Iced coffee minus the melted-ice taste, courtesy of the Snapchiller
If David Dussault hadn’t been such an iced-coffee lover, he might have followed a different career path. Dissatisfied by how insipid the flavor of iced coffee becomes as the ice starts to melt, and disappointed in cold brews, the mechanical engineer came up with a way to chill coffee without adding ice or using a fridge. “It’s not iced coffee or cold brew, but an entirely new category,” says Dussault. “It’s Snapchilled” — a term he’s coined for coffee made with his unique invention, the Snapchiller. Merging his knowledge of thermal dynamics and heat-exchange technology, the 43-year-old MIT graduate designed a 50-pound countertop unit that resembles a dehumidifier or a dorm-size fridge. The device creates an icy cold drink in a minute or less, the quick process brightening and capturing the aromatics, nuances, and flavors of coffee at its peak; that is, when it’s just been brewed. In contrast, he says, ice leaves the beverage watered down, and the long chilling of cold brew causes oxidation to occur, so the flavors to become less distinct. “It’s a disruptive production in the cold space,” Dussault says. Last year Dussault named his Watertown-based company Elemental Beverage, intending to sell its Snapchillers to coffee shops and restaurants. It can be used for tea and cocktails as well. The unit gained the immediate attention of coffee expert and high-end retailer George Howell, who’s now Snapchilling coffees both at his shop in the Godfrey Hotel in Boston and at the Boston Public Market. “I’ve dreamt of having something like this forever. It was love at first sight,” says Howell. “It’s a vehicle for expressing the terroir of the beans; what the farmer really did produce. You’re getting true extraction . . . and a perfect drink.” As chief alchemist, Dussault and his team — which includes certified coffee taster Ryan McDonnell — have partnered with growers and producers to offer Snapchilled single-origin coffees in 12-ounce cans. There are three varieties, from Kayanza, Burundi; Kolla Bolcha, Ethiopia; and San Alejo, Colombia, all without preservatives or sugar ($39.95 for six). Each one has surprisingly distinctive fruit and floral flavors. The coffees are sold right now through the company’s website (www.elementalbeverage.com) and eventually will be in stores. Find Elemental’s Snapchilled cans of coffees at a Flexetail (a mobile retail store) after May 13 and throughout the summer on Dartmouth Street near Back Bay Station and Copley Place.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND