Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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99 cold-water tank with glycol cooling. So it cools down really fast, and then we nitrogenate from there," Robert says. You could say fl ash brew is big in the San Francisco Bay Area, with Verve, Highwire, and also Sightglass Coffee Company, which rolled out a fl ash-chilled coffee in October 2018. Although Sightglass's Vanilla Iced Cold Brew, a cold-steeped coffee with vanilla paste, agave nectar, and milk, has been a menu staple for eight years, until last fall, Sightglass had never offered a stand-alone cold brew. "We never really loved cold brew on its own," says Justin Morrison, Sightglass' cofounder with his brother, Jerad. "Traditionally we've al- ways served iced pourovers. That was our answer [to cold brew] early on. We recently transitioned from doing iced pourovers and are doing what we call Sightglass Cold." Jerad adds, "Our goal was to try to come up with a cold coffee that was actually representative of the coffees that we're sourcing and representative of the way that we're roasting those coffees." Sightglass Cold is made at the company's lab in San Francisco's Mission District, and transported to the four café locations. Here's the recipe: Hot coffee is brewed in 5-gallon batches in a Fetco industri- al batch brewer, after which it's passed through a glycol chiller that takes it from 200°F to 40°F in a matter of seconds. The coffee is then immediately transferred into a keg and fl ushed with nitrogen. Known for being Sightglass' "Saturday morning staple," the Blueboon blend was selected for the fl ash-brew debut. Moving forward, the Morrison broth- ers will feature different single origins as fl ash brew. When it comes to considering RTD cans or bottles of Sightglass Cold, the founders are taking their time. "We're in no hurry to rush to get to that phase," Jerad says. "We're just excited to have a cold-style coffee that tastes as good as it does in the stores." As the fi rst to introduce an RTD fl ash brew into a market already saturated with cold coffee, Verve's Colby Barr predicts the category will only grow. "From the point of view of just entering the market, we had a lot of conversations about what does it really mean to say, 'Yeah there's cold brew and that's what the market is fi lled with, and we're gonna go against that.'? What does that mean for us and how do we want to do that in a way that isn't just schticky?" he muses. "Everyone's interested because it's different. We're just barely get- ting the ball rolling." Since Verve started in Santa Cruz in 2007, the company has ven- tured outside of its seaside enclave to open shops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tokyo. The canned fl ash brew, however, is pro- duced at the Santa Cruz headquarters. The concoction is 75 percent Farmlevel Ethiopian Mormora Natural and 25 percent Colombian Argcafe. Colby says the Ethiopian Mormora provides sweet and aromatic fl avors, while the Colombian brings a round body with a candied orange sweetness. Using a proprietary microbrew approach, Verve utilizes specifi c water profi les, temperatures, pressures, and fi ltering and fl ash-chilling techniques, and then fl ushes the coffee with nitrogen before transferring it into a can at the right pH for stability. Nitrogen acts as a barrier against the enemy oxygen, and the end result is a "vibrant, clean, fl oral, complex, elegant fl ash brew," Colby says. Though Verve's canned fl ash brew has been on the market less than six months, Colby's got his sights set on a line of fl ash-brew products, some to feature single-origin coffees, and others to incorpo- rate plant-based milks. One thing's for sure, Colby says: Flash brew has the potential to be the next big thing in RTD coffee. "It's almost like a living thing."

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