As I travel the world on my Global Beer Quest, I have to pay for my beers somehow. To do this I have been freelance writing articles online for beer money. Usually it’s about weird things like best vacuum cleaners, or outlet shopping. Recently though I had to write about coffee and its various new trends. In the research process, I was shocked to discover that baristas are stealing craft beer techniques.
Ok bear with me, this is the most tenuous link to craft beer.
Any good brewer knows that the water you start with can transform your beer completely. Different styles need different mineral compositions to achieve particular flavours.
Apparently, baristas have come up with the same idea, realising that water can change the flavour of their coffee. They are customising the water they use to the extent that they use different mineral profiles with different beans and roasts.
I know, it seems like they might have come up with it on their own. I can accept that, but there’s more.
This is absolutely idea theft from the craft beer world. Stout (and often other styles now) drinkers are familiar with a nitro tap. The nitro tap dispenses with a mix of carbon dioxide and nitrogen instead of just carbon dioxide. The inclusion of the nitrogen produces much smaller gas bubbles. These eventually coalesce into a creamy and velvety head.
Espresso coffee is known for the golden crema forming on top of the coffee. The pressure of the espresso machine emulsifies the coffee oils to form this crema. Cold press coffees don’t get this as there is no extra pressure in the process. The solution has been to use a nitro tap which produces a crema, of sorts in cold press coffee.
Blatant idea theft?
It gets worse.
I guess this could be considered payback for all the breweries making stouts, porters and other dark beers that have incorporated coffee into their brew. Some coffee roasters have started incorporating hop flavours into cold press coffee and bottling it. The dried hop flowers are added when the cold press is steeped. This gives hop flavour and aroma, without of the bitterness (dry hopping, right?). Corvus Coffee have favoured cascade hops for the citrus and floral notes they impart.
I guess if I crave a beer in the morning (Don’t worry. It doesn’t happen often) I have some coffee options to fool myself and wake up a bit in the process.
Overall it’s unsurprising that baristas would see what’s working in craft beer and apply it to coffee. It doesn’t mean I should like it. But honestly, I love stuff like this. I think this kind of innovation is exciting.
What do you think? Would you drink a hopped coffee?