As a lover of coffee ice cream, I gravitate toward strong coffee and espresso flavors. Maybe it's the caffeine talking, but the marriage of a strong, balanced coffee reduction with an artisan base has my full blessing, and begs investigating. This locally available McConnell's pint is described as follows : "A three-bean selection of espresso and cold-processed coffees delivers all the aroma, smoothness and complex coffee flavor you want, leaving behind any acidity and bitterness. A true coffee fanatic’s ice cream. One fan wrote: If ever you stop churning out the Turkish Coffee, I will hunt you down and kill you.”
Well, let's hope it doesn't come to that. This particular flavor is the handiwork of Michael Palmer, one of the proprietors of McConnell's and a serious coffee lover.
He had the following to say when asked to describe his Turkish Coffee flavor, "We cold brew our coffees and make an in-house reduction - hence, very little acidity or tannin and strong "fruit' notes. A strong, Kenyan coffee. I tend to go for a very specific flavor profile with the coffee ice creams, so I've become less concerned with WHO the roaster is than WHAT they're roasting at that time."
McConnell's doesn't feature specific roasters like some of their competition because they switch periodically. Even with the best small batch roasters there's a significant amount of variance in roast batches. This dedication to consistency comes at the expense of an opportunity to create marketing buzz though co-branding, as many competitors choose to do. I really respect that.
I'd recently scooped a pint by a competitor that features a delicious espresso flavor, compliments of Intelligentsia, a revered coffee roster, and an example of leveraging a brand name. That pint also relied heavily on the flavor of the espresso to take the spotlight off of a much lighter, higher overrun base.
What stands out to me about this Turkish Coffee pint, as I've found to be the case with McConnell's in general, is that the flavoring is used to enhance the coffee flavor and draw attention TO the base and not vice versa. The decadent 18.5% butterfat artisan base clocks in at less than 10% overrun. Take a minute and soak that in! That is practically unheard of and part of why McConnell's is unsurpassed in texture, melt, and mouthfeel.
Where Elliot Found It: Straub's Market
Elliot's Grade: A