CAMBRIDGE — There is a lot going on right now with cold brew coffee. Almost all the major coffee roasters are experimenting with it, and common grocery stores are selling it.
And some unique things are happening at Barismo, the Cambridge-based roaster, and its Cambridge Cold Brew. They are offering kegs of cold brew, and are brewing a variety of coffees and selling them in 12-ounce bottles $4), four-packs ($12), or in growlers.
It’s one of the only places I’ve found that really tries to replicate one of the funnest parts of drinking coffee: trying different tastes, and bringing out new notes in the coffee.
At Barismo’s flagship store dwelltime (at 364 Broadway in Cambridge), there are usually two or three coffee options on tap, some with a stout faucet and poured with a nitro head. There are also about two or three options in the refrigerator.
I recently sampled several bottles of cold brew from them: Marimira (which is a Muranga Kenya fully washed); Hacienda Santa Rosa (a Huehuetenango Guatemala fully washed bourbon plus mundo); and El Xalum (Amatitlan Guatemala fully washed red and yellow bourbon).
The flavor in these will all raise your eyebrows when you read the ingredients: fresh roasted coffee and filtered water. That’s it.
The Marimira was sweet, with mango and citrus. I liked this one the best. It was the most coffee-like cold brew I’ve ever had.
The Hacienda Santa Rose was flatter, with not as much zest (although some coffees are like that, too).
Perhaps the most intriguing was the El Xalum. This was sweet and syrupy, and seemed to have a hint of alcohol. And it may. It was aged in a single malt whiskey barrel from Damnation Alley distillery in Belmont.
Barismo on Sept. 12 is releasing 80 bottles of this concoction, with proceeds benefiting El Xalum, a hurricane-ravaged farm in Guatemala and one of barismo’s newest direct trade partners.
“The main thing that sets our coldbrew apart from others is the fact that we switch up the coffees,” said Patrick Greer, the head cold brewer. “We don’t have a generic ‘cold brew blend,’ and instead we use the same high quality direct trade coffees that we use for pourovers or espresso.”
Barismo has been offering cold coffee for a few years, but the business has exploded this summer. It’s so robust, Greer said, that this year he’s been making as much in one day as he did last year in two weeks.Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.