For The Right Flavor Balance, Use A Medium Roast In Coffee Ice Cream

Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to coffee. Some like the subtle, more fruity tones of a light roast, while others prefer the darker, more intensely bitter flavors of a dark roast. Standing in the middle of these two poles is the ever-popular medium roast. It's far more balanced in terms of flavor, which means it's the perfect choice for making coffee ice cream.

One of the most popular ice cream flavors in the United States, coffee ice cream is essentially a frozen, highly sweetened version of a morning latte. Medium roasts work well for coffee ice cream because they straddle the flavor profiles of light and dark roasts. In essence, they provide an overall balanced, straightforward coffee flavor. As subtlety is not something that translates well in ice cream, the fruity tones of a light roast will likely be lost to the heavier cream and sugar. Dark roasts, on the other hand, have the opposite effect, making things far too bitter. 

So, just like they do in a cup of Joe, medium roasts allow the perfect amount of coffee flavor to come through without disappearing completely or becoming too overpowering. They have enough heft to punch through the cream and sugar, but not so much that it makes the whole batch overly bitter.

How to make medium roast ice cream

In order to extract the most flavor from your medium roast coffee, you are going to need to add the grounds directly into the base ice cream mixture of milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and condensed milk. Grind size is important, as the whole concoction will later be strained so there's no leftover granules in the finished product. Regular ground coffee will work fine, so long as the grounds won't fall through the sieve at the end. You could also use instant coffee or cold brew concentrate, which are both easily integrated and also have that great, strong coffee flavor. 

Sticking with the grounds, the amount of medium roast coffee that goes into the mixture is also important. You'll want to use a larger measurement than you're likely used to, at least 4 to 5 tablespoons for 1 quart of finished ice cream. This may seem like a lot, but just remember that the coffee is up against other equally strong flavors. It's also going to be extracted into a very heavily flavored liquid and become diluted to a certain degree. 

Cook all of the ingredients together in a pot to form something like a coffee custard. Strain it to remove those errant grounds and chill it for an hour before sending it through an ice cream machine. When all is said and done, you should have a beautiful coffee ice cream with just the right balance of sweetness to coffee flavor.