Cold brewing coffee is a revered process for coffee communities in the know. Since a trendy surge in 2011, all the coffee meccas from New York to Portland to Seattle have been mastering the cold brew and selling it to hoards of coffee enthusiasts. Though the concept might sound counterintuitive to the piping hot nectar of the gods, the cold brew process, which steeps ground coffee for hours in cold water, yields a surprisingly smooth flavor profile next to its heated brethren. Now Central Coffee, the well-loved corner spot off Central Avenue is brewing and bottling its own cold brew coffee and coffee concentrate for grab-and-go convenience.
Jimmy Kleto, the fuzzy-faced owner of Central Coffee, says it's been a project he's been working on for the last eight months. Kleto, a coffee lover since way back in his college days at Appalachian State, is always looking for new ways to elevate coffee culture in Charlotte. For the last four years, Kleto has been building a coffee community in his corner of Plaza Midwood and when the idea of bottling his own cold brew came up, he thought, "Why not?"
He settled on the Toddy Cold Brew method, a trademarked cold brew system that distills five pounds of coffee into crisp, clean, black as night coffee concentrate. The cold brew process preserves the sweet and spicy nuances of the Joe Van Gogh Guatemalan blend that Kleto uses for his brew and it comes in two options, ready-to-drink cold brew and cold brew concentrate. The concentrate is great for those who prefer to exact their own perfect cup. Kleto says, "You can make it as strong as you want."
But, be warned. The concentrate is known to pack an eye-dilating wallop as evidenced by a story of a friend who forgot to dilute the stuff and then sped off to sell insurance to unsuspecting senior citizens. No word yet on whether cold brew makes for a better salesman, but we do know that it does the trick and tastes mighty fine. Order a cup of cold brew in-house or grab a bottle from the to-go refrigerator.
Come summertime, cold brew coffee will be the coolest kid on the block. Ya heard.
Central Coffee Ready to Drink Cold Brew, $4.99 per bottle and Central Coffee Cold Brew Concentrate, $9.99 per bottle. Central Coffee is located at 719 Louise Avenue, Plaza Midwood.
Keia Mastrianni loves to tell stories about local food products and the people behind them. When she's not scouting out local discoveries, she's steadily working in her vegetable garden, spending time in the kitchen and nosing through cookbooks. She maintains a happy food blog called The Sunnysideup where she shares recipes and her culinary adventures.