If you ever had a chance to visit
my home turf the Bay Area, there is a chance that you may have seen or even walked in to a local coffee shop establishment called Philz Coffee. If you did have a chance to come and visit a Philz Coffee branch to sample up their caffeinated offerings, you’d notice that their rather small coffee menu is rather unique compared to all the other coffee shops you may have visited in your lifetime.
One of the offerings that they have in their menu is a certain coffee beverage called Mint Mojito Coffee. Many of my friends, relatives, and those I knew who (frequently) hang out at Philz Coffee indicate that this particular beverage is a major customer favorite, if not the #1 drink in their menu. Nevertheless, it is a unique coffee beverage made straight to you from a trained barista with a rather unique blend. I came to Philz Coffee just twice or three times in my life as of today, simply because there is no branch closer to my home. I had to travel to San Francisco or San Jose to get to one. The Mint Mojito Coffee also became my favorite, along with the very pricey Jamaican Blue Mountain, which I only order a small size.1 The small sprig of mint as garnish over that wonderfully refreshing iced coffee drink really gives a simple touch, but the scent and the essence of the mint crushed and blended with the rest of the ingredients there makes this drink so unique and delicious.
Sometime a few days ago, I decided to “decode” the Mint Mojito Coffee and see if I can “imitate” it right here at home. I’ve searched around the internet to see if there are any general recipes of this drink and I have found a few, but knowing coffee, this is more of a personal taste and there is no such thing as the “correct” Mint Mojito Coffee… unless if you work at Philz Coffee, of course. A lot of these contain simple syrup2 combined with crushed/muddled mint leaves, but I made mine a little diabetic-friendly. I tried stevia, sugar substitutes like Equal, Sweet & Low, and Splenda, and turbinado sugar.
Here’s the list of ingredients that I have, out of the tried and tested methods:
- Fresh mint leaves
- Turbinado sugar
- Heavy whipped cream
- Brewed coffee (I read that dark roast is recommended but that depends on personal preference)
It’s not the best Mint Mojito Coffee, nor that it would even match Philz Coffee’s original recipe, but close enough. I first brewed the coffee in my usual coffee maker (I used French Roast coffee, since that’s all I have in my house. It’s my parents’ favorite/preferred coffee). Rather than making the simple syrup, I used one packet of turbinado sugar3 and about 7-8 leaves of mint4 in a mortar and pestle set.5 I crushed the leaves using a pestle and fused them together with the turbinado sugar until the leaves were completely meshed and its oil starts to ooze out. You can tell with the strong yet refreshing minty scent.
I then transferred this mixture in to a glass, then poured the brewed coffee over it. I tried a regular dairy creamer and half and half first, but neither of them can match the “creamy” texture of the Philz Coffee’s version, so I ran back to the groceries to find other alternatives. I bought a small box of heavy whipping cream and decided to use that instead. The cream gave the coffee that creamy texture, just like the way Philz Coffee makes them. Finally, I added the ice and then a small sprig of mint leaves for the garnish.6
Even with just one packet of turbinado sugar mixed in with the crushed mint leaves, the coffee turned out a whole lot more minty than sweet. Besides, the Mint Mojito Coffee isn’t meant to be sweet, although the barista at Philz Coffee would always ask you how much sweetness you want in your beverage. My diabetes really made me strict with the sweetness levels that I would only require just one small packet of turbinado sugar for my one large cup of Mint Mojito Coffee and it would still turn out refreshing and delicious. More mint, less, sweet, even the minty-ness slightly subsides the caffeine strength of the dark roast coffee base.
I served the homemade Mint Mojito Coffee to my brother and his girlfriend when they came by for a visit. My brother said that it’s not Philz Coffee, but it’s close. Then again, coffee is meant to be made just the way one person wants it and that there is no set “perfect recipe” for a cup of coffee. It’s the same with Mint Mojito Coffee. My brother preferred more sweet and even complained to me why the mint base isn’t “sweet” enough. Too much York Peppermint Patties, I see.
Try this method when you have the time. Or if you got any tips and ideas, please do share them. One note to mention is that if you leave the beverage untouched for some amount of time, you’ll see something that looks “oily” on the surface. Don’t be fooled. That’s the mint oil coming from the mint leaves mixture. That oil makes the beverage a lot more minty.
One last tip. Mint leaves get wilted and spoiled really fast and they only last for less than a week. I take the leaves apart and place them in a freezer bag and put them in a freezer. The mint leaves this way should last about a month or more.
On the sidenote...
- It’s $10 for a large size! [↩]
- 1/2 sugar, 1/2 water [↩]
- Sugar in the Raw— my local grocery store only sold the packets version [↩]
- well, for me though, the more minty, the better! [↩]
- I mostly use it to crush garlic, peppercorns, and other spices whenever I do the cooking, but still is a good tool [↩]
- The Mint Mojito Coffee, by default, is an iced coffee drink, although you can drink it hot. [↩]