I am very excited to announce that Earth’s General Store Downtown will be the first outlet in Edmonton that is offering Organic Fair Trade Cold Brew Nitro Coffee! In addition, I believe we might be the first company in Canada that offers Fair Trade Organic Cold Brew Nitro Coffee that is roasted in house!
[Note: I understand that Rogue Wave Coffee started serving Nitro Coffee in Edmonton before us and only became aware of this on July 18th, 2016. So we were not the first to offer Nitro Coffee in Edmonton. Now you have the opportunity to try two different offerings of this product and taste the similarities and differences].
First, some history
Many years ago Edmonton Journal Food Columnist, Judy Schultz, wrote an article about cold brew coffee. It intrigued me and I ordered in some Toddy cold brewers.
They all sold but I never reordered because the logistics were not so great.
I also bought a commercial sized cold brewer with the intentions of brewing cold brewed coffee in the cafe that did not materialize. Here it is over 12 years later and I am finally putting it to use. It only took TWELVE years to get me to brew some cold brew with it. Fortunately, I am a bit of a pack rat and it was sadly sitting in the garage waiting until it was needed.
Now have put the Toddy commercial system to use. I have also made some homemade systems so that we can keep up with the demand and to eventually make some cold brew nitro teas.
Here are some photographs of the process of me using the brewer.
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
This is not hot coffee served cold.
This is not cold coffee but a process that uses cool/cold, not hot, water and time to dissolve the coffee flavours from the bean into the water. Cold Brew Coffee is brewed cold and never exposed to heat until ready to be served while cold or iced coffee is coffee brewed the usual way (using hot water to extract the flavours) then cooled down (with ice or in the fridge).
Basically, you grind up some coffee (coarse grind) and let it steep in the water for an extended time (usually 12-24 hours). The resulting liquid is a coffee concentrate.
Why Cold Brew?
When heat (hot water) is used to extract the flavour it also dissolves many of the acids in the coffee and they end up in the coffee cup. Cold brew produces a concentrate that is much lower in the acids found in hot brewed coffee. The final product is smoother, less bitter, and will taste sweeter.
Personally, I find coffee very hard on my stomach and gut. I also find that I need to add too much sweetener and some kind of milk to counter the acids.
When we go looking for good quality olive oil we look for Extra Virgin and Cold Pressed. The cold pressed ensures that the oil was not extracted via heat and/or chemicals/solvents. When chemicals and/or heat is used it increases the amount of oil the producer can extract from the oil but it lowers the quality.
The same reasoning can be applied to cold brew coffee.
Why is it more expensive than regular coffee?
A hell of a lot of coffee bean is used to create the coffee concentrate. Heat from water/steam extracts more of the coffee bean components (acids and oils) than cold brewing does. Much the same way that heat extracts more oils from olives but degrades the flavour.
There is a lot more time and work involved to make this product than usual coffee.
The concentrate is equivalent to the taste strength of an espresso. Delicious, strong, and smooth.
You will also notice the higher caffeine content of the concentrate. Hot water normally extracts the caffeine from the ground coffee bean but with the larger amount of coffee bean to water and TIME you get a bigger dose of caffeine in the concentrate. When you dilute it with water and/or ice or temper it with milk/cream you will reduce the caffeine levels.
What is Nitro?
Nitro is short for nitrogen. Nitrogen makes up 78% of the earth’s atmosphere. When it is fixed in the soil it helps plants grow.
When nitrogen is used instead of ‘beer gas’ it produces a headier and smoother dispensed beer due to its smaller bubbles (in comparison to carbon dioxide). It is this characteristic that makes it appealing to use with dispensed coffee. As the bubbles rise through the liquid it produces a wonderful creamy head.
When the Cold Brew Nitro Coffee cascades into a glass, it will resemble a Guinness(R) stout (though not a dark).
Come and try the magic of nitrogen in your coffee.
Artisan Crafted Cold Brew Nitro Coffee
We brew about 9 litres per batch of concentrate for each batch of ground coffee. This ensures that we can craft a consistent end product but also allows us to experiment with a variety of roasts to see what coffee beans work best and the duration of the ‘brewing’ time.
Introducing our Cold Brew Nitro Coffee!
You can get this wonderful beverage at our Whyte Avenue store. On Tap!
We also offer samples so just ask one of the staff to dispense you a shot to try but before you drink it down be sure to watch the cascading of the bubbles in your glass – it is quite magical.
The End Product
This is what it looks like decanting into a glass.
AND it tastes even better than it looks.
Another fantastic aspect of Nitro Coffee is that it naturally tastes sweeter and creamy. Many people find that they do not have to add sugar or cream to their beverage. Eating less sugar is a good idea.
Reduced Plastic Use
Many years ago, when De Cappo opened their first coffee shop on 109th street, they took the bold step to say they would not offer their coffee in to-go/disposable containers/cups. People were meant to bring their own. This did not go over very well and they were forced to bring in disposable cups for their customers.
We are working diligently to reduce our plastic footprint and one of the ways we are going to do this is to not offer any to-go cups and straws for this beverage. People will have to bring in their own containers to refill from our refrigerated dispenser.
So bring along your travel mug or some other cup and we will gladly refill it for you with the best tasting cold brew nitro coffee this side of the river.
Making Cold Brew at Home
This is not for those people that like to roll out of bed and flip the switch on their coffee machine and have almost instant coffee. You need to plan somewhat ahead. If you make yourself a batch of it you can have cold brew concentrate in the fridge for several days and then all you have to do is add 2/3 hot water to 1/3 concentrate (or a ratio that suits your preferences).
This will lower the temperature of your end product so you might want to heat up the concentrate from the fridge on the stove. If it is hot out just pour the concentrate over ice and add a smaller amount of cold water to suit your taste (try it straight up first then add a little at a time to get the right taste for you).
This is as simple as taking some coarse ground coffee (like for a French Press/Bodum) and soaking them in water for 12-24 hours. We also have organic Cold Brew Coffee Sock filters and kits in the store if you wish to purchase these products.
Here is a recipe ratio that some people use – 454 grams/1 pound and 2 Litres of cold water.
PS – I have described only making a Cold Brew concentrate here. You can make a cold brew that is not a concentrate by using a different ratio and you will not have to dilute it at the end.