Love Coffee but it is too hot for that steaming cup of Cappuccino or Filter Kappi these days? Try the Cold Brew Coffee by Flying Squirrel, it is Coffee for Summer ! Read the post to know what cold brew is about and other stuff we learnt in the coffee workshop at Flying Squirrel. I have been hooked since, you will be too !
I have had a love hate relationship with Coffee for a very long time. There used to be a time when I used to drink many mugs of coffee through the day and like many of us, would open my eyes only when a steaming cup would be next to my bedside. And then a few years ago I realised that I am allergic to coffee. A single cup of coffee would induce migraine and acid reflux to an extent that I would lose two full days to it. I spent a couple of horrible years depriving myself of coffee because of this. And then I met someone who had gone through the exact same thing and told me that it is not coffee – it is CHICORY!!! I didn’t know whether to jump up and down in joy or curse the time I spent away from my beloved coffee.
And then started the struggle to find chicory less coffee. Most of south Indian filter coffee and instant coffee has a decent amount of chicory. I went to those Coorg Coffee shops and asked them to grind chicory less coffee for me, they would give me that what the hell is wrong with this girl look and then grind it for me eventually. But it was a constant struggle, till the artisian coffee brands like Flying Squirrel and others came to existence. It was as if they understood exactly what I wanted!
The Flying Squirrel was founded in 2013 by Ashish D’Abreo, Tej Thammaiah and Phalgun Chidanand. I have been drinking Flying Squirrel coffee for a while now and then a few months ago I heard about the roastery they opened in Kormangala called The Flying Squirrel Micro Roastery and Café. I have been a regular there for a while now, going in the morning and spending a day working at the cafe while having good coffee by the side. The café has a space for on-site roasting, experimenting with brewing techniques, trying out experimental blends, and of course retail of coffee and coffee related equipment, alongside serving some great brews and grub.
Some of us were invited to sample their Cold Brew Coffee and learn how to make it (errr a while ago). It was an afternoon full of laughter and much knowledge exchange on coffee, the way it is grown and brought to your cup. A full bean to cup workshop in a way.
At the Flying Squirrel estate, they grow their coffee among Citrus trees, vanilla and other spices. The beans absorbs some of the aroma and flavour of these plants and alters it’s flavour profile in a subtle way. At the time of harvest, which is usually 7 months cycle for Arabica & 9-10 months for Robusta, coffee cherries are carefully handpicked and assessed on ripeness, size and colour. Only the best make it into the Picker’s basket and that is how they assure that every bean that gets grounded is of top notch quality.
And then comes in the expert, who decides what process will each cherry go through in order to yield the best body, aroma and flavour. Depending on what flavour you want the cherries are pulped, semi-pulped, mildly fermented, sun-dried on brick yards. They have various variations available for the customer namely Clouds in My Coffee – processed naturally, using sea-side moisture-saturated air to create a distinctive bold, deep flavour ; Aromatique – a select Arabica single-estate, naturally processed coffee with mild sweetness and an almost wine-like rounded acidity; Parama – a full-bodied, perfectly balanced coffee with a lining of bitter sweet bright nuances that envelope the cup; Sattva – a single-estate, wholly organic Arabica bean coffee has all the qualities of a great Arabica, and provides a clean, delicious cup of coffee; Sun- Kissed – a single-estate coffee, is processed using the Pulp Sun-drying method resulting in a fruity brew.
The Cold Brew Coffee blend contains Honey Sun Dried Arabica along with some Arabica Peaberry, which is roasted to a medium-light roast. This slow roasting delays caramelisation of the bean sugars until the very last few moments of the roast intensifying the flavour of the coffee.
In the session that we had we tasted various blends to understand the different flavour profiles. We also tasted both the traditional hot brew (the pour over coffee, french press and the filter coffee are all hot brews) and then compared it with the Cold Brew Coffee.
As hipster as it sounds now, Cold Brew coffee has been existing from 1600’s known to have originated in Japan. In it’s current avatar, Cold brew technique is the immersion and filter. Cold water is poured over roasted and ground coffee and let to sit in the refrigerator for about 12-14 hours. After which it is filtered and is ready to drink. The brew or the decoction stays good for upto a week though remember to store it in an airtight container, since coffee absorbs flavours & aromas very fast. The ideal ratio for Cold Brew coffee is 1:4, i.e. for for 250 grams of coffee we need to use 1000 ml of chilled water.
The reason Cold Brew as a technique is picking up so much is the because it draws out the natural sweetness of the roast very well and at the same keeps the the acidity and bitterness in check. It really is a win-win ! It is also perfect for your summer cold coffee. A few ice cubes, a little milk or condensed milk if you want to make the Vietnamese version of coffee, may be a scoop of ice cream if you are feeling indulgent. And it is the perfect dose of caffeine.
While I fell in love with the idea of cold brew coffee (and we have been drinking it every day !), my mind somehow kept going back to the Cold Coffee with Citrus Bloom that they serve. I requested Ashish if he could make that for me with cold brew instead of the traditional brew he uses and he obliged. And I am glad I asked because it turned out to be the favourite of not just mine but many folks there. So much so that I now order a glass of that as whenever I am at Flying Squirrel.
We also tasted the Nitro brew, while we were there. Nitro brew is a technique where cold-brew coffee is infused with nitrogen gas released through a pressurised valve with tiny holes. The high pressure forces the cold brew past a disc creating a silky creamy, stout-like effect. It is actually similar to the technique brewer’s used for beer! I loved it as well, though fair warning a glass in the morning has be buzzing till the night.
And here is the scene from our lunch post the happy brewing session. I have to say for a coffee centric cafe, Flying Squirrel serves some very good food. So even if coffee is not really your cup of tea (pun intended) it is a place worthy of a visit for food.
And oh, at the end of the session there was a cold brewing kit which was given to us. Needless to say I have put it to good use. Apart from drinking coffee I have some interesting recipes coming up with that. Stay tuned !