Today, we continue our Australian Cold Brew Series as we’re joined by Jack Adams from Mr. Bean Cold Brew in Queensland, Australia. If you haven’t seen the episode artwork for this show yet, we suggest you check it out because Mr. Bean has a cold brewery that will make you drool. Designed specifically for their production, their facility is well appointed and just downright gorgeous. We talk with Jack about cold brew cocktails, Australian cold brew scene, and of course, we quiz him about their brewery space.
Highlights & Takeaways
Episode 67 Transcript
Brendan Hanson: Hey there. Welcome back and thanks for tuning into another episode of the Drips & Draughts Podcast. Today, we continue our Australian Cold Brew Series, as we’re joined by Jack Adams from Mr. Bean Cold Brew Coffee, based out of Queensland, Australia. As we’re going to learn during the episode, Mr. Bean does a good job promoting themselves at local markets and making drinks and beverages at those. Plus, they have a good reach by having their products stocked at local markets, grocers and cafes.
But I think the one big thing that drew our attention to Mr. Bean Cold Brew was the post that we saw on Instagram a few months back. Mr. Bean did a tremendous job in developing their cold brewing space, specifically for cold brewing. I’m sure this will be the episode cover. But it’s just a beautiful space. I won’t talk too much about it now because Jack and I talked about it in the episode. But if I were ever going to start a cold brew company, I would probably ask Jack and Polly to consult with me on developing my workspace.
Our interview today with Mr. Bean Cold Brew is the fourth in our Australian Cold Brew Series. It looks like we’re going to have five and maybe six in total. Today’s episode is number 69. You can find the show notes for this episode by going to dripsanddraughts.com/69. If you’re looking for any of the other episodes, episode 61 was with Filament Coffee. Episode 63 was with Rushmore Coffee. Episode 65 was with Bellerophon Cold Brew. Got a lot of Australian companies popping up and we’re hoping to feature at least one from every corner of Australia.
As it turns out, the timing is actually working out pretty well. Because scheduling these with the Australians hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it was going to be. We’re approaching the middle of summer here in the States. and a lot of the local companies are just too busy. They keep telling me, “Maybe we can do this in a month or two months.” So I have interviews that keep getting pushed off. But it’s winter in Australia, so it’s been a lot easier than I anticipated getting these episodes scheduled and recorded. With that, a big thanks to all the Aussies who are making this happen for us.
If you’re looking for links or show notes from this episode, you can find those by going to dripsanddraughts.com/67. All right guys, that’s going to do it for the intro. Let’s get into today’s interview with Jack Adams from Mr. Bean Cold Brew.
Male Speaker: Thanks to our sponsor, Cold Brew Avenue. The first stainless steel cold brew system that has reinvented how you cold brew. Easily brew up the 50 gallons using their 100% reusable, stainless steel filter system. Visit them at coldbrewavenue.com to learn more.
Brendan: All right. You’re listening to the Drips and Draughts Podcast. As always, I’m Brendan Hanson. Today, I’m joined by Jack Adams from Mr. Bean Cold Brew. How you doing, Jack?
Jack Adams: Yes, really good. Thanks. Yourself?
Brendan: Doing great. Thanks for waking up early and joining us today on this lovely afternoon here.
Brendan: Before we get into kind of Mr. Bean and your company, would you mind giving us a quick background on yourself? Maybe a short story on how you got into coffee.
Jack: Yes, for sure. It’s myself and my business partner and best friend, Polly, actually. A bit about her first, she’s a barista. Also, has a really good graphic design background. She’s really good marketing, all that sort of stuff. Myself, I’m actually a diesel mechanic.
Jack: Yes, turned Bar Manager. Bar Man. That’s how I got into the hospitality and coffee field as well.
Brendan: Interesting. Cool. You guys have a two totally separate backgrounds. Any story on how you met and what spawned you guys to start a cold brew company?
Jack: We met about 10 years ago in Airlie Beach where we finally set-up our coffee business here. Polly’s from Airlie Beach. I’m from New Castle, East Coast of Australia. I moved up here to work on another project. While we were working on the other project, which is an IT project, we needed something to do to get a bit of cash on the side and something we both enjoy, which was coffee. So we just started brewing up some coffee bottles and selling them at the local markets. We started off with that 16 bottles. From there it just gradually got more and more bottles. And here we are today.
Brendan: Just spiraled out of control.
Jack: It did, yes.
Brendan: Tell us a little bit about Mr. Bean Cold Brew. Are you guys just strictly cold brew?
Jack: Yes, we are. We just do the concentrate, strictly cold brew, and that’s it.
Brendan: I know we’ve talked about this briefly before the show, but when did you guys establish the company?
Jack: It was July 2016. We’re about 11 months, coming up onto a year.
Brendan: Wow. Relatively new and you said you’ve seen some great growth in that time, huh?
Jack: Yes, we have. There wasn’t really anyone doing what we’re doing up here. We’re in North Queensland. Yes, it’s just been a natural organic growth. Being hot weather up here, all year round, it’s worked perfectly for us.
Brendan: That’s great. That’s great. Less than a year old, you’ve seen some growth, how is this– I know you said you guys formed in July. It’s currently June. This is your guys’ winter time, isn’t it?
Jack: It is. Yes.
Brendan: This is something I’ve asked other people on this show, are you guys seeing a sales drop since your summer time or have you guys weathered that? Are you still seeing sales throughout the winter time?
Jack: It’s a minor drop. We started in winter. It was massive when we first started. It’s been a minor drop. But at the same time, we’re having 20 to 25 degree days here, Celsius through winter. It’s actually hot weather. It works perfectly for cold brew up here.
Brendan: Nice. Sounds like you’re in a pretty good location for it if the days aren’t getting too cold.
Jack: Yes, exactly.
Brendan: Where’d you guys come up with the name, Mr. Bean?
Jack: We started off, we knew we wanted to bottle in 500 ml bottles, because of the medicine type looking feel of it. Polly’s done all the branding on the bottles to have that medicine look. We were throwing names around like Doctor, Doctor Something, Doctor Brew or Doctor Bean. Somehow, one of us just said, “Mr. Bean,” and it stuck.
Brendan: It stuck, huh?
Jack: Yes. I think everyone can resemble it as well and relate to it. It’s really worked.
Brendan: Right on. Currently, you said you’re just selling cold brew. Any plans to sell beans or begin roasting or anything? Or is it strictly just going to be cold brew for now and foreseeable future?
Jack: Yes. For now, it’s just cold brew, while we’re still growing. We’re just going to be brewing the one blend and see where that takes us. In the future, once we get a little bit of money behind us, we’d spoken about maybe getting into roasting and study up a second flavor.
Brendan: Yes, that was going to be my next series of questions. Are you guys just doing a single– You mentioned you’re doing a single blend. You have plans to add on specific origins or different blends? Or is it all a single recipe right now? Or do you do ready to drink as well as concentrates like some people do?
Jack: No. It’s just the one blend we’re sticking with at the moment. It took a while to find the right one. Once we did, it’s just been great. We’re just grabbing the ball and running with that for now, see where that takes us, and then start to add other ones in. We are doing a– We’ve just started doing a ready-to-drink shot. There’s been a lot of gyms that have been requesting pre-workout shots. We’re doing that. It’s a 50/50. So 50 ml– Sorry, a 100 ml coffee and a 100ml water. It just lives in the fridges in the gyms. A nice, natural alternative to pre-workout.
Brendan: Yes, definitely. We’ve seen a lot of cold brew popping up in gyms and CrossFit type facilities. Great place for cold brewers such as yourself to market.
Jack: Yes, definitely.
Brendan: Gosh, I got to say, having just one skew and one blend, that’s got to be a– That’s got to be great, as far as business goes. You’re just producing the same thing day after day, not having to worry about scrambling to get different beans or a different recipe going. It’s got to simplify things.
Jack: Yes it definitely does, yes.
Brendan: Nice. Is everything bottled? Do you guys do any serving at markets where you serve on draught or just strictly bottles right now?
Jack: Strictly bottles, 500 ml bottles. At the markets, we pour out our bottles. We have a pretty crazy market menu which includes things like mister coco which is coffee with chocolate-infused coconut water. It’s a healthy iced mocha. We do a mister minty which is coffee with fresh mint, fresh lime, and soda water which is like a coffee mojito.
Brendan: I was going to say it sounds like a coffee-based mojito.
Jack: Exactly right. It’s the cocktails and Polly and I, that bit of experimentation. But it really works so they’re pretty much our most popular drinks down at the markets.
Brendan: These are all just liquor free?
Jack: Liquor-free, that’s right, yes. We do a mister Jaffa as well which is just fresh orange juice, coffee, and water, with a dash of sugar syrup. It tastes just like a Jaffa because of our chocolaty notes in the coffee.
Brendan: Awesome. You guys keep yourself pretty busy when you’re at the market between– i’m assuming, just serving black coffee and then making all these drinks?
Jack: Yes, exactly. Yes, we’re flat out. It’s like a little cocktail bar down there.
Brendan: Yes, it sounds like it. That sounds cool. I’ve heard of some alcoholic cold brew cocktails but really haven’t heard of too many non-alcoholics. I’m going to have to get some recipes, if you guys are open to it, and post these with the show notes and definitely going to have to try it myself at home.
Jack: Yes, indeed. No problem.
Brendan: Well, cool. Your sales are doing direct at the market. You’re distributing bottles or cases of bottles?
Jack: Yes, we distribute– We have an online store. We do free postage to Australia Wide. We’re constantly sending our boxes of four or boxes of 12. We also have a couple of distributors and just mainly lots of stockists as well. They are just stocking and using our market menu as well.
Brendan: Nice. Anybody in Australia can order some and you ship it for free?
Jack: Exactly. Yes.
Brendan: That’s nice. It’s great for the consumer.
Jack: It is, yes. It’s good to get our product out there as well.
Brendan: Well, cool. We’ve been doing a short series on Australian cold brewers and I think you guys are the first company who’s on the north side of Australia. It sounds like cold brew is still relatively new in Australia. What are your current thoughts on the cold brew scene there?
Jack: You’re right. It is very new. We’re still having to explain it to a lot of people. But in saying that there’s a lot of people who are starting to catch on and come directly to us at the markets and not ask any questions, just buying up–
Brendan: Just come and order, huh?
Jack: Yes. The first question usually is, have you had cold brew before? Do you know what it is? More and more people are saying, “Yes, of course, we do love to try some.” I can see it’s changing a bit. It’s becoming a lot more popular.
Brendan: You’re doing less explaining and less educating as the days go on.
Jack: That’s right. Yes.
Brendan: All right. Any other significant changes that you’ve seen in the one year that you guys have been operating?
Jack: There’s been a lot more cafes and bars who are starting to make their own cold brew. Just noticed. I think through social media, these places are seeing a lot more cold brew being posted around the place and everyone’s starting to try it themselves using their own coffee. Yes, it’s great that everyone’s starting to make more of it. The more people are making it, the more people are educated on it. Yes, it’s good for us.
Brendan: Yes, everybody rises together.
Jack: Yes, exactly right.
Brendan: Sounds like it’s paralleling the US cold brew market. Not too well known three, four, or five years ago but now it’s just everywhere.
Jack: Yes. I’ve noticed that. Maybe in three years time, we might be on par with America.
Brendan: Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised. Do you guys have any other– I know you said you’ve got cafes that are starting to serve cold brew, any other direct competition in your area of Australia that’s strictly cold brew companies? Or are you guys the only one up in your area?
Jack: From what we’ve noticed, we’re the only ones in this area doing this scale that we’re on. There are quite a few other big corporate companies in Australia from Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, especially. But from what we’ve seen and the research we’ve done, we’re pretty much eat up this end, I think. Yes, from what we’ve seen.
Brendan: Nice. As far as your production goes, how often are you guys cold brewing coffee? When you do, how much are you actually producing?
Jack: We brew, at the moment, just once a week. It’s usually on a Monday we brew and take the brew off on a Tuesday. We’re brewing about 250 liters. That’s 66 gallons a week.
Brendan: That’s all ready to drink?
Jack: That’s all concentrate.
Brendan: Concentrate, I’m sorry.
Jack: Yes. That equals about 500 bottles. 500 ml bottles, yes.
Brendan: Wow. You guys are moving through it. But again, I got to say that’s some good simplicity. A single recipe, one brew a week, that’s nice.
Jack: Yes. That’s exactly right.
Brendan: While we’re talking about the cold brew and your typical brew session, would you mind talking about your cold brew process? Would you mind sharing some information on that?
Jack: Yes, absolutely. We steep the brewer for about 22 hours, usually at about 25 degrees Celsius, just ambient. That’s about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The ratio we use, cold brew avenues, big 50 gallon brewers. So the ratio we use is 22 kilos of coffee to 170 liters of water. Yes, that’s 48 pounds of coffee, 45 gallons.
Brendan: Gee, so you’ve got a lot of coffee in those things.
Jack: Yes, nice and thick.
Brendan: No kidding. 22 hours, what made you guys land on that number? The reason I ask is, we always get questions. People are saying, “How long should I do this?” We tell people, “Anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.” So always curious to see what makes people land on a specific number.
Jack: We experimented with 20 hours, 24 hours, 17 hours. We tried all numbers. We didn’t get much variation around in between 20 and 24 hours. So Polly and I are both born on the 22nd of July, so we have to– It’s our favorite number. We said, “We’ll meet halfway. We’ll go the 22nd of July. It’s got to be right.”
Brendan: Some real scientific stuff.
Jack: Yes, exactly. We did a trial and error and then meet halfway. It works well for us.
Brendan: Nice. You know what, the good thing about that is, you can start a batch one day and you still got two hours to, obviously, drain the system out and get it cleaned and start another batch if you were to brew back-to-back, day-to-day.
Jack: Yes, exactly right.
Brendan: That’s one of the big perks I see in brewing less than 24 hours. Otherwise, you’re losing a day if you did have to brew daily.
Jack: Yes, for sure.
Brendan: I think one of the big reasons I wanted to talk to you guys was because I saw an Instagram post of your cold brew avenue systems and it wasn’t just that. It was your cold brewery. The setup was just beautiful. I saw it and I was like, “This is what everybody’s setup should look like.”
Jack: Yes, thank you.
Brendan: Yes. Did you guys come up with that together or you guys just fall into a kitchen space that was pre-set up? Did you guys build that out? How did that all come to be?
Jack: Yes, we actually built that about six months after starting. So around Christmas time, we were coming back from a little holiday. We were flicking through all the rentals locally, and there was this beautiful warehouse. It was pretty shabby, like rough carpet, and it was all painted white. We just jumped on it. We took it and pumped a bit of money into it and a bit of time, and we built it to what it is.
Brendan: Yes, and I made some notes here that we can walk through. I’ll put this picture up in our show notes if that’s okay with you guys.
Brendan: But yes, it is just set up to brew, it looks like. Starting from the left side of the picture, you guys got that Mr. Bean apron just to keep your clothes clean, I imagine.
Jack: Yes, that’s it.
Brendan: Then you’ve got an area where you hang the filter plates on the wall which is awesome for– after you brew, just a good place to let them dry out, I imagine.
Jack: Yes, that’s it. Just drying rack.
Brendan: You’ve got two 50 gallon cold brew systems. On each side, you’ve got a large sink which, I got to imagine, makes cleaning and everything a lot easier than not having two of those.
Jack: It does, yes. We designed the brewery to expand. It’s changed a little bit from that photo already. There’s already a stainless bench on either side. When we get two more brewers, they will share the sink from the other end. There will be four on that wall, and then slowly creep around the room and add more sinks and benches in.
Brendan: [laughs] Amazing. I think one of the best things I saw in that picture is it looks like you guys ran a waterline along the wall so that each cold brew system has direct water access to, I’m assuming, just fill it once you get the coffee in there.
Jack: Yes, that’s right. That was a dream of mine from the start, actually. One day, I’m going to have a tap for each brewer. [laughs]
Brendan: There you go.
Jack: As soon as we moved in, that was it. It was happening.
Brendan: That’s got to have just make the job a lot easier. You just turn the water on and just filling them?
Jack: Yes, that’s right.
Brendan: Is there a hose that attaches to the top of those, or is it just a spray nozzle? How does that all work?
Jack: I just have a clear plastic hose with a garden attachments. They’re all different sizes. They all serve a different purpose. I can just clip on a short one for filling and clip on a longer one for cleaning, that sort of thing.
Brendan: You guys put a little thought into this before you actually built it.
Jack: Yes. It was just brewing up in my mind for a while. Once I had the space, it was– let it pour out. All the dreams were just coming into fruition.
Brendan: Yes, no kidding. It’s got to be great to be moving into a space where you have free reign to build it the way you want.
Jack: Absolutely, yes.
Brendan: Well, it looks awesome. I think the listeners will say the same thing when they see the picture, or if they haven’t seen it already.
Jack: Yes, cool.
Brendan: The last thing in that picture, you guys got a table on the right side. It looks like you might have some bottling equipment. It looks like there’s some bottles beneath the table. Is that pretty much what that area is, or you guys do some other stuff over there as well?
Jack: Yes, that is the bottling wall. The little bottler in that picture is just a cheap thing of eBay that decided to not work after about a month. [laughs] That’s been upgraded. We now have a single head vacuum filler, an Enolmatic. We’ve just about purchased an Enolmaster, which is the four head vacuum filler.
Brendan: Amazing. That’ll make your guys’ job a lot easier.
Jack: Yes, for sure. Speed things up a bit.
Brendan: Right on. Well, cool, Jack. Been great chatting with you. I think you guys are on to big things. It seems like you guys got it going on down there. I’m going to have to see if we can talk you into sending us some cold brew to California.
Jack: Yes, absolutely. I was going to suggest it myself. We’ll definitely get that happening.
Brendan: Yes, we’ll have to talk after the show. But before we end today, any other items or anything that you’d like to mention?
Jack: Not really. I think we covered everything there.
Brendan: Right on. Well, cool. If people want to go taste your cold brew in Australia, where can they go to do that?
Jack: They can head to www.mrbeancoldbrew.com. In that website, there’s a stockist page, so you can either find your local stockist. There’s also an online store. We post Australia Wide.
Brendan: Right on. You guys are on social media as well? Where can they find you there?
Jack: Yes, probably what’s after all the social media, that’s amazing job. Instagram is mrbean_coldbrew. Yes, mrbean_coldbrew. Just on Facebook, Mr. Bean Cold Brew.
Brendan: All right, well, I’ll make sure we link all that stuff up in the show notes. Hopefully, sends more business your way.
Jack: Excellent. That’d be great.
Brendan: All right, Jack, well, thanks so much for joining me today. Best of luck as you guys move through winter and the summer. [background music]
Jack: Yes, thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.
Brendan: All right, take care.
Jack: See you.
Male Speaker: If you’re looking to learn more about cold brew or draft coffee, make sure you check out Keg Outlet’s Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee and Serving Coffee on Draught. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Daniel Browning from the Browning Beverage Company in Marfa, Texas.
Daniel Browning: I got on the internet and started looking around. I found Keg Outlet’s Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee and read it a couple more times than I’ve read anything in my life. That was pretty much all the research I needed.
Male Speaker: So if you’re looking to start your journey with cold brew or draught coffee, check out the Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee and Serving Coffee on Draft, a free 34-page eBook offered at kegoutlet.com. You can get there through the Drips and Draught’s website by going to dripsanddraughts.com/ultimateguide.
Brendan: All right, a huge thank you to Jack for joining me today. An even bigger thanks to him for shipping out a case of cold brew to me, all the way from Australia to California. To be honest, I was shocked when I received it. The box was a little wet. One out of the four bottles, the plastic cap on it broke so probably about a quarter of it spilled out. But the rest were fully intact. I can’t believe that Australia Post and the US Postal Service didn’t break one of those bottles. I was pretty surprised. I’ve tried the cold brew. It’s great. I made a couple small drinks over our fourth of July holiday.
I mixed a little bit of wine with some rye whiskey, which turned out to be pretty good. I still want to mix it up with some coconut water. I haven’t tried that yet. But they’ve got a recipe on their site. I believe it’s called “Mr. Coco,” where it’s coconut water, some chocolate syrup, and some Mr. Bean cold brew. If you’re interested in trying out any of the recipes, go check out their website, mrbeancoldbrew.com/recipes. They’ve got some tasty-looking ones on there.
Before I wrap up today, just a quick reminder. If you’re listening and if you’re getting any value from this podcast, leave us a quick rating or review. You can do that on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or on Google Play. However you listen, we’d appreciate a review. All right, once again, if you’re looking for links or show notes from this episode, you can find those by going to dripsanddraughts.com/67. One final thank you to Jack Adams from Mr. Bean Cold Brew for joining me today. I’m Brendan Hanson, and we’ll see you again next Friday–
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