated the mass market in the first place. But if the pendulum is truly swinging away from minimalism at the top of the market, we can expect their most exciting discoveries to trickle down, cronut-like, to coffee shop menus across the country.