Cutesy coffee trends evoking unicorns and rainbows and flowers have thrust us into a Lisa Frank-inspired feedback loop. If you too fear that the neon leopard latte is the logical next step, check out a Lower East Side coffee shop that's choosing to peer into the dark abyss of your soul with an espresso drink that's completely black, not a single speck of edible glitter in sight.
Round K owner Ockhyeon Byeon created the Matte Black Latte ($6.50) earlier this year, a well-timed antithesis to the colorful creations popping up all over social media. The latte, which won the Hester Street Fair's Iced Coffee Competition, is a bit like a mocha, and Byeon even claims that it has health benefits from the coconut ash that gives it that black color.
The cafe combines espresso—lots of those other "coffee" creations don't actually contain coffee—with 98% Dutch process cacao, coconut ash and almond milk. The creamy topping is made from coconut cream and marzipan, which helps sweeten the drink. "Using coconut ash helps teeth whitening, detoxes the body—cleanses the system," according to Byeon. "Dutch process 98% cacao reduces body fat," he says.
I don't know that this latte will give you whiter teeth, but it will definitely spend the afternoon listening to Morrissey with you in a darkened room.
99 Allen Street, (917) 475-1423; roundk.com