Following the flaming hot mess that was 2020, a new cold-concerned company called Cool Crafted Beverage has emerged in Seattle, offering commercial cold coffee brewing and creative co-packing.
Inside a 6,000-square-foot production facility in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, a group of wholesale, quality control and coffee education specialists is finding a new flow in cold brew. They hope to bring some vibrancy to cold brew, both in terms of flavor and the way it’s presented through co-packing.
“When you talk about co-packing or manufacturing, in my mind that’s very steel-oriented and cold,” Cool Crafted Beverage Founder and CEO Torsten Gohre recently told Daily Coffee News.
Gohre, former head of wholesale for the Vibe Coffee Group, parent company for Seattle-area companies Whidbey Coffee and Victrola Coffee Roasters, said that Cool Crafted Beverage (CCB) opened in the Georgetown neighborhood in large part because it wants to be more connected to the specialty coffee community, rather than being seen as merely a manufacturer or service provider.
“I’d love to have baristas come down and learn our process, and not everyone has a car; they may ride a bicycle or catch a bus,” said Gohre. “We want to make sure that we bring internal education to the roasters’ entire team, so that they can eloquently, confidently talk about their cold brew program. And maybe this is a pie-in-the-sky dream, but I’d love for a roaster to say, ‘We’re not the experts in this; we do hot brewed coffee excellently; these guys help us with our program,’ and have us come in and talk about it.”
Working alongside Gorhe at CCB is head brewer Grayson Hurd; sales and account manager Spenser Jarvis; and quality control and beverage development manager Shae Stanley.
In production, CCB uses a Kyoto or Dutch-like “active extraction” slow cold brewing procedure, applying its own recipe of precisely remineralized water as mist upon a column of ground coffee through which liquid slowly extracts and passes.
In the temperature-controlled warehouse, the approximately 4-hour brewing procedure occurs in tanks that are about 3 feet wide and 6 feet tall, after freshly roasted and rested whole bean coffees are ground by CCB’s Mahlkönig grinders. Kegging, canning and bag-in-box packaging also occurs on site, after which the product is maintained in an unbroken cold chain delivery system that doesn’t involve the commercial sterilization process known as retorting.
“In my mind, cold chain is the best way to enjoy cold brew. It doesn’t go through the retort,” said Gohre. “While there are good products out there that are retort, my opinion is cold chain is the best because it really preserves the inherent quality of the coffee bean, and you can bring that forward in different ways of cold brewing it.”
From 150 pounds of coffee, CCB makes about 90 cases of 24 cans of finished brew, typically turning around orders within as little as three days. Currently Gohre said the equipment on site can condition up to 1,200 gallons at a time, with plenty of room in the facility for growth into additional equipment as required by demand.
“Roasters buy these amazing coffees from around the world, from these farmers that have worked so hard to get it to us, and then you make a beautiful single-origin espresso or a latte or a drip coffee,” said Gohre. “However it is your customers want to drink it, you can showcase that beautiful quality of their coffee. I want that. That’s what we want to do, on the cold brew side. We strive to be the best that we can be on the West Coast and however big we can grow.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.