Since the first time I heard of coffee milk I’ve had a fascination with it, it just boggled my mind that something so popular in one state isn’t even heard from much of the rest of the country. Believe it or not, coffee milk, is not a latte or cold coffee, it’s much older than that, and it’s actually the official drink of Rhode Island. Basically, it’s like chocolate milk, which is made from chocolate syrup, but instead of the chocolate it’s coffee flavored.
In Rhode Island people of all ages (even babies) love their coffee milk, in fact, all the restaurants sell it and people order it with meals just like we order a coke or sweet tea in the South. It is said that if you travel more than 10 miles from Rhode island, people will not know what this drink is. If you are from Rhode Island and live somewhere else, you crave it! Unfortunately, no one knows for sure where exactly coffee, milk came from, but some say southern Italian immigrants. Back in the early days when drugstores were popular for selling root beer floats and ice-cream, a local owner would make a mix using used coffee grounds with milk and sugar mixing it until it had a molasses like consistency. In the early thirties the drink was so popular that companies started manufacturing coffee syrup making it easy for people to just make at home when added to a glass of milk and stirred.
^A lot of online sources say that the first manufacturers were Silma or Eclipse. However, I found this ad, dating back to 1930 which proves a company called Abelsen’s were at it first. I couldn’t find one thing about the brand online.
There are a few popular companies that still make the coffee syrup, the most popular two are filled with un-natural ingredients (such as corn syrup) and from what I read aren’t the best taste, the one that seems to taste the best, and is also natural is Morning Glory. However, after a lot of research I decided that I wanted to make some all natural coffee syrup for myself and just try coffee milk once and for all. I searched and searched for a good recipe to try, and all the ones I found included instant coffee. Let me tell you, there is nothing that could make me use instant coffee, that stuffs just gross! It’s hard to believe there are people out there that actually like it.
I figured since I couldn’t find what I was looking for that I would just make it myself. First off, I decided that it was best to make cold brew coffee, this is the most pure and strongest that you can get, plus it taste great. After that you just use the strong brew in a syrup, just like when you make a homemade coffee syrup. I made a small batch since it would be the first time trying it. I’m glad I did since you don’t need much at all, maybe a heaping a teaspoon at the most. The verdict was that’s it really good, I liked it quite a bit. It was just like they say, coffee flavored milk. If you like coffee and milk like I do then you’re in for a treat.
Here’s my recipe for homemade coffee milk syrup, and the coffee milk itself.
1/2 cup cold brew coffee
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
1. In a saucepan on high heat, add coffee and sugar, bring to a full boil, then reduce to low for 10 minutes. Whisk continuously to make sure sugar is dissolved.
Yields: 1/2 cup coffee syrup
1 cup milk
1 heaping teaspoon coffee syrup
1. In a glass add milk, then syrup, mix well.
Yields: 1 cup coffee milk