SDCN: What first got you into specialty coffee?
Howerzyl: I've wanted to own a coffee shop since I was in high school, but visiting San Francisco's Four Barrel, Ritual and Blue Bottle made me fall in love with the new aesthetic of coffee. San Francisco revealed such a high level of quality and a thoughtful approach to design that it inspired me to pursue coffee as a career.
SDCN: How do you cold brew?
Howerzyl: At Kettle, we currently brew with a Yama dripper (Kyoto style) and 24 hour Toddy Immersion. I always try to experiment with coffees that show through in the cold brewing process, that demonstrate a coffees characteristics. I am more experimental using the Kyoto and I often use Ethiopian naturals, Kenya, or brighter Colombians because the flavor notes pop using that method. For our Toddy, we try to find a flavor profile that will appeal to a wide variety of people, while still using lighter roasted, single-origin coffees. We are currently experimenting with Nitrogen Cavitation, which speeds up the cold brewing process, decreasing the amount of oxidation. Oxidation is one of the down sides of cold brewing, so we're excited to explore this option.
SDCN: Why do you think your original cold brew resonated with so many at Cold Brew City 2016?
Howerzyl: We served a well processed natural Ethiopian from Klatch Coffee using a Yama dripper (Kyoto) that had a very strong blueberry/chocolate flavor profile with some soft acidity. We received comments that our cold brew stood out as being different. Cold Brew has been marketed as a "low acid" alternative to hot coffee over the years and I think the tendency is for cold brew to lack any interesting flavor notes for the sake of "smoothness." I love a balanced acidity and sweetness, so I'm more interested in highlighting this in cold brew. Maybe those who attended enjoyed that approach.