They say necessity is the mother of invention. This saying is well and truly embodied by Anita Brodian, founder of Dark City Foundry.
Living in Melbourne (the world’s greatest coffee city!), Anita has always loved coffee. However, being unable to drink cow’s milk or soy milk really limited her coffee options, until one day she stumbled upon cold drip coffee. She still remembers the taste of the coffee from that day vividly – bold, rich and flavoursome taste, without the acidity or bitterness. Now she can indulge in her love of coffee without the need for any type of milk or even sugar!
And that got her thinking. Read our interview with her as we find out more.
Getting to Know You
I am so excited to have you here today! What drink would you like to make for us and why did you choose it?
I’d love to make a refreshing coconut water and cold drip coffee for you! It’s perfect on a warm summer’s day or after a session at the gym. The cold drip coffee gives it a wonderful flavour and you get a nice hit of electrolytes and sweetness from the coconut water. I tend to find a 50/50 mix works really well.
Tell us more about your journey on how you started making your own cold drip coffee.
Not being able to drink cow’s or soy milk really limited my options, go back a few years in Melbourne and an espresso or long black were your only black coffee options. No almond milk or filter coffee was available and defiantly no cold drip coffee options.
I discovered cold drip coffee at a farmer’s market about 7 years ago and instantly feel in love. One of the benefits of cold drip coffee is the extraction process. You are swapping heat (in a hot coffee) for time (our cold drip takes 10 hours to brew). The temperatures we run our cold drip at don’t extract those bitter compounds you can get with other black coffees and the result is a rich flavoursome drink without the bitterness or acidity. Now it’s easy to have my coffee without needing milk or sugar.
What are the challenges you have to overcome before you arrive at the a-ha moment, when you told yourself, this is the perfect coffee?
Starting a business is scary. Things that go through your head are do I leave the comfort of my 9-5 job and salary and take the plunge? I think one of the main drivers for me was that I really believe in the product and it’s something that I’m passionate about and love talking about (and of course drinking!) I couldn’t say that about my 9-5 job so that’s when I decided I needed to do something that I loved and got me up every morning.
One of the biggest fears for me was that while I really like my cold drip coffee, but will other people also like it? The first farmers market we did was in 2018 and not only did we manage to fit everything into my Mazda 3 (like playing a game of car Tetris!) but I loved have the opportunity to be able to talk to people about what’s so special about cold drip coffee and people trying it and enjoying the flavour.
Most of us are familiar with hot coffee, but cold drip coffee is rapidly gaining in popularity. Tell us what are the differences, and what are the ways we can incorporate cold drip coffee to indulge in our love of coffee?
We’re all used to brewing drinks such as coffee and tea using hot water, but you can also use cold water to do the extraction. Cold extractions take a lot longer; we extract our coffee over ten hours, for instance. The reason why we use cold extraction is that it brings out different flavours from the coffee. The compounds that typically make hot extracted coffee taste bitter or acidic don’t dissolve well in cold water, so you end up with a rich and flavoursome coffee but without the usual bitterness.
There are different ways to extract coffee using cold water. We use a process called cold drip, where fresh, chilled water (at around 8°C in our case) is slowly and continuously introduced to a column of coffee grounds, where it percolates through and is collected. This gentle process is what brings out the wonderful flavours you can taste in our coffee. It also extracts all the caffeine too!
Cold drip coffee is also very stable – once it’s extracted it will keep fine in the fridge for six to eight weeks unopened, and two weeks once opened.
As far as the flavour goes, a good description of our cold drip coffee is strong but not bitter. You taste the butterscotch, caramel and nutty flavours.
What would be your ultimate coffee experience?
I think the ultimate experience for me would be to travel the coffee plantations where our coffee comes from and meet the farmers who grow it. It would be amazing to see the actual beans we buy being grown and processed, and meet the people involved.
If there is one person, living or passed, whom you can have coffee with right now, who would that be and why?
I’d love to have a coffee with Agatha Christie! She’s a fascinating woman, and I’ve got pretty much every book she’s ever written. I bought many of the them when I was still a teenager and I’ve still got them. I’d love to have a coffee with her and find out how she came up with so many of her iconic characters.
Your favourite way to enjoy cold drip coffee?
I’m going to be boring and say straight up. I’m usually out and about most days and having a 100ml bottle with me means I can always have a great coffee wherever I am. On the weekends though I can’t go past a bulletproof coffee made with our cold drip first thing in the morning.
Single or blended?
We’ve done a lot of work trying different single origins and blends, and we’ve found that a blend works best with our cold drip process.
Sweet or savoury pairing?
Savoury, nothing better than triple cooked chips.
Tea – yes or no?
Big yes. I love the Pukka herbal teas and have about 8 different flavours in the cupboard. Always have one at night.
Chocolate – yes or no?
Can’t go past the 85% Lindt dark chocolate!
Photo credit: Dark City Foundry