The backlash against unicorn lattes and Frappucchinos has given rise to a new coffee drink that’s the exact opposite of the rainbow sparkly concoctions that have taken Instagram by storm.
Round K, a café on New York’s Lower East Side, is now selling a Matte Black Latte, which owner Ockhyeon Byeon says is ‘black like my soul’.
The drink has very quickly become a major hit — even if the black liquid and matching black whipped cream on top are a bit unnerving. But even without anything added, he noted that ‘black coffee’ isn’t actually black but dark brown.
Black like my soul: Round K in New York City debuted its Matte Black coffee earlier this year
Goth brew: It’s entirely black but tastes a bit like a mocha
The opposite of a bright idea: Owner Ockhyeon Byeon wanted to redefine what a ‘black coffee’ is
Byeon told the Huffington Post that he was inspired by customers who order ‘black coffee’, which traditionally means drip coffee with now cream or sugar.
He decided to take the idea of ‘black coffee’ literally, whipping up a $6.50 drink made with 98 per cent Dutch process cacao, almond milk, espresso, and organic coconut ash, which gives it that matte black color.
It’s then topped with a homemade whipped cream made with coconut cream, marzipan, and more coconut ash.
‘[Customers are] always surprised and shocked [when they first try the drink],’ he said. ‘No one expected it to be actually black, so when I serve people the drink, their first response is often, “Wow, it really is black.”
‘After they take a sip of the drink they are amazed by how Matte Black tasted like “sweet dessert.” Then they ask us for the ingredients in the drink and how we made it taste so sweet and unique.’
Ingredients: It’s made with with 98 per cent Dutch process cacao, almond milk, espresso, and organic coconut ash, which gives it that matte black color
Unexpected: The drink costs $6.50 and is also topped with black whipped cream
Caffeine fix: The owner said people are always surprised by how black it is and also that it tastes sweet
He seems to oblige. According to Thirsty, the drink can be made at home with 2 oz. espresso, 8 oz. almond milk, 1 tbs. coconut ash, and 2 tbs. 98% Dutch processed cacao powder, which are shaken together and then poured over ice.
Byeon doesn’t mind people making similar drinks, or even other cafés experimenting.
‘We encourage innovations in coffee industry and everyone has their own goals for their creations. My goal for Matte Black is to justify the term “black coffee” and at the same time provide a vegan, non-diary, and healthy drink for people,’ he told HuffPo.
He’s quite innovative himself. It’s not just the Matte Black Latte that’s unique on Round K’s menu: There is also a wasabi latte made with espresso, milk, and wasabi paste, as well as a Korean egg cappuccino made with egg and espresso.