By Molly Freeman
Photo by Molly Freeman.
Earlier this year, the cold brew coffee trend finally hit mainstream culture, likely because of Starbucks’ announcement that they would be introducing their own cold brewed coffee just in time for spring. However, coffee shops in NYC like Stumptown and Cafe Grumpy have been offering cold brew for years.
The cold brewing process entails steeping course-ground coffee beans in room-temperate or cold water for an extended period of time, causing a smoother taste due to lower acidity. The drink differs from iced coffee, which is brewed using hot water and chilled afterward with ice.
As an avid coffee drinker I’m a bit ashamed to say I haven’t tried much in the way of cold brew coffee, instead preferring to stick to what I know. However, since my coffee intake on any given day runs somewhere between one to four cups–we’re talking large cups, not the average mug, which feels woefully small to me now–I do like to mix it up a bit.
Additionally, since I work in an office, it isn’t always convenient to run out to grab a cup, even from a cafe on the same block. So, I’ve been trying out different pre-packaged coffees that I can keep in the office fridge. That’s how I discovered the canned cold brew coffee from High Brew.
The coffee company is based in Austin, TX, but its drinks are available at retailers across the US; I found some at the Garden of Eden Marketplace near my Manhattan office. High Brew offers five varieties of “better, not bitter” natural, fair trade coffee, each at 60 calories or less. The cold brew coffee comes in Mexican Vanilla, Double Espresso, Dark Chocolate Mocha, Salted Caramel, and a dairy-free Black & Bold.
I had a chance to try three of the five flavors: Dark Chocolate Mocha, Salted Caramel, and Black & Bold. On the whole, I was extremely satisfied with the High Brew coffee. The mocha and caramel flavors are sweet enough without being teeth-achingly sugary, plus the caffeine in each coffee offered me a nice afternoon pick-me-up.
The only flavor of the three I tried that I didn’t find to be enjoyable was the Black & Bold, though that’s truly my own fault. I’m not a black coffee drinker, I’ve never been a black coffee drinker, and I don’t know what I was thinking trying to convert myself into a black coffee drinker.
However, despite my limitations, I can attest to the smoothness of all three flavors, including the Black & Bold. I’ve now returned to the Dark Chocolate Mocha and Salted Caramel, though I certainly need to try both the Mexican Vanilla and Double Espresso as well since they sound equally delicious.
My only warning for High Brew is to be wary of how much caffeine is in their cold brew. According to the High Brew site, there is more caffeine “than traditionally brewed coffee.” The first time I tried High Brew, it left me feeling zapped of energy–after the initial caffeine rush, of course. High Brew is not for the weak.
That being said, the extra caffeine in High Brew makes this drink even more perfect for my afternoon cup of coffee that keeps me going through the rest of the day. With such delicious flavors and the convenience of storing it in the office, High Brew has become a staple of my coffee routine.