San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee may be onto the next big trend in coffee—a versatile cold coffee that comes from a keg.
If you begin to think about the mainstream consumer trends in coffee, two trajectories come to mind, first and foremost: cold brew and nitro. It’s, literally, everywhere— even around the corner at your smallest neighborhood bodega. Cold brew and nitro have become the new hot, ultra-luxe trend in the industry, much in the same tea businesses jumped on the matcha train.
So, where does the coffee industry go from here? Well, for one, San Francisco’s own Four Barrel has been hard at work perfecting their own concoction— something that is, frankly, a far cry from traditional cold brew.
This “not cold brew” begins life as, in fact, hot coffee that then quickly goes through a relatively secret process, cooling it down without any intrusion of oxygen or other diluting agents. The result, alas, is a liquid that’s flavorful and tastes sinfully rich and, dare we say, creamy.
Something you’ll notice immediately as you sip Four Barrel’s cold coffee is how well it mirrors the flavor profile of a freshly steeped cup of coffee—a difficult feat in itself. Even a sublime cold brew often falls short of mimicking those exact flavors afforded by a piping-hot cup of coffee.
Four Barrel is exclusively using sweet, seasonal, fully washed high-elevation Arabica coffees from East Africa, resulting in only bright, clean, crisp coffees.
Another jewel of this “not cold brew” coffee is found in its versatility. While Four Barrel's nitro-brew obviously makes for a delicious cup of straight-black cold coffee , you can quite easily heat the coffee up an electric kettle or over a stovetop to return it to it’s original hot state. Magic, right?
Unlike cold brew, this doesn’t require any water dilution. It can also be injected with nitrogen to create a luscious, creamy, nitro cold coffee.
Four Barrels now cold coffee claim to fame can be ordered in different types of kegs— Houdini (body-driven, sweet, syrupy), Limelight (a bright, floral, and fruity, light-roast), and Nitro (their Houdini offering injected with nitrogen). You can find Four Barrel’s new cold coffee at The Mill and their cafes in the Mission District and Portola Neighborhood. Namu Stonepot, the Lee Brothers of Namu Gaji’s soon-to-open fast casual concept on Divisadero, will also be stocking kegs of cold deliciousness— the first restaurant in San Francisco to have the “not cold brew” on tap and readily flowing for the masses.
// For more information on Four Barrel’s cold coffee elixir and their other offerings, visit them here to find your nearest caffeinated outlet.
A transplant from Hawaii, Ashley grew up in the food and hospitality industries, and is on a mission to expand her knowledge in every aspect of these industries. Her passions outside her day-job include writing, photography, cooking just about everything, and eating and drinking her way around the Bay Area.