NYC coffee shop serving wildest coffee yet: Durian lattes

NYC coffee shop serving wildest coffee yet: Durian lattes

They’re spiking their drink.

Coffee has become the latest canvas for including seemingly incongruous ingredients like butter, olive oil and even meat, like Starbucks’ notorious pork latte in Shanghai.

As the espresso splicing trend percolates, East Village fruit-centric coffee shop Not as Bitter has concocted possibly the wildest rocket-fuel hybrid to date: the durian latte.

The “king of fruit” — whose spiky exterior makes it resemble a medieval melee weapon — has become notorious for its overpowering odor, which has been mistaken for a gas leak on occasion and is banned from hotels across Southeast Asia. (This writer remembers once seeing a sign at a Vietnamese resort that read: “No prostitutes, no explosives, no durian.”)

The durian is so smelly it’s sometimes mistaken for a gas leak. Shutterstock

Despite the stench, the durian is prized around Asia for its deceptively custardy and tender flesh.

Not as Bitter owner Jeffrey Wang, who created the funky Frankenbrew, said its unique flavor translates surprisingly well to the latte, which is reportedly a top seller.

“That drink tastes very [good] because it’s sweet,” the bold barista, who hails from Tianjin, China, told The Post. “It just adds a flavor to the coffee and then some creaminess to it.”

Step aside, pumpkin spice.

Wake up and smell the durian

“Honestly, not everyone can handle the taste,” Not as Bitter owner Jeffrey Wang told The Post.

The $8.50 durian latte is essentially like a funkier coffee cocktail — Not as Bitter’s dark interior on East 10th Street even evokes a speakeasy — with undiluted durian purée, coconut milk, simple syrup and two shots of espresso sourced from Guangzhou, China-based roasters.

Wang and company select the whole fruit daily from special vendors that procure them from either Malaysia or Thailand and then prepare the smelly sweetener on-site — no prepackaged powders from concentrate here.

Any durian not used by the close of business day is tossed, which stings given that there’s up to $2 worth of fruit in each cup.

“The only way you can taste the fruit is by putting that much, and because the puree is 100% durian, there is nothing else,” Linda Wang, co-founder of Not as Bitter’s parent group UME Hospitality Group, told The Post.

The fruit’s presence is so strong that when you suck the coffee through the straw, hunks of durian hit the back of your throat like pungent bubble-tea pearls. The finish, meanwhile, is surprisingly sweet, evoking a tangier, more aromatic mocha base that belies the fruit’s nasty stench.

A passion for fruit

Each durian latte has a healthy helping of fruit at the bottom. @notasbitter

Cutting coffee with fruit is nothing new.

The Not as Bitter crew was inspired by a trend in China, where macchiato mixologists have combined coffee with fruit and beyond.

The pairings might sound strange, but Chinese gourmands believe that tropical chasers “balance out the so-called bitterness in coffee” for the local palate, according to Linda — hence the shop’s name.

The durian latte is just one of Not as Bitter’s specialty coffee drinks alongside the double pistachio latte, the avocado toast and other whacky concoctions.

And the durian latte appears to be paying off, given that the fructose-infused fuel is the shop’s “top seller,” according to Linda.

“It sells a lot more coffee than all the other fruit ones combined,” she added.

But Jeffrey said the “king of fruit” is an acquired taste.

“Honestly, not everyone can handle the taste of that,” he explained.

“I’ve had customers ask me what the most popular flavor is, and I would tell them that our best seller is fresh durian, and they would want to try that, but they never had durian before.

“I got two or three customers come back to me and said, ‘Oh, no, I cannot do it. Never again.’”