Snapchilling Is Our New Favorite Way to Drink Coffee
As soon as temperatures rise, many of us divide into two opposing camps: team cold brew, and team iced coffee. To throw this rivalry into flux, Elemental Beverage Co., a coffee company based out of the greater Boston area, is introducing a third option to the mix: team snapchilled.
Snapchilling, a technology developed by MIT alumnus David Dussault, is a process that takes coffee from hot to very, very cold in mere minutes. “You use cold water to extract coffee for cold brew, but cold water doesn’t do a good job of extracting flavor,” says Ryan McDonnell, Elemental Beverage Co.’s Chief Coffee and Tea Officer. “Pouring coffee over ice dilutes it and if you leave it in the fridge, it oxidizes very quickly, like a brown apple versus a fresh apple.” McDonnell says that by brewing coffee hot and chilling it afterwards, his team is able to preserve and enhance flavors in ways that simply aren’t possible otherwise.
Currently, Elemental Beverage Co., offers three flavors of canned snapchilled coffee (with soothingly minimalist branding created by Chen Design Associates in San Francisco). The Kayanza from Burundi has fruity flavors that are “direct and sweet with notes of raspberry preserves, an underlying lemon candy tartness, and a floral lilac finish.” The San Alejo from Colombia has notes of peanut butter, maple syrup, and candied orange, while the Ethiopian Kolla Bolcha is a juicy blend of watermelon, lavender, and honey notes.
For coffee aficionados with cash to spare, there’s the Founder’s Selection Gesha, a 750 ml bottle that retails for $235. “Gesha is a different variety of coffee from Ethiopia,” McDonnell explains. “It has crazy flavors like tropical fruit or floral rose or lavender. It’s very low yield and is a very sensitive plant.” To source the bottle, the company teamed up with with Ninety Plus Gesha Estates founder Joseph Brodsky, who chose this particular coffee with flavors of “super-ripe strawberries, pink lemons, crisp apples, and smooth cognac.” McDonnell likens the Gesha to a bottle of grand cru wine in that it’s best enjoyed over the course of just a couple of days once uncorked.
Currently, Elemental Beverage Co.’s offerings are only available to order directly online, but Boston locals can visit the brand’s summer pop-up location in the Back Bay. Snapchillers—sleek, $6,000 machines that turn hot coffee into smooth, chilled cups at a rate of twelve ounces per minute—are also currently available at George Howell, and CEO Jonathan Chen says that he’s working on getting into Starbucks, as well as locally-owned independent roasteries across the Northeast, like Ipswich’s Little Wolf Coffee Roasters.