My favorite gourmet coffee drink by far is the iced caramel macchiato. However amatuerish this makes me sound, I assure you that my credit should not take a hit. The iced caramel macchiato has to work twice as hard to taste as good as any other gourmet coffee drink. The espresso has to have the right taste and bite to contend with the over powering sweetness that is caramel. To make the perfect iced caramel macchiato, you need to have a more than an astute grasp on the espresso machine you're using and the amount of experience that would put most baristas to shame. I have tried and tried to make the perfect iced caramel macchiato however I still have not produced the perfection that our local baristas turn out on a daily basis.
My quest for the perfect iced caramel macchiato introduced me to the world of flavored sauces and syrups. You wouldn't believe the amount of Torani, Big Train, and Ghirardelli flavored liquids there are. I came to the realization as we began to do some testing in our office. I realized that if we had to test machines we might as well make good use of the opportunity to gain a good caffeine buzz. The only caramel I could find was a syrup. Not really knowing the difference I felt that this was good enough and continued on. I made good espresso (thanks to the ever so fantastic Miss Silvia) and mixed in the caramel. Anticipating the extreme satisfaction of making my very own iced caramel macchiato, I poured in the milk to cool it down and then poured the mixture over ice. I added just enough milk to top off the glorious looking cup and took the first sip.
The gag reflex that ensued was not what I had envisioned as the reaction to the masterpiece I had devised. The drink tasted like espresso and caramel. Gross! I put in caramel and espresso expecting the result to taste better than caramel and espresso. Where did I go wrong? What on earth did I mess up? What would the most experienced baristas serving the most gourmet coffee drinks identify as my fatal flaw? The disappointment that was caused by pouring my drink forced me to do research. The reason that the two flavors didn't mix was because I was using the wrong kind of caramel.
The wrong kind of caramel? Caramel is caramel, or so I thought. The professionals use caramel sauce, not syrup. The difference is pretty simple. The sauce is much creamier and substantial. That's why the iced caramel macchiatos that the baristas make taste so perfectly blended. The sauce really knocks down the espresso bite yet allows the taste to still hit your mouth full force and make you realize why life is beautiful and gourmet coffee is great.
The Torani Caramel Sauce gets my vote of approval and no home barista should be without it. You'll thank me later.
*Look for the big bottle!