Instant coffee... just the mention of it will leave coffee snobs retching. The barely-coffee brown water usually tastes like a brown paper bag full of burnt cigarettes was steeped in your cup. But convenience is king, and after WWII, instant became a staple in the American household and the cycle of consumers settling for lower and lower quality coffee began. The taste mattered way less then the ease of preparation, and as with anything, mass production continued to push the cost lower and lower. Mass produced instant coffee now usually involves the cheapest commodity grade coffee being extracted several times and then passed through a spray freeze dry process to crystalize massive amounts of coffee as quickly as possible... all that said, there's not much good that can come of this process. In fact, when you extract coffee several times, you're actually extracting all the bad!
But now we have something better... SPECIALTY INSTANT COFFEE!
The same care and attention to detail that we use for a fancy pourover is now being used to create the best instant coffee you can imagine. Personally sourced green coffee, roasted to perfection, carefully brewed, and freeze-dried in super small batches with a carefully watched process with specific parameters. The result is something incredible, as is usually the case when you compare mass produced products with craft products. Instant that is given attention and care preserves much of the integrity of the coffee yielding bright and clean acidity, rich body, pleasant aromatics, and balance that ties it all together. Just like the coffee we use behind the bar, each different origin and farm is unique and requires a different roast profile and brewing recipe to bring out the best in the cup... the same is true with specialty instant!
If you're hip to the specialty coffee world, then you know that specialty instant is the newest trendy thing... but we think this is less of a trend and more of a breakthrough.
For the first time in a long while, our industry is actually listening to the customers. Specialty coffee has always had a bit of a pretentious attitude, more of a, "here's what we offer," and less of a "what do customers want." Well, it's obvious customers want convenience, they've been buying original instant forever because there was simply no alternative. Specialty instant has exploded and customers have latched on because this is a product they want. There are obvious times in life where instant is just the best option: traveling, camping, exploring.
There's been a shift in attitude, our industry has embraced a notoriously bad tasting product and given it a new life by treating it as a craft good.
We're not trying to brag here, but simply put our instant is 100% traceable. No middle men, no co-packing, our process is 100% under our control. We can manipulate any variable in the chain, and we intimately know our product. That's one thing that is not being done elsewhere in our industry, all other roasters are outsourcing their instant production... we've figured it out for ourselves. We can experiment endlessly and tell the full story. We knew that getting into this project, it would have to live up to our traceability standards and it was just unacceptable to send our beans off to be magically transformed into instant coffee by another company who wouldn't even tell us how it's done.
So, are you ready to see how we do it?
1) find great coffee - we buy all our coffee for instant from the Schippers. We've visited their farm twice now and consider them dear friends. Find out more about them here.
2) roast - with the same attention we give all our offerings, we carefully roast the beans to bring out sweetness and complexity.
3) extract - transform beans into tasty goodness. With the same accuracy and consideration we have for espresso or pourovers served in the cafe we bring to extracting coffee for instant, shot by shot!
4) freeze dry - in the only slightly-secret aspect of this process, we transform already perfectly brewed coffee into ready-to-drink crystals, just add liquid! We can't give you all the details here, but do offer consulting, wink, wink. So if you want to learn all the secrets, message us here.
5) package - we pack all instant in single serve sizes so all you have to do is drop a full packet into about 8oz of liquid. We've got 5-packs and single servings for sale ;)
6) Drink - just add to about 8oz of liquid... hot water, cold water, maybe a mango la croix to make a coffee soda, whatever you want. Ready to fuel any adventure, like I don't know, visiting a coffee farm?
So, from John Schippers, to us, to you... any form you want (beans, beverage, instant), that's they way we do things.