A Quick Look at Meta Coffee Roasting Co.’s Cold Brew

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It’s always exciting to find a new roaster here in Kansas City and Meta Coffee Roasting Co. is the most recent one I’ve found. Zach Tarhini started Meta earlier this year and his coffee has been for sale since June at the Brookside Farmers’ Market and Nature’s Own Health Market on Main St. in KCMO. I’ll be reviewing Meta’s organic Peruvian coffee in full next week, but when Zach dropped that off he left a little bottle of his cold brew on my doorstep, too, which is worthy of it’s own little review!

When I brought this bottle inside I got a little of it on my hands and, no kidding, I spent the next 20 minutes smelling my hand! LOL I just could not get over how outrageously good those couple drops of coffee smelled. I finally had room for the cold brew in my queue and I’m drinking it right now and it’s really nice. I don’t know how Zach makes this cold brew but I assume it’s steeped in batches over the course of a day or more because it has crazy, syrupy body and a mouthfeel that coats everything. I never get that from my cold brew tower and it’s a hallmark of this style of producing it.

That really sweet, super-low acidity, super chocolatey flavor I smelled on my hands is what this cold brew is all about. A lot of nuttiness comes out in this coffee, too, and the first few sips struck me as having lots of maple syrup flavor, something I pick up on frequently in cold brews that are steeped this way. The aftertaste lasts for miles and it’s like a nice dark chocolate in the finish. If you like to add a bit of cream or milk to your cold brew I think you’ll be in heaven with this one. It’s excellent!

In case you’ve been asleep for the past couple years, cold brewed coffee is ALL the rage these days. It’s simply everywhere. It’s convenient, it’s awesome in the summer, it’s actually easy to make at home with minimal equipment, it’s a fast drink to pick up on the go for people who dig that, you can put it in cool bottles with neat-o labels and artwork and sell it for a gigantic markup that coffee drinkers won’t bat an eye at… what’s not to like? LOL

Cold brewing (which is different from “iced coffee” that is usually hot-brewed over ice or cooled another way) basically involves coarse grinding coffee and using a lower ratio of coffee to water (think 1:7 coffee to water ratio instead of the 1:15 I would use for pourover), and then just steeping the grounds in room temperature (or in the fridge) water for 12-24 hours. Coffee science suggests this should taste sour and disgusting, but what happens during this time is that the water pulls out tons of sugars (probably why it tastes so sweet and syrupy and has that amazing mouthfeel) and not too much of the acidic compounds, which prefer higher brew temps. There is a wide range of temperatures where you will pull out lots of acids and less sugars and the coffee tastes horrible, but cold brew is outside of this range.

The results in the cup are exactly what I described in Meta Coffee Roasting Co’s organic Peru… thick, velvety body, lots of sweetness, low acidity. The acidity is probably the one “catch” for cold brew, that because it doesn’t pull the acids with it cold brewed coffee can be a bit flat and lacking in high notes and character. I think it works great for this coffee, but that’s why others in Kansas City like my buddies at Oddly Correct mess around with adding hops to their Hop! Toddy cold brew coffee, giving some acidity and liveliness back to the coffee. That works well, too!

Hopefully we’ll see bottles of Meta Coffee cold brew in stores and markets soon. Hear that, Zach? Set up a bottling line, I’m sure you have room for it! 🙂