ABOUT THE COLD BREW METHOD

Cold brew coffee is unlike both coffee brewed with hot water or the common "ice coffee" that is simply hot-brewed coffee stuck in a refrigerator. Cold brew coffee uses no heat whatsoever, instead extracting coffee from ground beans over the course of many hours. (Depending on the roast, our cold brew process takes anywhere from 14 to 24 hours.) A feature of chilled, hot-brew ice coffee its acidic, oily bitterness; cold brew is level, almost creamy. But before even getting to its balanced taste, the first benefit of cold brew is it ecologically more friendly, requiring none of the electricity of heated brewing.

Cold brewed coffee can miss some of the more subtle flavor profiles of certain beans. But in return, cold brew extracts up to two-thirds less acid. Those who long ago gave up on the beverage because of a sensitive stomach, reflux or heartburn often find cold brew allows them to again enjoy delicious coffee.

Maybe best of all, cold brewing also extracts as more of a bean's caffeine. (It must be stated that some heat-brewing stalwarts debate this point.)

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THE BEANS

We're too interested in new coffees to serve just one roaster's beans. But we prefer local Minnesota roasters as much as possible. It's fresher and, well, more Minnesotan.

For example, it doesn't get more local or fresh than beans from Rochester's Narrow Road Coffee. (We love their organic, fair trade Ethiopian light roast.) We also like beans from the excellent Paradise Roasters in Ramsey (Canoe & Cabin blend) and Driven Coffee in Minneapolis (Scandinavian and House Blends) All three roasters give back a portion of their profits to worthy charities.

Also, there are beans from Spyhouse, Dogwood, Bull Run, Peace, Sovereign Grounds, Duluth Coffee Co., and Alakef, all superior Minnesota-based roasters.

Meanwhile, we're not above conversation starter roasts; how about J&S Bean Factory's (St. Paul) Obama Blend, a mix of beans from Hawaii and Kenya? Or Up Coffee Roasters' (Minneapolis) Minnesota Mudd Blend? We also get a kick out of Just Coffee Co-Op's (Madison, WI)  Bike Fuel. All delicious.

And we love Minnesota but we know a bigger world exists. We occasionally brew roasts from across the nation.

Beyond our beans, we source all of our ingredients as local and organic as possible. Our milk is glass-bottled in nearby Chatfield by Kappers' Big Red Barn farm. Kappers' cows are grass fed and BST hormone free. The farm is devoted to environmental stewardship.

The maple syrup used for sweetening Old Abe coffees is from Hillside Organics, a certified organic Amish farm in Utica.

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