When I lived in Israel, one of my favorite restaurant drinks was a tall mug of hot milk with a pool of instant coffee resting atop the foam. Stir the powder into the milk, and you had an instant cafe au lait. The (English side of the) menus never offered a name other than “instant coffee and hot milk,” so I took to calling the drink “Israeli coffee.”
Many years later, I spied instant espresso powder at a grocery store and grew excited about recreating my Israeli coffee memories. It’s a great way to whip up a coffeehouse-type drink if you’re stuck at home or don’t want to shell out coffeehouse prices. All you need is a mug of milk, a microwave, some instant espresso powder, and sugar, cocoa, or other flavoring if desired. Something about it is comfort in a cup — I’ve gotten my mother hooked as well, and we got through so much that we buy jars by the 6-pack!
Just don’t run out of milk — it’s a sad, sad drink when added to water. However, it does make an extremely tasty addition to chocolate-based baking. The espresso doesn’t add a strong “coffee” flavor, just somehow deepens and enriches the chocolate. Cook’s Illustrated baked with espresso powders for this month’s issue, and recommends the brands Cafe Bustelo or Caffe de Vita. My personal favorite, Medaglia D’Oro, came in third.
Image sources one and two. A favorite recipe for chewy Chocolate Espresso Cookies (even better with orange or peppermint flavoring, yum!). And you can read all you ever wanted to know about coffee in Israel right here.