If you haven’t noticed, Shreveport’s coffee scene is booming as more folks feel empowered to make some cash by satisfying caffeine and community lovers alike. While Rhino and Bon Temps tend to dominate (for good reason) my news feed as they may yours, there are a few more coffee joints that are popping up to satisfy every variation of the coffee experience. Retro-themed, coffee trucks, church cafes and home roasters are all a part of this new wave.
Recently, I sat down with Daniel Martin of Strongbrew Bayou to learn about his forays into the coffee world, and learn a new technique to make cold brew right in my own living room. Daniel has been hooked on coffee ever since he needed it to stay awake to do homework in high school, and he now experiments with different combinations of beans to introduce to his tastebuds.
Daniel, an employee in the medical world, has been blending coffee with since 2013. As I chatted with him, it seems as if the same things that drew him to his profession are the same things that drew him to coffee. Daniel expressed how in his profession he helps patients create the ‘best environment for their body so they can express their optimal selves’. Attention to detail becomes crucial, as each patient has unique characteristics that dictate the conditions needed to thrive. Similarly, in order to brew the perfect cup of coffee, one needs to know the specific qualities about your beans that will give the optimal taste.
Daniel has many different roasts and blends that he has crafted, which you can find on his website. When I visited, I got the chance to try his Bright Morning and Red River Rising Blends. The first, a lighter roast, was a blend of Ethiopian and Colombian beans, and the second, a medium roast, was a blend of Moka Matari (from Yemen), Ethiopian Sidamo, and Colombian beans.
I arrived ready to learn a new way of making cold brew, one of my favorite summertime coffee treats (I know, I know, summer is over now, but until a month ago I had my doubts). Cold brew, when done right, can be smooth and even sweet, without adding any of the sweet and fatty additives we all love. Daniel’s equipment needed to make cold brew? A growler from your favorite brewery, an industrial size coffee cone, a grinder, and a hot water kettle.
This process that Daniel uses is likely similar to the one that you use to brew your coffee in the morning. However, instead of brewing it into a pot or mug, you will brew it straight into the growler. A good ratio that we used is 2 ounces of coffee to one liter of water. Once the water is to the correct temperature, (Daniel recommended waiting 15 seconds after boiling for lighter roasts and 20-30 seconds for darker roasts for the water kettle he was using), pour a little into the cone just to wet the beans and let the coffee ‘bloom’.
Once the coffee has bloomed, go ahead and brew the rest of the coffee into the growler, all the way near the top if you can. For this cold brew recipe, once the coffee is brewed, let it sit in the growler overnight to cool at a slow pace. This will avoid having an acidic taste to your cold brew if you cool the beans too fast. Once you’ve let the coffee sit overnight, put it in the fridge and enjoy as needed!
Cold brew wasn’t the only thing we discussed that afternoon. I got several tips for my morning cup of joe as well. Daniel’s top advice for those looking for a better cup of coffee? Experiment, experiment, experiment. Every coffee is different, so you may need to change your grind size, water to coffee ratio, and water temperature for every bean to find out what you enjoy best. If your brew doesn’t taste right, just try another iteration!
For example, the morning I was writing this article, I changed the grind size and it made all the difference in the world. Coffee from my favorite Oklahoma roastery, Topeca, did much better with a finer grind than my Rhino-roasted Crash beans. If you’re a coffee person like me, each morning is a chance to fine tune that perfect cup of coffee.
If you’d like to learn more or taste what Strongbrew Bayou has to offer, you can buy Daniel’s coffee at strongbrewbayou.coffee and check out what blends he has for sale. And not only can you get some quality beans, you can also support the local economy as well.