coffee + donut, home junkie-ized

May 11, 2009 – 1:03 am

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hey, kids! come get your hoffmann donut porridge!

why should this blog explain to you the formative concepts behind this beverage — the infamous coffee and a donut — when its inventor pulls back the curtain so much more … dashedly!

it’s an off-duty reporter’s dream, really: loll on the free bar at the world barista championship, drinking james hoffmann‘s liquid genius and jotting down juicy, irresistible quotes as he slings beverages for a small gaggle. he’d used this drink, of course, to help win the u.k.’s 2007 barista championship, and it had long bewitched us for its sheer madcap-ness: morning coffee + fresh baked krispy kremes, in entirely liquid form. hoffmann still says it ranks as his favorite signature beverage evar.

he also said a few other things!

* “Signature drinks need a sense of humor.”
if you don’t have Sense of Humor, substitute seven feet of british barista.

* “Everyone likes it really, because it’s stupid.”
if that were true, everyone would have LOVED that wasabi mocha from the 2005 southeast regionals.

* The barista competition “is a game. It’s not about being a line barista.”
this blog’s line barista has certainly never liquified a donut on our behalf.

* “This signature drink is always something I really enjoyed, even though it is a very wrong thing to do to coffee.”
turning hot krispy kremes into vomitous porridge, one could argue, is also a very wrong thing to do to a donut.

* “The fat in here is really ruining the foam.”
also, our languishing fatty pancreas.

stunningly enough, james also shared the recipe — foolishly opening the door for this blog to home junkie-ize the inspired madness. lacking a centrifuge, which we understand is the donut liquification Tool of Choice, we were reduced to mashing a dozen of the yeasty air-jetted tubulars with milk, then mashing and separating, chilling and straining, straining and chilling, for nearly three days.

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breakfast grows less, and less, and less, appetizing.

the resulting milky liquid — or as we like to call it, “jus de bon-bon” — was somewhat greasier than the stuff james served us in atlanta, but still mostly devoid of the largest deep-fried globules of sin. chilled it, steamed some, poured it into a single-origin shot of rwanda gkongoro nyarusiza espresso, and …

meh. the initial eye-popping taste of perfect donut essence quickly melted into disappointment with how it paired with our coffee. tasted sort of muddy, like a burnt coffee frappe someone had tried to rescue with donut syrup. ration adjustments helped, but the beverage didn’t sing until we tried it with shots of toscano, pulled fairly short (25 seconds) on the gb5 at coffee and crema.

the donut actually hits you first and last. you think, “whoa, oven baked.” then spicy chocolate espresso in the middle and a loooong, lingering lipidic pastry aftertaste, doubtless from the fat. there’s something deeply disconcerting about the method it took to properly steam the stuff — loud and slurpy and nukey. there was also some reflex within this blog to add as little donut juice as possible, when in fact it was a larger portion that settled in and felt balanced. something like two parts jus to three parts spro. something tasted almost wintergreen up top, and something else tasted almost like baked peaches down low.

but perhaps we’re splitting hairs. the customers guffawed and slurped mightily. the home-bar visitors sat and marveled and asked for another. and this blog’s sacred container of liquid bakery is well nigh spent.

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monument to james.