Question: “I lived in France for a year and became hooked on their coffee. I’m trying to recreate it at home and have a cafetiere and Colombian beans ground specifically. But what do they add to the French “cafe creme”? I’ve tried everything – varieties of milk, cream, even creme fraiche and nothing seems to work. Please find an answer for me, it’s driving me crazy!” - Lydia Turner
Answer: Lydia, I love a challenge. I’ve never been to France but I too have wracked my brain trying to recreate a coffee drink I’ve loved. In my case, it was to avoid buying an overpriced but extremely tasty drink from a major coffee chain. So I’ve gone through the same exercise as you, tweaking quantities of the various inputs until you have it exactly right.
So I put on my research hat and got to work. As you’ve no doubt already noticed, there isn’t a ton of easily accessible information on the Web to explain what exactly the French do to make the Cafe Creme so unique. The most detailed description I found is that it is coffee served in a large cup with hot cream – the end!
It is often referred to as an espresso drink so if you aren’t using an espresso machine to prepare the coffee, I suggest a dark-roasted coffee bean – coincidentally or not, use a French Roast coffee or what Starbucks refers to as an Espresso Roast. You can use your conventional drip brewer instead of an espresso machine but at least make your coffee from dark-roasted beans. An espresso machine is ideal, if you have one.
Next is the cream. While I wasn’t able to find a recipe for Cafe Creme, I did find a chain advertising their own version of the drink and they emphasized the “espresso flavored cream” that they used. I believe your secret ingredient might be that the cream itself has been flavored. To learn how to flavor cream, our friends at About.com outline a simple procedure to make your own cream and to flavor it. And more good news, they even have a recipe for an espresso flavored cream:
If whipped cream is too thick, sub out for a heavy coffee cream instead. Give it a shot and I’d love to hear back from you whether you were able to recreate that unique taste.
It’s a fun adventure to try and recreate a unique coffee flavor. Click here to learn more Cafe Mocha and other special coffee recipes.