After the rollicking good times in New York and Vietnam, Poornima Katyal and her husband were back in Delhi trying to encapsulate the balmy memories from their travels...the wondering, snoozing, eating, drinking et al, but most importantly reminiscing the deliciousness of how the best cold brew coffee they had ever tasted, felt on their palate.
Back home, Katyal, a marketing professional with Google, made several phone calls, visited myriad stores, skimmed through the web world but all in vain. She could never replicate the coffee taste again. Then one day her husband surprised her with a ready to drink samples from New York and a Hario cold brew maker. She looked at it and everything fell into place. If I couldn’t get New York’s flavours in India, I could at least try creating a close match myself,’ she thought. That day set her on a journey across the many coffee estates in India in search of beans that would brew the best cold cuppa. It manifested in her brand called Third Roast Cold Brew Coffee that boasts new-age variants such as vanilla, straight up black, spice thrice, Vietnameasy, almondo (vegan coffee smoothie).
The time for her interest in cold brew co-sided with India being on the brink of familiarising itself with cold brew coffees. This ancient brewing method introduced by the Japanese is part of the third generation coffee culture in India. Katyal explains it: “The first generation was marked by people who grew their own coffee and brewed it at home, such as in South India. With the advent of industrialisation, people wanted instant gratification which led to the birth of modern-day coffee shops that offered ready-to-drink coffee. Now we’re moving towards the third generation that, having experienced the evolution so far, wants to savour specialised coffees and the various styles it is made in such as French Press, Moka pot brewing, syphon method, and Aeropress.” From time to time, Katyal stirs things up by sending her customer tipsy cold brew coffee concoctions too.
Specialised coffee in simple terms means artisanal and freshly brewed, the origin of which, the customer is increasingly interested in. Take for instance Blue Tokai that presents Indian speciality coffee listing information about its green bean sourcing estates, along with characteristics of each coffee, and its roasting process.
To make their cold brew, Sleepy Owl, another brand specialising in cold brews, steeps in coarse-ground coffee in cold water for at least 12 hours. “The longer the coffee sits, the stronger the flavour. Because cold brew uses time instead of heat to extract the coffee’s oils, sugars and caffeine, the end result is generally less acidic and bitter than iced coffee,” says Ajai Thandi, one of the founders.
The sitting time for Katyal is 20 hours. 24 hours is the limit, she says. She uses a blend of dark and medium roasted beans from a farm she has tied up within Chikmagalur. She believes cold brews are here to stay as they deliver everything urban Indians are looking for.Shall we raise a toast to that cuppa?