June 6, 2014

The Cambridge Cold Brew Report

Chris Savage

Founder, CEO

This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistia team member’s take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It’s like our "employee of the month" but less "of the month"-y. Chris Savage is co-founder and CEO at Wistia. His last Non Sequitur was a gift guide to traveling light.

Cold brewing is the process of making coffee by steeping ground beans in cold water for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. After steeping, you end up with a more caffeinated, more delicious coffee concentrate that, with the addition of ice, will melt your heart. Because the beans never touch hot water, there is very little acidity in cold brew, and the richer and deeper flavors present in the beans are highlighted. Basically, cold brew is the best.

When I was first introduced to cold brew five years ago, it was in limited supply in the Cambridge area. Today, it’s showing up everywhere. In fact, the local cold brew scene has become quite competitive. Take a look at the responses my innocuous cold brew tweet invoked the other day:

In the interest of drinking more cold brew than I probably should, I thought it would be fun to review my local favorites.

Crema Café

Harvard Square - 27 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

Two friends started Crema Café after they were inspired by the cafés of Paris while traveling Europe. Beyond coffee, Crema has an assortment of amazing sandwiches and pastries.

Cold brew is a relatively new addition at Crema. In an effort to educate more people about it, they sell shots of cold brew for $1. Their cold brew is medium strength, with light chocolate and a light finish. If you find yourself in Harvard Square, please give it a try.

1369 Coffee House

Inman Square - 1369 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA

I always thought that it would be impossible to drink iced coffee without milk and sugar. Then I found 1369’s iced coffee. This coffee was different. It wasn’t a bit bitter and I couldn’t stop drinking it. Little did I know, this delicious drink was made with the slower and more delicious cold brew process.

1369’s cold brew has an excellent balance of caffeine and is extremely consistent. I tried to only have a couple sips (because I was planning on tasting all four cold brews in a row) and ended up drinking the whole thing. Oops.

In the summer, you can even feed your addiction by getting growlers of this concoction delivered.

Photo via Danielle Bushrow.

Café Luna

Central Square - 403 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

A favorite of Wistia HQ because of its proximity to our front doors, Café Luna takes coffee and food very seriously. Luna is known for their delicious brunch, but I know Luna as the place with the cold brew that will make the back of your head tingle.

Luna’s cold brew is extremely dark and usually made from Blue Bottle beans. My recommendation is to give one of these a try first thing in the morning: you’ll be feeling it until the early afternoon.

Dwelltime

Central Square - 364 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

Dwelltime is the newest kid on the block. Started by the founder of a great local roaster called Barismo, Dwelltime has the area’s widest variety of cold brew. Their cold brew taps are changed almost every day. For example, today’s cold brew was called The Doppleganger, which contains two different types of African beans fused together to create one delicious, balanced, and light cold brew.

Dwelltime also started a Cambridge-specific variety of cold brew, aptly named Cambridge Cold Brew, where the ground beans are steeped in water kept in a refrigerator to make sure there is even less acidity.

Photo via Chris Savage.


I started this process thinking that I would pick the best cold brew in Cambridge, but by the end of my tour, it was clear that picking just one would be impossible. There’s just an incredibly awesome variety available in this very small area. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, please give them all a try.

And If you don’t find yourself in Cambridge, may I suggest ordering some excellent bottled cold brew from Stumptown or La Columbe?

P.S.: To create the style of video seen above, grab a giant Jenga block, superglue a Wiskia glass (or liquid container of your choosing) and a GoPro to it, and go crazy capturing flawless cold brew footage.

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