The New Wave of Cold Brew

The New Wave of Cold Brew

Cold brew or toddy coffee has been getting lots of people’s attention lately, including ours here in the Big Bend Coffee Roasters office! We’re reading about cold brew coffee online everywhere from industry sites to the Wall Street Journal every day it seems.

Two of our favorite customers, Antidote/Black Hole Coffee in Houston and Frama here in Marfa, have been taking it to a new level and we wanted to find out more about it.

Daniel Browning, owner of Frama (and Plaine in Alpine), talked to me about his method. “I’m basically taking strong cold brew coffee and putting it into a keg with nitrogen pressure through a carbonating stone. The nitrogen creates small bubbles as the coffee is stored under pressure. It’s served through a draft tap that separates the bubbles and coffee creating a foam on top. Some of the bubbles remain in the foam, creating a strong coffee that is light on the tongue. It drinks like a nice Guiness.” It looks like one, too. So gorgeous, and talk about TASTY!

Daniel’s been experimenting over the past couple of weeks, and we are willing guinea pigs! “Currently I’m using a ‘hot bloom’”, he says, “which is 60-120 seconds of hot water exposure to get the grounds activated followed by 16-24 hours of cold brewing. It yields a concentrate of roughly 2.15% TDS (or Total Dissolved Solids for us laypeople) which allows me to get a finished product of about 7 gallons of very strong coffee from 5 pounds of beans.” listed Antidote/Black Hole in their 10 Best Coffee Shops in Houston and call their iced coffee a ‘must order’. “The iced coffee, one of Antidote’s most popular orders, is cold-brewed for a full 24 hours to create a smoother, fuller cup that packs a high-octane punch.” Black Hole bottles this black gold, and suggests a great way to serve it: 1 part Black Hole Cold Brew + 1 part coconut water. Yes, please!

In the Wall Street Journal’s online edition yesterday, James Freeman, CEO and founder of Oakland based Blue Bottle Coffee, talks about his at-home method.  “It is important to start with cool water. If you make coffee hot and then cool it down, it basically keeps cooking even when it cools down slowly. You can get specialized equipment if you want,” Freeman says, “but it isn’t necessary, as all you need is a good French press. Start with a 10 to one ratio; for every gram of ground coffee, add 10 grams of water”

We knew cold brew coffee was better for us, and Science.Mic confirms it. “Cold brew coffee…is roughly two-thirds less acidic than regular hot brew. You get the deeper flavors the coffee has to offer, enzymatic flavors like chocolate,” says Patrick McInerney, founder of Due South Coffee Roasters. They go on to list some of the recent studies showing health benefits of drinking coffee ~ more about those soon! 

to your health!


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