about beans and booze



Nitro Brew’s NitroBrew

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

Cold Coffee isn’t the same thing anymore. People drink it by choice. And they like it. Even the big coffee company with the mermaid got this one.

As wouldn’t this be crazy enough (Cold coffee?  Whaat??) a couple of forward thinking guys thought to themselves why not put it into a barrel, charge it with some nitro and serve it on tap? Saves time, money and looks cool. Et voila, Nitro Cold Brew Coffee was born.

 

In detail Nitro Cold Brew is basically cold extracted coffee which is filled in a tap system. The coffee filled barrel is set under pressure by charging it with nitrogen. More than this you need a special stout spout on your tap. This contains a very small perforated plate which causes very fine swirls what results in the nice frothy head and silky mouthfeel you know and love from your Guiness.

This results in a fruitier and fresher but also creamier and richer cup of coffee.

So far you only have been able to have a taste of nitro if you were the lucky owner of a tap system.

A small company from the US of A  named, surprisingly suitable, “NitroBrew“ tried to solve this problem by inventing a way more handy tool. The result is a little gadget of the same name which allows you to prepare single serves of nitro brew by order while being less expensive and far more space-saving than every tap.

I had the chance to give it a try so here are my results.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

Scope of supply

The home kit includes everything you need to get started. A kettle, a compressor with nitrogen filter and pressure control, a charging station, a flexible tube and some double sided sticky tape. You can get the set starting from 355,- $ but it’s also possible to buy all parts separately.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

compressor and station

Manufacture

Compressor and the stainless steel kettle make a solid and good quality impression. Only the plastic handle of the kettle seems to quit its service if used too excessive. The instruction already mentions not to shake the kettle by holding the handle. The charging station is made out of plastic as well, but it doesn’t have to handle a lot of force so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

NB Charging Station

 

Set Up

A piece of cake. You can install everything without any additional tools. The tube connects charging station and compressor easily. If desired, you can apply the station with the sticky tape on top or underneath your counter. Or you leave it as it is and stay flexible. As soon as the compressor is plugged in you’re good to go!

The maximum pressure for the kettle is 45psig. If needed you can change the preset pressure setting with a twist of your hand. You can also plug it to a nitro gas container. But therefore some additional tools will be needed.  Perfect for the next glamping trip in the middle of nowhere or a black out.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

Handling

As easy as the setup. Fill up the kettle with the liquid of your choice, close the lid and load it with nitro by pushing the valve into the charging station. Shake it for a couple of seconds while remembering not to use the handle. Done with that you’re ready to pour your nitro liquid into whatever you want to drink it from.

If you fill the kettle with about 12 oz of liquid the charging process will take around 20 Sec. The more liquid is in the kettle the faster it will charge. You might have to recharge it to sustain the same quality of foaminess.

I had no problems operating the system so far. The only thing that needs some help from time to time is the lid. If it is not put on very accurate, you’ll need to push it down a little to help building up the pressure and forcing the sealing to close tightly.

Cleaning…

…is also no issue. You can just nitro a little water to clean the valve and/or put it into the dishwasher.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

lid and kettle

 

Results

 

Beer:

One of Nitro Brews main arguments for a NitroBrew kettle is to nitro your favorite beer. Works perfectly fine! You only have to keep mind one little thing – If you force nitro in, you will force carbonation out. If you are the kind of drinker who likes a little sparkle you never should nitro your entire hoppy refresher. I preferred to keep 2/3 of my beer as it is and just using the rest to get the foamiliciousness. Same with everything else that bubbles.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

charging the kettle

 

Coffee:

Game maker number two – coffee. Nitro Cold Brew is, without any doubt, a great thing to do. Only little downside compared to a tap is the durability of foam and texture. The longer the coffee sits at the barrel and therefore is able to enrich itself with the nitro the better the result will get. We kept ours in for at least 24 hours to get satisfying results. This time is missing using the kettle. Even though the shaking speeds up the process.

For a quick shot of a single serve of nitro satisfaction it’s a great alternative though. Especially if you keep in mind the cost, space and maintenance issues that come along with a stationary tap.

If adding a little sugar or milk the durability of the foam already improves. A big advantage especially because milk beverages in a tap can be a pain. More than this you’re able to react on every customer request. Nitro Coldbrew? Here we go! Add a little Nitro Milk? Of course! Nitro Matcha Latte? Pfff…any challenges?

 

Cocktails:

From the view of a bartender this was the most interesting and most potential category for me.

I tested it with short and long drinks and have to admit that a Nitro Manhattan is a dangerously quaffable sip of straight booze.

If you add a little egg white or other emulsifiers like Xanthan Gum or ProEspuma you get a crazy creaminess and texture into your drink without shaking your arms off! You should definitely try a Nitro Pisco Sour or Ramos Fizz!

If you want to you can build up your drinks directly in the kettle, add ice and use it instead of your shaker. You have to shake it anyway. The only thing you should be really dainty with is not to let any solids like pulp, herbs or spices into the kettle. They will clog the valve immediately.

 

Other:

 

Basically you can nitro anything that’s liquid and under 120°F (50°C). Milkshakes, juices, wines, spirits,… and to think one step ahead – why not trying a Nitro-Gazpacho?

 

Conclusion:

The NitroBrew is a very versatile tool that only gives very few limitations to your creativity.

Even though it can’t reach a classic Nitro Tap in matter of durability and texture of the beverage and some small thinks that could be improved like the handle and the sealing mechanism its advantages are obvious if you look at costs, flexibility, space and handling.

Definitely an alternative tool that doesn’t has to hide!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee on the run

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

As a modern bartender or barista you probably spent a lot of your time on the road. Very often there are just a couple of hours between bed and bus. Thats why a good and strong coffee is a necessity you shouldn’t miss if you don’t want to feel an look like the walking dead.

But if you ever had to drink a coffee at the bus stop kiosk you might have experienced that this is a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Lucky, if you can do it yourself!

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled over a little gadget that helps solving the bad-coffee-crisis on your way from one job to the other. And that in a very versatile manner.

A Canadian company called ESPRO tried to solve the problem with their ESPRO Press. And in my mind they did well!

Looking like a regular steely french press its inner values are the ones that matter.

Your coffee gets filtered through a patented double micro filter which gets rid of all the annoying stuff that likes to stick between your teeth, while sustaining the full and rich coffee flavors and oils that you know and like from your french press.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

double micro filter

French Press or Pour over?

But even if you’re not a friend of french press coffee this little travel partner can help you out!

By adding an additional paper filter to the system to remove the finest particles and coffee oils you also have the option for a light, delicate, pour-over-like cup of coffee.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

additional Paper Filter

Skip the coffee. Let’s have some tea!

You want to skip the coffee for now and have a tea instead? No Problem! A optional tea strainer will do the job! Same deal here. Double micro filter. But in this case it sweeps all the leaves into an isolated chamber to stop the extraction at its peek. Done.

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

optional tea filter

To deliver the whole package a doubled wall of stainless steel will keep your lifesaving liquid warm for hours and probably survives one or the other drop from the table. Even though you shouldn’t wait that long to finish your hot drink…and don’t drop it, even though you could. But just don’t.

If you want to get your own one you have to spend around 34 €. Your tastebuds will appreciate it!

Save travels with good drinks! Cheers!

Kinda Americano

Brewing Bartender, Postfach 260264, 80059 München

Back from summer break and just in time for the perfect Aperitivo to start a warm late summer evening!

The „Kinda Americano“

Some of my bartender colleagues might know the problem if you get a Americano order at early evening. Coffee or cocktail? Why not both?

As simple as this drink might be as delicious it is! And the best part: you can do it at home like a piece of cake!

Ingredients:

1 oz Campari
1 oz coffee infused red vermouth*
2 oz Soda water
1 slice of Orange

Combine all ingredients over ice in a tumbler or longdrink glas and give it a gentle stir to keep the bubbles. Than squeeze and add the orange. Done.

Coffee Infusion

Basically produced like a cold brew coffee you just replace the water with a red vermouth of your choice.
Take 500 ml of vermouth with 30 grams of coarse ground coffee and let steep for 24 hr at room temperature. Than strain and keep refrigerated.
Almost every red Vermouth works out fine. Just take what you like or what is left over from your last party. I prefer Merwut, Dolin or La Quintinye.
Coffee wise you should stick with a spicy, full bodied coffee (e.g. from Columbia, Brasil or Guatemala). The more bitter your vermouth is the less dark roasted (and bitter) your coffee should be. Otherwise the overall bitterness can be a bit overpowering.

Tip:

If you had a long exhausting day and need something stronger just replace the soda water with sparkling wine or 1 oz of Bourbon or aged rum.

But now have a drink and enjoy the last warming sun rays of this summer and have fun mixing a Kinda Americano!

Golden Rush – Coffee meets Rum

Timon Kaufmann Brewing Bartender Munich

Coffee and Rum are a well known combination. Not only because they often share the same origin but also have a lot of aromas in common.

But if you put some citric acids into the game it can get tricky to find the right balance.

After all, if you use and mix coffee correctly it can create a wonderful refreshing and complex drink with many facets.

Ingredients:

60 ml (2 oz) Light Rum (e.g. Havana Club 3 años, Bacardi, Flor de Caña)

30 ml (1 oz) fresh lime juice

30 ml (1 oz) coffee syrup

1 sprig fresh mint

Shake all ingredients on ice and strain through a tea strainer into a coupette glas. Garnish with mint and lime and grate some fresh coffee on top of the drink.

the coffee:

The coffee of choice should be a light roast with a chocolaty and spice flavor profile (e.g. Columbia, Brasil or Guatemala). Dark roasts tend to become too bitter and cause a unpleasant and burned aftertaste in the drink.

the coffee syrup:

Bring 100 grams of sugar together with 100 grams of water to a boil and turn off the heat. Let it cool down for 1-2 minutes until the simple syrup reached a temperature of 90-94 °C (194-201 °F). Add 20 grams of medium coarse ground coffee (as you use for a french press) and let steep for 4 minutes. Strain through a fine tea strainer and let cool down.

The result should be a mild but not bitter syrup which supplies a nice but restrained coffee flavor.

This one works also perfectly fine in your Mojito, Old Fashioned, Breakfast Yoghurt and everything else your imagination brings up! So start playing!

Coffee beans belong to the fridge! …?

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A little guide on what to look for when buying coffee beans, how to tell which beans are of quality and how to store them at home.

buy coffee beans

Before buying, it is relatively difficult to impossible to recognize the quality of the bean itself.

However, the following indications suggest, that the producer has put in some effort to detail with the quality of his product:

  • The coffee is in a package with an „aroma valve“. This allows the coffee to outgas, but does not allow air back to the coffee (more on this later).
  • The date of roasting is specified. Coffee should ideally be consumed for a period between 1 to a maximum of 12 weeks after the roasting.
  • The origin or region of harvest is specified. Just as with wine different regions do bring different flavors to the taste.
  • The coffee costs more than 5 € / kg. Yes, quality costs. Even with coffee.

 

brewing bartender Postfach 260264 Munich 08924886821

recognize the quality

Did you find the bean of trust, you can now move on to the evaluation.

As relatively quickly and easy to determine, there are major differences in quality of the coffee. Some of these are not immediately obvious, while others may even recognize the loan immediately.

Before roasting mistakes in and with the beans are in general easier to identify. The darker the bean is roasted, the more difficult it is to designate the quality. Both visually and gustatory.

There is no uniform system of classification for coffee beans. This varies from country to country. But the process is mostly the same.

In general, a sample of 100-300 grams of processed but raw coffee is examined for spoilt beans. The errors are differentially evaluated. The strongest deductions are for foreign bodies in the green coffee, such as stones or branches. The number of defects is then added and the coffee classified by that. One of the most common classifications is the „Brazilian Classification“ in which the beans are referred to the „Type“, in which Type 2 (up to 4 defects) is the highest quality level and type 8 (360+ defects) represents the lowest quality level.

At home you can verify the quality at least fundamentally, by controlling the beans on the following:

  • Single estate coffee beans should have all the same size. If this is not the case, the beans are roasting unevenly, which means that the beans are partly over- or under-roasted. In a blend, a mix of different beans, this is not the method to go as the beans are often roasted separately from each other and not mixed until after the roasting.
  • Following this you should consider whether the roasted bean color is uniform. This means that all beans should have approximately the same color. If this is not the case that also suggests an uneven roasting.
  • The beans should have no apparent damage. Holes in the bean = insect infestation – not good. Broken beans – not good. moldy beans – not good at all!
  • The beans should have a uniform appearance, so no deformed beans, or „empty shells“.

Even with high quality coffee it is possible that sometimes wrong beans do find their way in the bag. The better the quality, the less you should find.

There are coffee enthusiasts who control their coffee before consuming again – manually bean per bean. But when taking this time you really have to love your coffee a lot.

Arabica or Robusta, as often wrongly assumed, is no statement about the quality of the bean. These are two different types of coffee, which differ greatly in flavor. Whereby the Arabica is more demanding and more versatile in its flavors.

However, there are very good Robusta beans and poor Arabica beans. Therefore a 100% Arabica is not necessarily good and a coffee with Robusta share or even a 100% Robusta coffee is not necessarily bad.

That would be like comparing wine with beer and saying beer is of inferior quality, because the variety of flavors is not as great as with wine. Especially in Bavaria it is likely to encounter little enthusiasm with such a statement.

At the end of the day it’s a matter of personal taste.

storage

Coffee beans belong to the fridge! Assuming you want to free your refrigerator of unpleasant odors and flavor your coffee with them. So who is into Gouda in the coffee cup, should do just that!

However, to all other readers I suggest to forget about it.

Coffee is hygroscopic, which means that he attracts moisture and with that odors from its environment. Accordingly it does not belong in fridges.

Instead, it is best to leave it in its resealable package and store it in a dry, cool and dark place. In the kitchen cupboard to be concrete.

If possible coffee should always be stored as a whole bean. Ground coffee has an enlarged surface and loses extremely fast at aroma. In the air it has already lost a not inconsiderable part of its flavors after only 20 minutes.

durability

Like all foods even coffee has a limited life expectation.

He does not spoil when stored for too long, but loses much of its aroma, becomes rancid and developes unpleasant flavors up to the point when it is inedible.

As a whole bean, stored properly, it can be kept for 2-3 months, but even in this period, the quality deteriorates constantly, but within reasonable limits.

In powdered form, it should be consumed within a few days. The earlier the better.

Vacuuming does not help with quality, since this reduces the outgassing and the coffee aromas thus can not develop properly. Is the coffee too fresh, a vacuum bag even tends to explode.

Why? Immediately after roasting it is not yet operational. By roasting chemical processes are set in motion which ensure that the coffee releases CO2 after the roasting. This process causes the coffee to release a lot of gases at once if it gets in contact with hot water. Thus the water can not get to the coffee, resulting in a under extracted, bland cup. Depending on the roast and bean the coffee should be left alone for 3-10 days to outgas and to be able to fully develop its flavor.

This leads us to an approximate time frame from the 7th day up to 3 months.

Now 2 things should be clear::

  1. The date of roasting on the package is always of interest.
  2. Devices which roast, grind and brew the coffee in the same minute are nothing more than a new marketing gimmick by these „I-did-study-something-with-media“ specialists.

In the event that you know in advance that the 5 kilos of coffee that you purchased in the intoxication of enthusiasm at the last Coffee House visit, will be sufficient for longer than 3 months, there is still an escape.

Freeze the bean.

Thus the flavors can again preserve a lot longer. Here, however, you should definitely make sure to grind the beans in a frozen state and only to take out the amount you need. Once the coffee is defrosting it is the same with an ice-cold can of Coca Cola, again the unpleasant problem with the moisture occures and you can confidently carry out the defrosted coffee to the organic waste.

Now you should be ready to recognize a good coffee making the next shopping a little easier. Then have fun shopping and drinking coffee!

 

 

(Nitro) Coffee Lemonade

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When the temperature rises around you, you are looking forward when it sinks in your glass for compensation. An ice-cold, refreshing lemonade on hot days therefore often is more welcomed than a steaming hot filter coffee.

For all of you despite the weather still looking for their little caffeine boost and not want to drink the Coldbrew must try a nitro coffee lemonade. A smooth combination of filter coffee, lemon juice and elderflower syrup. Does not work? Oh boy it does!

Who does not want the trouble making the lemonade in their own kitchen is welcomed in the Standl20. For the rest of you, here is the recipe.

As a base we use a fruity Iced Brew.

For this the coffee of choice is brewed directly over ice cubes or better yet, crushed ice. This has the effect that the oxidative process, which the coffee is exposed to after the brewing starts, is slowed down by the cooling and the coffee thereby retains its sparkle. Accordingly, it should be mentioned that the cold coffee which was sitting on the stove since 8:00 am in the morning is not suitable. Unless you are into bitter, stale filter coffee.

the coffee

In this case I have chosen a light roasted Kenyan coffee.

To produce a liter of coffee you will need:

  • 60 grams of coffee, coarsely grounded (about the size of Quinoa)
  • 750 gr / ml of water at 94 ° C, filtered
  • 250 gr / ml of ice
  • coffee filter
  • 2 large measuring cup, or the like

Pour the coffee into the cup and then add the hot water. After 3 minutes, break the crust of coffee with a spoon so that the flour is lowered to the ground. Then pour the coffee through the filter directly into the second measuring cup on the ice.

If you want to you can pour the coffee directly over the ice, or you let the coffee machine do the job but both need a little bit more defined settings on your grind. So that is left to your own skills and the time you have.

If everything was done correctly, the result is a cold, a bit acidic and fruity coffee.

the coffee lemonade

You will need:

  • 1 Liter Iced Brew see above
  • Juice of 3 lemons, about 100-120 ml
  • 100-250 ml elderflower syrup, I recommend D´arbo, which is available at most supermarkets

 

Optional, to go Nitro:

  • Siphon for whipped cream with 2 nitrogen capsules

Pour the lemon juice into the coffee and season everything with elderflower syrup. Depending on how much lemon juice is used, and how sour / fruity the coffee is, you have to adapt the amount of syrup. Normally, it is a bit more than the amount of lemon juice used.

But in the end it’s like cooking. Just taste and decide by yourself when it is sweet enough. Done.

do it Nitro

If you now want to give some texture to it, you can fill the lemonade into a cream siphon and charge it with 2 nitrogen or cream chargers (same same). The high pressure ensures that the lemonade gets a consistency like a creamy Guinness. However, it must be ensured that the lemonade is freed of all the pulp previously, otherwise they will clog the valve from the siphon and it will leak!

Who does not have a siphon at hand, simply fills the batch in a large carafe with ice cubes and decorat it with a few lemon or orange wheels and a sprig of mint.

tip for BBQ and lake-goers:

If you fill the whole in a plastic bottle (!) and freezes it, you have a cooling at hand all day!

But please leave some space in the bottle, if you do not want to mess in the freezer. Water expands when it freezes, which gets even steel to burst.

For some joy in the glass, the whole thing can be extended by a few drops of gin or sweet wine …;)

Thus, the summer may finally come. At least you are well prepared now regarding the perfect drinks!

 

That „fruity coffee“ thing

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For many fruity coffee and the acid involved feels very chaotic and unfamiliar.

Full bearded guys in lumberjack shirts are raving about flavors like raspberry, blueberry, apple, lemon and everything else you can find on a fruit market.

Then you finally try the it and what does it taste like? Coffee.. or so… we guess.

The majority of us have learned at home, that coffee has to be strong, black and bitter. Filter coffee is more of dubious quality. And the tough dudes do drink it black or all others add sugar and milk.

Therefore, at this point a few words from someone who is usually fully bearded and sometimes is even wearing a lumberjack shirt.

 

Coffee ranks as the most aromatic food ever. A small bean contains over 1000 different flavors. Depending on how you process the bean, you can tickle it out of her.

The field of flavors is quite extensive, therefore only this:

Flavors are specific smells and tastes caused by chemical substances or compounds.

In nature, so far around 10,000 different favors have been identified and with practice one can distinguish a few 1000 of them.

Accordingly, if the right combination of chemical compounds hits on a few of our 10 million olfactory cells, it may remind us of grandma’s apple pie, the favorite perfume or freshly brewed coffee.

Many substances share similar or identical compounds, resulting in the instance, that a glass of rum offers tastes of vanilla, banana and chocolate, without ever coming into contact with it.

Conclusion: A coffee that tastes of apples was not necessarily blended with apple juice.

 

what is the difference between acid and fruit?

Let’s stay with apples for a second and illuminate the difference between acid and fruit.

The distinction between these flavors is not always easy but a small hint is very helpful.

For „fruit“ one can think of biting into a juicy, ripe, sweet Golden Delicious. The apple tastes fruity and aromatic, having almost no acid.

The bite in a Granny Smith apple, however, has a crisp, fresh and astringent effect and acts more acidic instead fruity. Important is only that the acid is not unpleasant. At what point that happens, everyone must decide for themselves. The aim should be to achieve a highly balanced relationship between body, sweetness, bitterness and acidity.

 

how the acid comes into the coffee

Coffee contains around 100 different acids. These include, for example, acetic, apple, citrus, milk and chlorogenic acids. These are, you guessed it, responsible for the acid in the cup.

The roasting process especially degrades and decomposes the chinese and chlorogenic acids continuously. Saying, the longer the coffee is roasted, the more acids can be degraded and the less acid is in the brewed coffee.

Thus, one can be roughly say that …

…dark roasts = little acid / fruit

…light roasts = strong acid / fruit

But it largely depends on the individual bean and the proccessing.

 

which beans and regions have more acid / fruit?

Basically, one can say that Arabica beans have more acids and fruity components than beans of Canephora, also called Robusta.

Concerning regions particularly African coffee, for example from Ethiopia and Kenya, is known for its fruit and citrus accented flavor.

 

how to control the acidity in coffee

During the brewing process, the light flavors and acids are dissolved first. The longer the water is in contact with the coffee, the more bitter and heavy flavors you get.

Also, the temperature is of significance. The hotter the water, the more substances dissolve and the shorter the brewing time can be chosen. More than this a different temperature will also extract different substances.

A Cold Brew, which is prepared with cold water, for example is very poor in acids, bitters and caffeine. 

The third factor is the grind. The finer the grind, the more extraction and the more flavors are dissolved in the same time.

 

In the preparation of espresso this behavior of coffee is particularly impressive. Thus, an espresso of 25-seconds can be very acidity and the one of 30 Seconds tend already to be bitter.

 

use at the bar

At the bar fruit and acid affect the balance in a drink.

A sweet cocktail, such as an espresso martini, can be balanced by an acid Espresso.

A drink already containing acid on the other hand calls for a low-acid coffee.

The Espresso Tonic is one of the best examples of how important the right choice of coffees can be. As a tonic already brings some bitter substances, a bitter coffee can make the drink unpalatable.

 

to put it in a nut shell…

… one can say:

  • the lighter the roast, the fruitier the coffee
  • the shorter the brew time, the more acid
  • the coarser the grind, the milder the coffee
  • African coffees are usually fruity and acidic

Taste and flavor are very individual things that everyone experiences differently. Therefore, you should, especially at the beginning, do not worry about aroma if you do not taste the predefined flavors. Most important thing after all…you have to enjoy it!

In this sense: enjoy!

questions? get in touch!

timon kaufmann

81669 munich germany

info@brewingbartender.com