I’m not much of a coffee drinker but when I came across the sea salt iced coffee at 85C Bakery Cafe, I had to try it. 85C is Asia’s answer to Starbucks. There are hundreds of stores in Taiwan, but the location in Irvine is one of only two 85C in North America.
What inspired 85C to come up with sea salt coffee? According to spokeswoman Kathy Chung, it was the Taiwanese habit of sprinkling salt on fruits like pineapple and watermelon to bring out their sweetness. Salty coffee also makes sense in a place where shaved-ice desserts are topped with corn kernels and breads get slathered with sugary frosting and bits of pork. It didn’t take long for the salted coffee to become the store’s number one drink.
To truly experience the 85C sea salt coffee, you have to lick the salty foam to arouse your senses, then savor the sweet, creamy coffee underneath. Through the contrast of textures, you experience the saltiness and coffee at different times. I just mixed everything together like it was a caffè mocha. Next time, I’ll do it the 85C way.