Monash Cook-Off #12: Caramel Coffee

Written by: Cheah Wei Shang

Featuring: Wan Poh Yee

Honestly, at first glance, I have no clue what this is.

The green coloured sunset seas of the Mediterranean anyone?

But, and I must say, “damn”, does it not look pretty?

Wan Poh Yee has done it again, winning her second of this semester’s Cook-Offs. This time, it’s really a mystery what this drink is, besides the obvious coffee on top. Even then, is it coffee? Or just mystery brown foam? What an enigma of a beverage.

Only after interviewing Poh Yee that, yes, this is coffee. Specifically, a combination of coffees and caramel. 

“The top layer is the dalgona coffee foam thing, heh, sorry I don’t really know what it’s called (it’s just dalgona-style coffee). The layer below that is a matcha latte, and towards the bottom – you can’t really see it – it’s a caramel pudding. So it’s like a mixture of everything. A concoction if you will”

Taste?

“It’s not too sweet and the caramel pudding gives that little hint-sized bite of sweetness. That and the slight bitterness from the coffee. It’s refreshing!”

The swirls and shapes in that glass still mesmerize me. Wherefore could this inspiration have sprung forth?

“I like matcha and I like latte. Well okay, I think it was one of those boba shops, with the crazy toppings you always see, was it Black Whale? I can’t remember. But yeah, I really wanted to try to recreate one of those. This is my best attempt at it.”

Shortly after, she remembers the source of her inspiration, and sent me this: 

Brown Sugar Dalgona Avo-Choco

Not gonna lie, I like Poh Yee’s recreation better. Black Whale’s iteration looks very clean-cut, manufactured. Well, kudos to their photography and editing team, but the au naturale of Poh Yee’s interpretation is just very soothing to the eye.

“Since we are in CMCO, like the start of the year (barely audible ugh), I was just thinking like, oh, dalgona coffee 2.0 again. So I’ll just add some quarantine elements to it, y’know quarantine essentials. (She’s referring to the nature of the inception of this drink, i think.)”

I ask her if it stirs any memories, from back then. Maybe from before the quarantine days?

“Yes it does, and not great ones. And definitely not from before MCO. Honestly, it reminds me of the MCO days, where I was just trying to cook more.”

MCO sucks and the world is falling apart. Sorry, my thoughts are leaking. Anyway, second time winner! What are you going to do with the prize?

“Order GrabFood for my parents. They live in Ipoh, yeah, I think you know what it’s like there”

Just incredibly heartwarming. Let’s end on Poh Yee’s wholesome fidelity towards her parents, shall we?

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