Cold coffee is suddenly hot. Not sat-in-the-pot-all-day cold coffee, but purposefully cold-brewed coffee. And now Denver's Corvus Coffee is taking it up a notch -- bringing beer lovers and coffee lovers together by adding hops to its cold brew. See also: First Look: Corvus Coffee opening in new space today
The convenience factor of cold-brew coffee is helping to push its popularity with customers. There's no grinding, no brewing, no waiting for the coffee to cool. In fact, there's no wait time at all. The temperature also makes it a suitable drink all day, rather than just in the morning.
But it does take longer to make the coffee. According to Corvus roastmaster Phil Goodlaxson, the Hopped Cold Brew brews for fourteen hours. "In coffee -- just like any chemical reaction -- heat is just a catalyst," he explains. "It just speeds up whatever is going to happen, anyway. You can brew coffee without heat; it just takes longer."
Corvus had already been working on their cold brew for two years when Goodlaxson had the idea to add whole-cone hops to the recipe. Corvus roasters had already been collaborating with breweries to add coffee flavors to beer, and when they offered samples of Corvus Hopped Coffee at the South Denver Beer Festival, they got a good response.
Corvus actually uses beer kettles to brew the hopped coffee. "Using beer equipment has been really helpful because brewers brew on a huge scale, whereas we roast on a huge scale and then brew on a small scale; there's no coffee production equipment that can brew on a large scale," Goodlaxson explains. "Our relationship with brewers has been really helpful in that as well."
Corvus not only brews the coffee in-house, it also roasts the beans there, makes the labels and bottles the hopped cold brew.
The ingredients list for Corvus Hopped Coffee is short: filtered water, coffee and hops. This also means that the shelf life is short -- about thirty days, Goodlaxson says -- but for now Corvus is willing to sacrifice life span for simple ingredients and a (fairly) simple process. "We treat our coffee as perishable, and so it's the same thing, it's another perishable product," Goodlaxson says. "We're just going to have it while it's fresh and when it expires, it expires."
Corvus Hopped Coffee isn't for cream and sugar lovers -- the brewing process brings out the bitter flavors of both coffee and hops, and the hops also add a slightly citrusy punch. But the drink has quickly found fans: In the first week it was available this month, Corvus sold over 500 bottles. Goodlaxson plans to follow up with a seasonal Single Origin Cold Brew that will be a rotating cold coffee, and then add cold-brewed dried coffee cherry tea (Cascara Cold Brew).
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Corvus has a relationship with Whole Foods, which carries its whole bean coffee; Goodlaxson is hoping to get Corvus Hopped Coffee into stores as well. But for now you can get the new drink, as well as the rest of the Corvus coffee line, at the coffee bar and roastery on South Broadway.