As we launched our NITROBOX to our online shop, we sat down to talk story with William Davis, founder of VitaliTea and cold brew lover, about developing our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee and Kyoto Style Brewing.
Will, how did you first get into cold brew coffee?
I started making cold brew coffee a few years ago and was lucky to have the support of several local Maui coffee roasters offering me the opportunity to experiment with several different blends. I tried 100% Maui coffees & blends of Maui, Columbian, Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and more. I cold-brewed them under different temperatures and times & variations of concentration levels. I eventually spent time trying different levels of roast and increased the coarseness of the grind until I felt, through tastings and feedback, that we had the perfect combination. We then continued to make changes and evolve our immersion style process until... I discovered “Kyoto Style” Cold Brewing!
Sounds like a break through moment! What exactly is "Kyoto Style" and how does it compare to Immersion Style Brewing?
It's arguably the oldest form of cold-brewing coffee, originating in Kyoto, Japan around the 1600’s. Our system sprays a computer-controlled, fine mist of UV filtered water over the entire bed of coffee grounds, becoming saturated as it rinses the flavor compounds from the coffee. You see, 'Immersion Style' is like using a large French Press. Coffee grounds hold approximately twice their weight in water. When you brew using immersion, the grounds end up floating in full-strength coffee water. So the water that’s stuck to them is FULL-STRENGTH COFFEE. And it’s getting thrown away. Up to 32% of the coffee is being discarded! It used to be painful for me to watch that thick concentrate being left behind after we emptied the tanks, just knowing there had to be a better way!
Kyoto Style is not only much more efficient, but allows us to extract only the flavor compounds we want in our coffee and leave the rest behind. We didn’t have that kind of control with immersion style, since everything is mixed together for the entire length of brew time. We also discovered there is a point of over extraction at which the coffee turns bitter and are able to stop the brew, prior to this, another aspect we couldn’t control with immersion style. One of the most noticeably amazing features of Kyoto Style brewing is how the entire bed of coffee grounds acts like a “lauter tun” (used in traditional beer brewing), and becomes a filter to remove all of the “chalky” fine particulates that slip past filtration equipment needed for immersion style.
I still am amazed at the clarity, richness and smoothness of our coffee and impressed that we can leave behind all of the sediment that used to collect at the bottom of the cup, lending to an increase in quality and freshness!
Besides improving quality and efficiency, are there more benefits to Kyoto Style?
Yes, especially talking about food safety. Cold Brew coffee is considered by the FDA as a low-acid canned food and must be treated very carefully, under a different set of rules. While we take a serious approach to food safety, by not only pulling random samples to be tested by a third party lab and have performed extensive and involved shelf-life testing (also by third party food labs), the drastically shortened brewing time of Kyoto Style, allows us to get the coffee into a chilled, nitrogen-purged, safe environment very quickly!
Mahalo, Will! Is there anything else you'd like to share with our community?
I truly hope you are getting the opportunity to try our Nitro Cold Brew and enjoy the passion and aloha we’ve put into our “Hapa Blend” and you can rest assured we’re always working hard to make sure it’s the best!