We are both coffee whores — think three macchiatos every morning, followed by mid-afternoon cappuccinos. Please don't speak to either one of us prior to morning coffee. No — really. (We won't talk about our shameful Diet Coke habit.)
Legit ice cream shops must have coffee ice cream. It's just a fact. Our variation is an interpretation of Vietnamese coffee, and surprise surprise, it's not cloyingly sweet like most coffee ice creams and actually tastes like coffee.
There was never any doubt that we would use Blue Bottle for our coffee ice cream. For starters, we needed some street cred while we were getting off the ground, and at that point, Blue Bottle was one of the only artisan coffee roasters in San Francisco. Nowadays, we can't even keep up with all the great coffee options.
But even more so, Blue Bottle mastermind James Freeman has been a true friend and a mentor for us. He changed the coffee landscape in our town — and, some would argue, in America. He has been an inspiration, and we've tried to model ourselves after Blue Bottle in many ways. He's always around for advice, too.
We've had a partnership with Blue Bottle since the beginning and use Giant Steps blend in our ice cream. As one of their stronger blends, it's assertive enough to overcome the cream and sugar. Also, it smells really good.
But you don't need Blue Bottle coffee for this recipe — any coffee will do. Opt for top-notch coffee, preferably from a local roaster. The condensed milk makes it "Vietnamese" as well as a little creamier. The secret ingredient is the chicory, which gives it a nice sharp edge and makes it all taste a little more like actual coffee. You can find chicory at natural food stores.
Caution: After eating this coffee ice cream, there is a big chance you'll never be able to have any other coffee ice cream again. You've been warned.