At CoffeeKrave, the minute the calendar page flips over to July we become obsessed with one thing: Coffee Ice Cream.
We wanted to get the “inside scoop” from an expert, so we caught up with Dave Kumec, Chef/Owner of Mission Hill Creamery in Santa Cruz, California. Dave has been known to describe himself as a man who eats, sleeps, drinks and dreams ice cream (via the Santa Cruz Sentinel). That dedication has paid off, and Mission Hill Creamery is one of the Top Twenty Artisan Ice Cream Companies in the United States.
Full disclosure: We are not journalistically unbiased when it comes to Dave’s Turkish Coffee ice cream. It is, hands down, the most insanely amazing, deep, rich, intense coffee flavor we have ever tasted. Did we mention creamy?
We asked Dave to share his ice cream making philosophy, and as we expected we received the all-encompassing, no holds-barred version: “Use the best ingredients you can find. Taste the ingredients and make sure they are the best. Do EVERYTHING with Passion! The results will not disappoint.”
Dave’s focus on real ingredients provides some insight for finding the best coffee ice cream in your hometown. Michael Pollan, author/journalist/activist extraordinaire, offered similar advice when he wrote: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” If everything on the label is an ingredient you can pronounce, you are on the road to good ice cream.
Dave starts with local, organic ingredients, including milk from an eco-friendly local dairy. We asked him to give us some additional insights (without revealing the top-secret formula!) behind the process of making his Turkish Coffee flavor: “The coffee flavor is very concentrated. We use a special process that allows us to extract the maximum coffee flavor without introducing too much water, which would make the ice cream icy instead of creamy. We also insist on using only the finest, freshly roasted and ground coffee beans from Lulu’s Coffee, a local artisan coffee roaster in Santa Cruz.”
We Need a Map!
Which brings us to this question—how do you find that crazy, gifted, passionate local ice cream maker near you? If you’re on a summer road trip somewhere in the United States, Mother Earth News has created a customized Google Map of their top artisan ice cream makers.
Outside of Santa Cruz, Dave’s top choice is Berthillion in Paris.
If you are somewhere in between those points, we recommend doing a little research. Chowhound is a good place to start, and their discussion boards do include some international coverage. Search for “best local ice cream” and your location. We conducted an official, completely and totally scientific evaluation of this method by searching Chowhound for “best local ice cream, Santa Cruz.” The top search result, confirming our experimental hypothesis, was indeed a rave review for Mission Hill Creamery.
Back at Home
If you are also in the experimental mood, you can try making coffee ice cream at home. Dave’s advice for home ice cream makers is to focus on the concentration of flavor: “When I first started testing out coffee ice cream recipes, I tried using instant coffee from Starbucks. It is true that this is not freshly roasted and freshly ground, but it gives a great coffee flavor without needing any special tools or processes. The real key is to get as much flavor with as little water as possible.”
What is the best coffee ice cream in your hometown? Share your recommendations in the comments below!
Main Photo: katherinegeraets
Content Photo: ulterior epicure