Truth be Cold

The summer is upon us and for those brief yet oh-so bliss moments of UK sunshine, we have cold brew. Arguably, the latest fast-growing trend in coffee, more popular now than ever. Don't like it? Hmmm, we like to think you don't like it yet. Have you always liked olives? Did you truly enjoy your first sip of beer? It's an acquired taste and our aim this summer is to make it the taste you acquire. Despite awareness of the concept growing, if 'cold brew' is still a mystery to you, here's a straightforward explanation. Ground coffee, sitting in filtered water at room temperature, inside a paper filter and in most cases a strainer, for several hours. To go into a little more detail, we're making ours 'home-brew' style at our roastery in Mile End, using coarse-ground coffee. Everything, from the roasting of the beans, to the brewing and bottling is all done in 'that railway arch' where all the magic happens!

In line with our espresso and filter options in-store, you'll be able to select from one of two contrasting brews, all summer. Both made using Grade 1, Single Origin coffee beans.

No.1 The Special – A '8hr' brew, made with a more daring selection of bean and available for a limited time only. Set to change regularly throughout the season, to keep your tastebuds on their toes.

No.2 The House Brew – A '15hr' brew, made with a recipe that intends to refine over the summer, using a collaborative approach that incorporates the pallets of our people and ‘the people’.

'The Special' allows us a little, creative wiggle room at the roastery. In which, we can have some fun, play around and not become held down by the shackles of snobbery sometimes associated with filtration methods. For one week only, April saw us serve a 'natural', Ethiopian Aricha cold brew. During dilution, the concentrate dropped hints of ingredients used in dessert recipes involving citrus fruit.

As a little experiment, we served the brew with a thin slice of orange, after discovering the addition enhanced certain flavours, encouraging out a couple of shy tasting notes that were otherwise hiding. If you compare this to the seasoning of good quality meat, it might not seem so bizarre.

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For some, this goes against the art of making a refined brew, in that a garnish may impede on the pure tasting notes found within a well-extracted bean. Same way the addition of milk to filter coffee is often viewed as sacrilege in the coffee world. But cold brew is still, a relatively new thing and coffee should be fun, so let's play!

With 'The House Brew', our aim is to lock down a recipe for a brew that can be enjoyed by all. With the help of our 60 strong team and our regular customers, we want to create a cold brew that's smooth, chocolatey, nutty, complex and refreshing. So thanks in advance to those of you, willing to offer us their feedback.

What sets cold brew apart is the chemical process that occurs in the beverage as you're drinking it. Dilution is a key stage in the making of a brew but this dilution continues to occur during consumption. We store our cold brew at room temperature and serve it over ice. As the ice melts, the brew further dilutes and the varying tasting notes picked out during this period can be staggering in a good brew. For real! Think whiskey – straight / on the rocks.

So we would encourage you to savour your serving, to experience this sensory journey. But by all means, gulp it down if you please. There is certainly a culture emerging of cold brew being seen as the refreshing alternative to a double espresso. The cold shower of coffee. “Yeah bro, I could totally smash a cold brew!”

Either way, swing by one of our shops and let us know how it's tasting. Please ask one of the friendly faces at front of house for this week’s options.

Author: Rick Tipton