Emily McCaul, assistant lifestyles editor | The Collegiate Times
“This year we’ll be rolling out the cold brew,” said Leann Cook, operations manager of Deet’s Place. “It’s got a nice, smooth flavor to it.”
“The objective is to try to get the flavors from the origins without compromising the flavor,” Cook said. “It’s a cold brew, so there’s less acidity. That’s something you would taste from the extraction of hot coffee.”
Cold-brew coffee is a type of coffee that is steeped in cold water for an extended period of time. A typical, hot cup of coffee takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes to brew, when working with grounds, whereas the cold-brew coffee can take up to 24 hours.
“We try to bring the temperature down quickly to eliminate any of the acidities and bitterness that comes from hot brewing,” Cook said.
Deet’s is partnering with the Specialty Coffee Association of America, a worldwide coffee organization. It was at one of the SCAA conferences that Cook first tasted the cold-brew coffee, inspiring her to bring it to Virginia Tech.
“It’s been out, but it’s just now coming out into the public. Some things are fads, but this is something I foresee staying a while,” Cook said, referencing the cold brew. “We entertained the idea last year, so when I went to the SCAA conference this year, it was very helpful to go there and taste it — once I tasted it, I was sold.”
In addition to the cold-brew coffee, students may also notice Deet’s new coffee roaster as well, appropriately positioned at the center of the establishment behind the ordering counter.
“I love it — it is so sweet,” Cook said. “There (are) so many attributes that can change the coffee. Not to mention, by nature itself: the height, the climate and the altitude. It’s all about how it’s processed, how it’s shipped, how it’s stored and how it’s handled.”
Deet’s cold-brew coffee, unlike a typical hot blend, takes 12-24 hours to set.
“It’s less bitter, there’s less acidity — if you just take coffee and put it in the refrigerator, it doesn’t work as well,” Cook laughed. “This actually starts cold, and it stays cold. I’m fortunate to have such a large facility. We have it on a cart where we basically pour in the grounds, the water, then the rest of the grounds and the water to saturate it, starting that chemical reaction.”
Unlike the cold-brew coffee’s distant cousin, the always-popular iced coffee, Deet’s cold brew cannot be kept in plastic storage containers. Instead, all of the cold-brew coffee must be stored in thermal, metal containers.
Though both cold-brew coffee and iced coffee are enjoyed similarly, over ice and strategically sipped while sprint walking to class, the drinks are chemically far from the same.
When creating Deet’s iced coffee, it is first brewed, then chilled, generating a coffee that will not penetrate plastic containers. The new cold brew, however, after sitting for 12-24 hours, threatens to dilute the plastic coating of storage containers. The metal containers, although necessary for safe storage, give the cold brew a pleasantly crisp punch.
“We will still offer iced coffee, because we don’t want to incorporate something new while simultaneously taking too much of another thing away,” Cook said.
The campus coffee shop is preparing to unveil the cold brews during the first week of classes, beginning Monday, Aug. 22, providing a lighter, Colombian blend first and a Brazilian blend later.
“If it was cold and snowing, you’d definitely want the Brazilian,” Cook said. “It’s comforting. African beans have a nice, earthy flavor; there’s a lot more body to it. I’m using Colombian to open up with. With it being summer, that coffee will be a lot lighter. Those are the two that we’re going to open with — then we’re going to start blending.”
Deet’s is planning to create seasonal cold-brew coffees as well, blending new flavors into the cold brew for holidays and special events. Be on the lookout for a pumpkin cold-brew this Halloween — and in the semester to come, Deet’s is anticipating the release of a nitro coffee, a nitrogen-based coffee made in kegs.
“This is more or less tampering with different regions and seeing which one works best for this particular area,” Cook said, referencing the large number of college students that influence the shop’s selection of products. “This clientele is really where we base the majority of our profiles from, so I’m pretty tickled with this.”
Keeping students in mind, Deet’s also provides a hands-on coffee class for Hokies in the fall and a tea-education class in the spring. The coffee class is designed to teach students about the history of coffee, the biology behind it and how it is prepped from fruit to cup. Students can sign up now for the coffee class by verbal request at the register.
“We’ll take the first 10-20 participants,” Cook said. “We’ll send a follow-up email, as well. With these classes, it’s best to keep them small.”
In addition to the over-arching concepts covered in the course, Cook goes on to tackle the smaller details, discussing grind size, what makes beans go bad and different brewing methods.
“When you’re drinking coffee, it is important to understand what it takes to get that cup of coffee.”