Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Aug. 11, 2020

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Cold brew for later? In Clark County, cafes can (and bottle)

Coffee shops reimagine their approach in a changed world

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Kafiex Roasters had long wanted to can cold brew, and the pandemic pushed it to the top of the shop's to-do list.
Kafiex Roasters had long wanted to can cold brew, and the pandemic pushed it to the top of the shop's to-do list. (Contributed by Kafiex Roasters) Photo Gallery

As the calendar shifts toward June, many of the temporarily closed coffee shops in Vancouver are slowly reopening. Business owners weren’t idly sitting around during their spring closures. They spent the time imagining new ways to make online ordering and takeout transactions quicker, easier and safer. Everyone seemed to reach the same solution: lattes and cold-brew coffee in bottles and cans.

Cold brewing coffee has become popular because it creates a smooth flavor and draws chocolate notes out of the coffee beans. To make cold-brew coffee, coarsely ground coffee beans are steeped in cold water overnight (or sometimes longer) and then the coffee is strained into a container. Professional cold-brew systems filter the coffee several times to get rid of coffee particles and allow the flavors from the coffee beans to shine through in the final product.

This method is expensive because a whole pound of ground beans is used for each gallon of coffee. In addition, for small independent coffee shops that don’t own automated canning machines, the process is very labor intensive, with each serving hand canned and in some cases hand-labeled. Nonetheless, canning cold brew is a good way to offer a shelf-stable product that customers can easily drink and store when they aren’t regularly stopping by a coffee shop.

The first cold brew in cans that I noticed were at Kafiex Roasters. This isn’t surprising since owners Seidy and Matthew Selivanow have always offered cold brew. Seidy loves this drink so much that she started Cold Brew Fest in 2018 to give coffee roasters and the public a way to bond over this velvety summertime favorite.

“This pandemic gave us the opportunity to work on a project we have been wanting to bring to life, which is canning cold brew,” Seidy Selivanow said.

Kafiex first introduced its original cold brew, a smooth, chocolatey drink that won the People’s Choice award at Cold Brew Fest in 2018. Kafiex is also releasing an Ethiopia cold brew (which won the Judge’s Choice award at Cold Brew Fest last year) and an oat-milk latte.

Thatcher’s Coffee and Relevant Coffee have also joined the canned cold brew game. Thatcher’s has cold brew cans along with a variety of pre-made caffeinated beverages like their super popular honey vanilla latte, chai latte, and Earl Grey tea latte. The lattes come with choice of milk or Oatly oat milk. Thatcher’s cold brew is made with Thatcher’s Blend from Roseline Coffee. The cherry, almond and cocoa notes typical of this blend really shine when cold brewed.

Relevant Coffee has a variety of cold-brew coffees in cans, as well as a couple of latte choices. It isn’t just coincidence that Thatcher’s and Relevant offered can drinks around the same time. Relevant owner Mitch Montgomery talked about canning cold brew with Jamie Erdman of Thatcher’s, and they both rented their canning equipment from Bader Beer & Wine Supply. Relevant offers a few different types of cold brew for various moods and palates.

The Main Street is Relevant’s staple blend. It tastes of chocolate and caramel with just a bit of acidity to contrast with the other flavors. There are also two single origin cold brews: Mexico and Ethiopia. The Mexico also has notes of chocolate, but lacks the bit of acidity found in the Main Street.

“When I think of cold brew, this fits the bill of mild and not too crazy,” Montgomery said. The Ethiopia cold brew is for someone seeking a variety of flavors not normally associated with cold brew like floral, citrus and berry. It’s perfect for coffee drinkers who like the complexity of an Ethiopian coffee or lightly roasted beans.

Relevant also has cans of Oatly lattes — plain or with their piloncillo house syrup. Piloncillo is an unrefined whole-cane sugar that adds a burnt caramel flavor to food and drinks. Montgomery uses Oatly oat milk in his to-go lattes because he feels it pairs well with coffee and has a nice heavy body.

The cold brew at Relevant sells out quickly. The best way to keep up with new releases is to follow Relevant on Instagram and Facebook. If you miss out on the next release, cans of Relevant cold brew are available at Little Conejo and Vinnie’s Pizza.

Paper Tiger has also jumped into the canned cold-brew fray. The coffee shop uses an Ethiopian Sidamo bean, steeps it in water for 24 hours and then triple filters it to create a smooth coffee with full flavor.

The result is a light-bodied cold brew with crisp berry and citrus flavors balanced out with a touch of chocolate flavor.

It’s impossible to guess what coffee shop culture in Vancouver will look like in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll return to airy coffee shops to sip our lattes and daydream while surrounded by the chatter of others. For now, there are a lot of great canned options for a well-crafted caffeinated beverage at home.

Cold Brew

Kafiex
Where: 720 Esther St., Vancouver.
Details: Recently reopened for takeout from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, with online ordering at www.kafiex.com/shop.
Thatcher’s Coffee
Where: 104 Grand Blvd., Suite 100, Vancouver.
Details: Currently taking weekly orders (https://thatchers-coffee.square.site; 360-258-0571) through Sunday for Wednesday pick up at the store. Working on reopening.
Relevant Coffee
Where: 1703 Main St., Suite A, Vancouver.
Details: Order at https://relevantcoffee.square.site or 360-319-5773. Recently reopened for takeout from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters
Where: 703 Grand Blvd., Vancouver.
Details: Takeout from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; www.papertigercoffee.com and 360-553-7900.
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