THE JOY OF DISCOVERY: FINDING THE NEXT BEST COFFEE CONCOCTION

One of my favorite things about the coffee-making process is the act of discovery. Thirty years ago, I tossed together some beans from Central America, some from South America, and a handful of Indonesian, before turning on the heat of my very first roaster. What resulted was the Beacon Blend, our signature roast. It remains a House specialty to this day.

Beacon is truly an all-day coffee. Full-bodied, spicy, and crisp, Beacon is just as delicious first thing in the morning as it is late in the afternoon. With or without milk, piping hot or over ice, Beacon has become the most dependable (and beloved) standby at our coffee houses. So when we converted the Kennesaw church into our own cold brew roastery, there was little debate about which coffee blend we would use for our canned cold brew.

Still, I never lost that passion for discovering new gems. We've come up with some spectacular blends over the years, just by playing around with beans from different regions, and by manipulating heat and roasting time. Some of our newer blends have even challenged Beacon's supremacy on our menu. Let's take a look at what else is brewing in the back.

Halo Blend

Halo is perfect for drinkers who prefer a medium blend. Bright, mellow, and with just a tad of sweetness, it embodies what we love most about Costa Rican coffee. Our customers have been drinking it hot since I first perfected the blend several years ago, but only recently I discovered the perfect way to incorporate it into our cold brew operation.

Certainly the mellow and sweet nature of Halo makes it an obvious candidate for cold brewing. But I recently had the idea of combining it with a twist of lemon, the way you'd mix lemonade and iced tea to make an Arnold Palmer. And boy, was it right on. Suddenly, I couldn't stop thinking about the taste of a Halo cold brew with a touch lemon juice and a touch cane sugar. It was heaven! Thus was born the Daydreamer, an exclusive cold brew product soon to hit our online store.

But the chemistry doesn't stop there. Behind the counter at our coffeehouses, we're always mixing flavors and blending beans, eager for the next delicious brew. Recently, we've been making our iced coffee even more decadent with the addition of a house-made cold cream. By whipping skim milk with a little sugar, we've created a cloud-like topper for our iced drinks, so sweet they are often downed in one sip.

Still, you don't need to be an expert barista to enjoy the fun of coffee chemistry. Anyone can go through the process of discovery right from home!

Try It Yourself

Making cold brew in your own kitchen is fairly easy—if you use the right ingredients. If you're ready to attempt some coffee alchemy, I'd suggest beginning with our old standard-bearer: Beacon Blend.

Order a bag (or a few) right from our online store, and you'll be set to start cold-brewing on your own. You're going to want a coarser grind, the kind you might use for French press coffee. For an ideal ratio, use 1 pound of coffee for every 1 gallon of water. Combine them in a container, and let it sit in the fridge for 18-24 hours. (Your coffee will be plenty strong even after 12 hours, but remember, the longer you let it brew, the stronger and more flavorful the result).

Once it's done extracting, filter out the grinds, and you'll have yourself a pitcher of cold brew concentrate. Fair warning: this coffee-colored liquid is overloaded with caffeine, so you'll need to dilute it. This is another chance for you to play around. Add a small amount of filtered water to see how you like it, then add more to taste. Alternatively, you can dilute it with ice or your preferred dairy.  Whichever way you end up enjoying your coffee, the cold brew concentrate is like a blank canvas; it's up to you to discover its potential by trying different add-ins and flavors.

For more inspiration, pop into one of our coffeehouses in Virginia-Highland or Candler Park. You never know what elixirs we'll be brewing.


-Doug