You may have encountered ube in trendy cafes, on bakery menus, or even in the aisles of Trader Joe's, but you may not know what ube is or what it tastes like. Also called purple yam, ube is a purple-colored root vegetable and a common crop in the Philippines. It is often used on the sweet side of Filipino cuisine thanks to its subtle sweetness and vanilla-like flavor that lend well to cakes and ice creams, plus its vibrant purple color makes desserts look all the more appetizing.
Ube's flavor and color make it a naturally good pairing to coffee. Ube is grounded in earthiness, and its sweetness is not overbearing. An ube and coffee pairing can most similarly be compared to coconut and coffee. Both ube and coconut are nutty, creamy, and naturally sweet. If you typically order your lattes "not too sweet," you won't need to add any extra sugars after introducing ube to your coffee. While ube in its natural tuber form is somewhat hard to find in the U.S. since it is not a common import, you may be lucky to find it in an Asian grocery store.
How Add Ube To Your Coffee
Like potatoes and other root vegetables, patience is a virtue when cooking with ube, but a simple mashed ube is easy to stir into milk for coffee. If mashed ube in your coffee doesn't sound appetizing, other applications like ube extracts, powders, and jams are suitable for coffee and don't involve cooking. Ube halaya is a Filipino spread made from ingredients like ube, condensed milk, and coconut milk. Although this jammy spread has more to it than just ube's natural sweetness, it's a pleasant stir-in for coffee and perfect for someone who prefers their coffee on the sweeter side.
While ube extract is a convenient and concentrated way to add ube to your coffee since a few drops can be added to milk or used to flavor a frothy cream topping, many brands contain artificial colorings and flavors, so it is best for those who want an exaggerated ube color in their drink. Ube is also sold in powders that can be rehydrated with hot liquid and spooned into a coffee drink. A dehydrated ube powder with no added ingredients may be as close to the real thing as you can get if you don't find ube in the produce section.
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