Confessions of a Cold Brew Coffee Addict

Categories: Grind

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Heather Hoch
My $3.75 per day habit: Cartel's cold brew.
I wake up every morning around 7 a.m., albeit begrudgingly. Sometimes I hit the snooze until 7:30, but eventually I pry myself out of bed and get ready. Everything's hazy and grey until I pop into Cartel downtown on my way to work to get my morning cold brew. Everyone comments on how Cartel's baristas are snooty, but they always greet me with a smile, usually pouring my 16 ounce cold brew coffee before I even ask for it. It's like Cheers, but with beverages that make me productive.

See also: 10 Best Coffee Houses in Metro Phoenix

I don't know everything there is to know about coffee, but I love it -- which is why I'm excited to be writing Chow Bella's newest column, Grind.

Like so many others, I foolishly began my coffee education in high school with Starbucks Frappuccinos (I know), then I graduated to Gold Bar Espresso's dirty chai, but it wasn't until freshman year at ASU that I found Cartel -- and cold brew coffee.

Since then, I've been to pretty much every coffee shop in town, trying cappuccinos and velvets and honey vanilla lattes and Americanos and even Jobot's sunrise, which is a surprisingly tasty combo of a shot of hot espresso mixed with cold orange juice.

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Heather Hoch
One time I had five gallons of Cartel cold brew-- it was the best day ever.
In the end, I always end up back at Cartel for the cold brew.

As far as I'm concerned, it's magic, which is basically just my way of saying science that makes me really happy. The science behind it is cold brew is less acidic with more caffeine than its hot brewed counterparts, which is good for folks with heartburn and good for people like me who like to get uncomfortably caffeinated. If I could mainline cold brew, I would.

But then I'd be missing the best part of cold brew -- the flavor. Since it's never exposed to harsh heat, cold brew is less bitter than drip coffee or espresso drinks. Some mornings my cold brew has caramely and nutty notes, other mornings it's roasty and chocolately, and one time I swear to god it tasted like whiskey--that was a good morning. I never know exactly what I'll taste in my cold brew, and that's what makes it a drink I can drink every day and not get bored.

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Lauren Saria
The Oji cold brew system at Lola's new location.
Honestly, it's just nice to know that on those hot summer days I can get a coffee drink that was made to be drank cold, not just poured over ice like some after thought. Does anyone else think iced lattes shouldn't even be called lattes because they're missing that trademark smooth and frothy foam? But I digress.

There are a few different ways to make cold brew, some involving soaking cheese cloth like bags full of coffee grounds in water overnight and others requiring a Toddy or other cold brew system. I honestly don't really care how you make it, so long as there's plenty. And you can ask those Cartel baristas about the shocked and heart broken look on my face the day that they ran out because they definitely got a kick out of it.

I usually buy my cold brew from Cartel for $3.75 for 16 ounces, available at the Tempe, Phoenix, and Scottsdale locations. You can also buy cold brew from Lola Coffee's new midtown spot at The Yard, brewed with a Japanese Oji cold brew system for $3.25 for the same size. Or you could just go absolutely crazy and never sleep again by going to Press Coffee and ordering a whopping 32 ounces for $4.50. However, next week I'll show you how to make your own cold brew at home with just a few easy steps and some time.

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Location Info

Map

Cartel Coffee Lab

1 N. 1st St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Cartel Coffee Lab

7124 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Press Coffee and Wine Bar

5410 E. High St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Cartel Coffee Lab

225 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Lola Coffee - CLOSED

5632 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Jobot Coffee

918 N. Fifth St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Gold Bar Espresso

3141 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: General


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12 comments
Jon-Jon Green
Jon-Jon Green

Like the writer said, "to each their own" I've tried others cold brew and enjoyed it. But I'm a fan of cartels.

deestarvingartist
deestarvingartist

Higher Grounds Roastery and Cafe calls their cold brew "Coffee Elixir", for a good reason.

Brett Panzer
Brett Panzer

Personally, I've found Cartel's cold press quite weak.

A Claire Slattery
A Claire Slattery

cartel's toddy has changed a lot over the past four years. i'm no longer a fan. whatever origin they're using now is too citrusy, and for me, it's harder to drink. 'm a much bigger fan of vovomeena's mutt cold brews and call me crazy, but jobot. I know they use cartel's beans, but they have their own blend for their toddy and it's way better than whatever they serve at cartel.

teknik
teknik

I just don't understand how a cold brew can be better than a freshly pulled shot of espresso!  I even had a cold brew coffee maker myself for a time.  I've had my own espresso machine for many many years, you just can't beat your own grind.

dan.suhr
dan.suhr

If you are downtown you need to check out Royal's (Heritage Square) cold brewed coffee. I think it is the best, and most consistent, downtown. 

bllarkin
bllarkin

@dan.suhr  Royal is great.  Been going there since they were over at the Public Market, and it's a daily habit.  Cold brew or pour-over, can't go wrong.

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