Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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"Every barista knows about the buckets in the back by the mop sink. Everyone knows about that. [We said] Let's go against that completely and fi gure out how we want to brew coffee completely different from that process. I don't want my coffee to sit for 24 hours. I don't want to use cold or lukewarm water. I want to use hot water." These days, you'd be hard-pressed to fi nd a coffee shop in the United States that doesn't serve some kind of cold brew. Traditionally, that has been defi ned as coarsely ground coffee steeped anywhere from 12 to 24 hours in cold or lukewarm water, fi ltered, stored, and served chilled. The fervor over the past eight years that has seen cold brew transition from trend to menu mainstay, however, doesn't belie the 400-plus-year history of cold-brewed coffee, which in fact was fi rst documented in Japan in the 1600s. Its contemporary incarnations—RTD drinks available everywhere from your local indie roaster to mega grocery stores—have seen a jump from $8.1 million to $38.1 million in sales from 2015 to 2017, according to a report from Forbes in May 2018. There's a reason the Toddy method has persevered for so long: Brewing coffee in cold water keeps the molecular structure of the bean intact and minimizes acidity, leaving a smoother, more choco- latey taste than hot coffee. Some roasters add nitrogen to cold brew, staving off the staling effects of oxidation and giving the beverage a milk-foamy mouthfeel. But nitrogen doesn't change the structure of the coffee, says Christian Krause, brand manager and product designer at Brewista, Inc. "Because nitrogen bubbles are popping or effervescing, it actually brings out more of the natural aromas you would get from coffee that isn't in standard cold brew but is in hot coffee," he explains. Cheyenne, Wyo.– based Brewista designs and manufactures coffee-brewing products including the Cold Pro Nitro, a cold-coffee dispenser with a small footprint that pulls nitrogen from the surround- ing air—no nitrogen tank needed. The Cold Pro Nitro won fi rst place in the non-consumable category at Portland Coffee Fest in 2017. Still, even with the benefi ts of nitrogen, a lot of mass-produced cold coffee isn't known for vibrant fl avor profi les. Cold brew's boast of having a low-acidic, chocolatey fl avor comes at the sacrifi ce of, well, the acids themselves: fl orals and other complexities of coffee that can only be extracted with hot brewing methods. Flash brewing puts the spotlight back on subtle nuances in the coffee, which is exactly what many roasters want. Nashville, Tenn.'s two locations of Stay Golden Restaurant and Roastery are known for the company's transparent coffee-sourcing program. "We have the goal of sourcing all of our coffees through direct relationships that benefi t farmers by 2020, and we have lots of relationships with local food producers," says Nathanael Mehrens, Stay Golden's beverage director. Noting the hydroponic garden at Stay Golden's roastery, which produces a lot of the food they make, as well as partnerships with local companies to compost and recycle as much waste as possible, Nathanael says that using fl ash brew instead of a full-immersion cold- brew system was an easy choice. "Cold brew tends to be less dynamic and [less] refl ective of the coffees we work so hard to source and roast," Nathanael says. "One of the cool things about using [fl ash brew] is that it allows us to feature whichever featured origin we have to offer at the time. So the profi le changes along with the specifi c coffee." Stay Golden's in-house fl ash brew starts with hot brewed coffee that is immediately put through a heat exchanger that lowers the tem- perature below 40°F in seconds. The coffee is then stored in a tank and fl ushed with nitrogen before being tapped for in-house consump- tion. Another distinguishing trait of fl ash brew? The name is no joke: A batch of fl ash-brewed coffee can be made in minutes as opposed to the 12-to-24–hour brewing period that standard cold brew requires. At Highwire Coffee's three locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, fl ash-brew coffee is brewed on demand, using both Curtis brewers and a Ground Control brewer. Made by Oakland-based start-up Voga, Ground Control is a full-immersion brewer with a vacuum on it, thus offering more control over extraction, says Robert of Highwire. In- house, Highwire makes fl ash brew in batches of 1.5 gallons at a time. "We go through it about as fast as we can make it," he says. The method is actually second nature to Robert, whose coffee career stretches back to the 1990s with Peet's Coffee, which was, he says, "always doing what we now call fl ash brewed. Peet's coffee didn't particularly have any brightness to it, but it was how I learned to make cold coffee." Today Highwire uses a blend called Tight Rope for its fl ash brew. "We really try to balance origin character with body," he says. "What we're looking for is some chocolatey-ness that will translate with cold but not turn into Baker's Chocolate or something really bitter, and then juiciness on top of it. That's the goal—to have the experience of a big mouthfeel without having it all be heavy notes." When Highwire makes bigger batches, using around 40 pounds of beans, the baristas brew with hot water to get the extraction and bloom. After that, "We agitate the grounds and then we drop it in a "It's almost like a living thing." —Colby Barr, Verve Coffee Roasters, of flash brew, which he says has the potential to be the next big thing in RTD coffee 98 barista magazine

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