Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Conversing across the bar The ease of service that kegged cold brew offers results in baristas having a chance to engage with customers more. Just think of the average pub, where customers and bartenders chat freely as beer after beer is pulled and served. "Having cold brew ready to go in a keg allows baristas and servers to make drinks in a fraction of the time because they're not going in and out of fridges, they're simply pulling a tap handle. Not to mention that pulling a tap handle can become a real conversation piece for coffee shops," says Brendan Hanson, cofounder with his brother, Cary, of Keg Outlet and Cold Brew Avenue, which are online resources and suppliers that educate folks on how to brew and keg coffee and beer. Brendan and Cary were enthusiastic home brewers who stumbled on kegging cold brew after building a kegerator in their homes. "We each built a kegerator at home and began making different beverages to put in a keg and on draft," Bren- dan says. "We did sparkling waters and sodas, then one day Cary said, 'Wouldn't it be cool to have coffee on draft?' That's when we really started experimenting with large-volume cold brew and kegging coffee." Along with freeing up baristas' time and cre- ating a bit of magic and showmanship around cold brew, kegs give retailers and roasters an effi cient and impressive vehicle for providing cold brew to restaurants and bars. "Cold brew in kegs opens up a different market, allowing cof- fee to be sold to bars and restaurants," Brendan says. Instead of serving espresso or drip coffee, which require training and quality control from servers or professionals who don't have a back- ground in coffee, kegs allow other hospitality sectors to serve a high-quality beverage without having to undergo extensive training. So you want to keg—now what? By this point, you're likely imagining how keg- ging cold brew could work in your own shop— but there are still a number of factors to consid- er. Everyone we talked to for this article made a point of discussing sanitation and cleanliness. If you remember the scare a few years ago that involved cold-brew coffee and botulism, you can imagine that the folks who professionally market and sell kegged cold-brew equipment are especially vigilant that people who keg keep their tools clean and sanitized. "Cleaning is also easy enough, you just need to be diligent about it. Clean and sanitize your lines and your fau- cets regularly—I personally think daily is optimal. It's what a bar would do," says Steve. "And clean your kegs every time they're emptied." The reason for the caution surrounding the cold-brew kegging process is based on the way cold brew is made: Because the water never gets hot, you don't actively kill off every bacteria or microbe in your water. However, a study commissioned by Stumptown and conducted by Oregon State University showed that "cold brew does not favor the survival or growth of non-spore forming bacterial pathogens; likely due to a lack of nutri- ents." In this study, scientists introduced certain bacteria into bottles of Stumptown cold brew and let them sit in a refrigerator for three weeks. Instead of growing, the bacteria died off in that 21-day period. In this scenario, what seems clear is that kegged cold brew is safe as long as it stays refrigerated. Cold-brew kegs can also be cumbersome, and your baristas will need pointers in how to manipulate them carefully and safely, while understanding how the kegs work. "Kegs are heavy and can be hard for everyone to wrangle—carrying a full keg even just a few steps through a café can be physically taxing," Liz says. "There are more variables in a draft system than if you're just pouring out of a pitcher or selling a 85

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