The first time I had a “rested” latte was at Steadfast Coffee in Nashville. On first glance, it looked like a regular flavored latte, specifically with butterscotch. The first sip told me something was afoot. After asking, the barista explained they pre-made the lattes and kept them jarred up in the fridge until needed. “Why the hell would you do that?” I asked myself.
Fast-forward to February of this year in Oklahoma City. Mike Marquard and I were on a sales trip visiting Clarity Coffee. Their barista Paul and I were chatting as I glanced at the menu. “Neapolitan Cappuccino” was the specialty drink of the month. After casually expressing interest, Paul fired one up and slid it across the bar to me. A smile creeped onto my face. “This is really good, and I’m totally stealing this idea,” I told Paul. I had no clue what I’d do with it.
The real light bulb moment came at 1900 Barker in Lawrence, KS. The Petrehn brothers’ shop is a wonderful oasis of coffee and croissants. Reagan, the coffee brother, had a giant ice tub of pre-made flavored lattes that he made the night before. “Want to try one?” he asked. It didn’t last very long. The giant tub started out full, and was close to gone by the time the day’s shift was over.
The Neapolitan started out as an experiment. I made some “fresh” iced lattes with some strawberry jam, vanilla syrup and chocolate. It was tasty, but it didn’t have the depth of flavor that I had hoped for. I decided to make one, put it in a bottle and let it hang out in the fridge. Coming back to it a few days later, the brightness of the espresso had mellowed out, the strawberry popped and the chocolate gave the drink a nice backbone. I had even made some before I left for the SCAA Expo in Atlanta and had some test batches that had been sitting in the fridge for over a week. Pretty tasty!
I upped the experiment to a half-gallon batch and tasted the drink every day. Sitting for at least two days seemed to be the answer. The only thing I needed was a great tasting strawberry syrup to add. Blueprint’s kitchen manager Abi Svaboda and I collaborated on some syrups. Strawberries were just coming into season, so some of the brightness from the strawberry syrups would be muted. Instead of adding vanilla syrup and more sugar, we decided to amp up the syrup with vanilla beans. This recalibration really made the difference in the drink. All the flavors were present without overpowering each other.
If you haven’t checked out this mini-milkshake, take a load off, chill out and sip on a Neapolitan.
See Also: FEAST’s article about The Neapolitan featuring photos of the batches being made.