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The right way to brew iced coffee by Cuvee

Michael Barnes
mbarnes@statesman.com

In 2005, while selling espresso machines, Mike McKim observed a roaster in Colorado pulling coffee from a keg and serving it over ice.

Intrigued, he asked about the process. “He brewed hot coffee, poured it into a home brew keg, added milk and vanilla syrup, then hooked it up to his draft system,” the Spicewood roaster who owns Cuvee Coffee recalls. “The sweet, sticky beverage did nothing for me, but the idea of pouring it from a tap had an impact.”

McKim found that most coffee spots around the country that served fairly good iced coffee used the Toddy Cold Brew System. In 2012, McKim and his team set out to create product that satisfied specialty coffee aficionados while intriguing craft beer drinkers and iced tea sippers. So they researched and experimented for seven months, meanwhile purchasing beer brewing equipment from Michigan.

In January, they launched Black & Blue. Here’s how it is made: Coffee and water are mixed in vessel, agitated then steeped for 18 hours. It is filtered and allowed to rest, then goes into 5-gallon kegs. Hot water is used for part of the process, cold water for the rest. “This allows us to bring out more of the soluble chemistry that does not come out of the coffee with only cold water and provides complexity to the beverage,” McKim says. “We also dissolve nitrogen in the coffee. This is a tedious and time-consuming process.”

After a seven-day resting period, the coffee goes into 5-gallon American Sanke kegs and finds its way to customers around Austin and elsewhere. The standard Black &Blue offering is called Spicewood 71 Classic, but Cuvee has also made limited runs of other brews.

The rich iced coffee is available at Verts and other casual eateries. Cuvee has also sold kegs to customers for home use and catering.