When LA Mill's PR agency sent me word of their new spring menu, I was eager to check it out -- since the new signature coffee drink, caramel corn, was barista Amber Johnson's submission in the U.S. Barista Championship competition earlier this year. I am definitely excited, since the opportunity to taste these eclectic creations are rare outside of a competition (and even, then pretty hard to experience unless you're a judge or personally knowing the barista.)
Unfortunately, when I went the caramel corn had not been released yet, so I wound up ordering the sweet basil julep instead. But lo and behold, when said agency heard about it, they graciously extended an offer to try the drink for free, an offer that I merrily accepted.
While the drink was not prepared by Amber herself, I have no doubt in its recreation by Ariel, the barista of the day who has done a wonderful job with the drinks in the past (and blurrily photoed in above pic).
As for the beverage itself; simply put, if you like the buttered or caramel popcorn jelly bellies -- which I do -- then you'll definitely love this. Made with freshly pulled espresso shot, then layered with peanut milk, sea salt popcorn-infused cream, and caramel sauce ("All house-made!" Ariel told me with a smile) it looked like a liquid sundae. Ariel advised me to take a licking of the caramel and cream first before mixing the layers together, which I did and found heavenly, a sweet-savory-nutty combination of caramel sundae and kettle corn. And every bit as intriguing as those corn-flavored beans. I was so infatuated with the lovely, tiered complexity of the mixture that I forgot to ask if the "peanut milk" was a milk derived from peanuts (like rice or soy milk) or regular milk flavored/infused with peanuts.
In the end, though, I did find the beverage a bit too sweet for me (though I do disclose that I have been weaned off the sweetened latte-ish drinks in favor of black coffees and espressos to be more liquid calorie-conscious) but it's still a wicked once-in-a-while indulgence. I can almost forgo dessert! (Keyword being almost, alas, the cherry creme fraiche scone was calling my name.)
LA Mill Coffee Boutique
1636 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA