Although cold brew is currently the hottest trend in coffee, not everyone is happy about that.
Jamie Cunningham, Sean Stewart and Nathanael Mehrens, the team behind Stay Golden Restaurant & Roastery, which is slated to open Aug. 13, as well as Steadfast Coffee, think the slow extraction of flavor results in a “stale, under-extracted coffee.” Instead, they brew their coffee with hot water and then flash-chill it to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which they say locks in the drink’s flavor.
Sam Penix, co-owner of three-unit Everyman Espresso in New York City, said cold brewing fails to let coffee express its true nature.
“I believe that the peak experience one can have with coffee is also linked to its origin,” he said in an email. “Cold brew tastes more like the brew method — it makes all coffees taste at best like stale chocolate and at worst like fermented dirt water.
“If my job is to share with you the glory of all the hard work that the supply chain invested in this product, then cold brew defeats the purpose.”
He said he once cold-brewed a mass-marketed canned coffee on a camping trip, “and I swear it could have passed for the finest specialty cold brew, so it does have its place. It can increase the perceived quality of lesser-quality crops,” but he added that cold brewing muted the personality of “the more interesting coffees.”
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