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Consider cold-brewing the artful slow coffee of java-making. If done right, the result is a smooth, full-flavored, low-acid cup. It’s also super concentrated (sorry, decaf fans), and it’s showing up all over the place. Our hunt for the area’s best cold brew revealed some universal truths about course grind and cold water, plus differing opinions on brew time, adding ice cubes, and nitro taps (pouring coffee from a beer tap for a stoutlike quality). Here, some of our favorite spots to get our buzz on.
The Cup Espresso Cafe
Pearl Street, Boulder
Try the nitro tap or the eight-hour Kyoto-style, which, co-owner Chris Ball says, is the bourbon of coffee: “I serve it in a rocks glass over ice without diluting it. It’s a very transparent way to show what the coffee has to offer.”
Novo pours its 24-hour brew from a nitrogen tap for a “nice, creamy mouthfeel,” founder Jake Brodsky says.
The Point Cafe
The Hill, Boulder
Method Roasters offers pre-brewed coffee straight from its roasting facility. “There’s no oxygen inside those kegs, so it’s not going stale,” says manager Jared Cate, who then “cranks the nitrogen way up for the full Guinness effect.”
SloHi Coffee Co.
Sloan’s Lake/ West Highland
Co-owner Shawn Cullingford, the most conservative of nitro-tappers, applies just enough gas to propel the coffee. He’s less concerned about creating a cascade effect, as that was “doing some weird things to the flavor.”
Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters
Sweet Bloom owner Andy Sprenger pours his full-flavored 18-hour brew into glasses straight from the freezer. “The glass is kind of frosted, and that way ice doesn’t water down the coffee,” he says.
Corvus Coffee Roasters
“People in Denver like drinking beer,” says founder Phil Goodlaxson, who adds hops to his cold brew. “Now they don’t have to stop drinking foamy on-tap beverages at any point during the day.”
Fluid Coffee Bar
Owner Jeff Aitken uses his cold-brew concentrate in several different concoctions. “We have a drink we call the Rocks,” he says. “It’s just two ounces of concentrate over ice. You can drink it over time, and as the ice melts and slowly dilutes, different flavors and nuances come out.”
“We tend to do our cold brews a little bit longer than most shops do,” co-owner Douglas Naiman says. He also uses a heavier nitro froth to create his full-bodied cold brew.
Metropolis pours 18-plus-hour, Kyoto-style brews. “You get a really awesome, crisp, articulated iced coffee,” says Miguel Vicuna, general manager and director of coffee education.