Rachel Dillon AKA the Cold Brew Chick joins us today to discuss all things cold brew as well as starting a community and growing a following specifically dedicated to cold brew. Rachel’s site/brand “Cold Brew Chick” aims to taste, review and educate on all things “cold brew”. Make sure you go and give her a follow @coldbrewchick
Highlights & Takeaways
Cold brew’s reduced acidity saved Rachel’s relationship with coffee
Cold Brew Chick – Started as a school project, has built a thriving following
Always looking to sample cold brew, let Rachel know if you’d like your cold brew reviewed
Episode 85 Transcript
Brendan: Hi there. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Drips and Draughts podcast. As always, I’m Brendan Hanson and today I’m joined by Rachel Dillon, The Cold Brew Chick. As learn in the episode, Rachel started The Cold Brew Chick as a college project but it’s grown to so much more than that. She’s got a active Instagram account, she’s got a YouTube account and she’s now started a podcast and a website that all go under the umbrella of The Cold Brew Chick.
In addition to that, she is a student and she works. Needless to say, she keeps herself very very busy, but I’ll let her tell you more about that in the interview. Before we get into the interview just a quick reminder, we’re giving out a five-gallon stainless steel cold brew system. All you have to do to enter is hop on to iTunes and leave a review. Any reviews that we received during November, will be thrown into a raffle and we’ll announce the winner on the first or second episode in December, just depending on how busy we are.
If you’ve been listening to this show for a while and haven’t left a review yet, now’s as good a time as any. Get one submitted before the month of November is over and you’ll be entered to win a cold brew avenue, stainless steel cold brew system. All right, that’s going to do it for the intro, let’s get into today’s interview with Rachel Dillon, The Cold Brew Chick.
Announcer: Thanks to our sponsor Cold Brew Avenue, the first stainless steel cold brew system that has reinvented how you cold brew, easily brew up to 50 gallons using their 100% reusable stainless steel filter system. Visit them at coldbrewavenue.com to learn more.
Brendan: All right, today I’m joined by Rachel Dillon, The Cold Brew Chick. How are you, Rachel?
Rachel: I am peachy keen jelly bean, how you’re doing?
Brendan: I’m doing good, thanks for taking some time to join me today.
Rachel: Absolutely. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.
Brendan: You just finished the test you just said, what class was that in?
Rachel: Personality psychology, I’m a nutrition major with a psych minor.
Brendan: Am I being profiled right now?
Rachel: Oh my gosh, heck no. Honestly, I just took it for fun. I thought “Hey, I’m going to be in school one more semester why not throw in a minor it’s not like I’m not doing enough with my life. I’m so close to being done, I was about to say “screw it I don’t want this minor anymore” but, I just had two more classes and I was like “I’ll just go ahead and I’ll just take them.”
Brendan: Get it done.
Rachel: Yes get it done, yes but it went really well. It’ll be nice to have a little bit of a weekend off.
Brendan: Right on. School doesn’t keep you busy enough you had to start your venture The Cold Brew Chick.
Rachel: Yes [laughing]. It’s funny because cold brew chick actually started as a school project. If I wasn’t in school, cold brew chick probably wouldn’t even exist. It’s kind of like a catch-catch there.
Brendan: Interesting. Well, before we get into your side and what you do with cold brew chick, would you mind giving us a short background on yourself?
Rachel: Yes absolutely. Name is Rachel, I am a soon to be finished with college, college student at San Diego State. Like I said I’m a foods and nutrition major, minoring in psychology, and I actually used to be a theater major when I graduated high school, but kind of had a switch around of things and decided to pursue health and fitness instead. I’m looking to become a registered dietitian here in the future, and be applying for internships, and along the way developed a passion for cold brew as a fix for the acid reflex I was dealing with whenever I drink hot coffee.
From that my love of cold brew began and then through school The Cold Brew Chick got started and here I am finishing up school, chugging along with cold brew chick and just trying to get the world to fall in love with cold brew as much as I am.
Brendan: Nice. What was the project for school that spun cold brew chick if I can ask?
Rachel: Yes, absolutely. At my school we have a side elective, so to become a dietitian you can’t just be a nutrition major, you have to go through a Didactic Program in Dietetics, which means that you take certain classes in the college to make sure that you are prepared for an internship at a hospital. One of the classes that’s required is– It’s kind of a side project; you can either get together with a business or like the Food Bank for example, and do some work or you can get together with a professor and you both together develop a project.
I was the vice president for our nutrition club on campus and our supervisor I would work together with him and got to know him really well. I asked him, I said “Hey like I want to do a project; can we do something different with this requirement that I have?” I told him that, “I’m really interested in cold brew, drink all the time.” and at the time I just kind of want to learn more about it, maybe I can go find some articles on the Internet, see if there’s any research that’s out there and kind of put together like a presentation something like that. He was like “Yes, go for it, go ahead.”
I started to do that and there’s not that much info, I mean there’s articles that the Specialty Coffee Association and other people have posted about the basics of cold brew but there’s not a lot of like scientific research going into anything in. Just… I learned a little bit but it wasn’t quite the experience I was looking for and so from that, I was already going around San Diego trying out cold brew just for my own fun. Then I thought what if I go around and hit every single cold brew spot in San Diego. I went on Yelp and I searched every city and wrote down every city spot.
Brendan: Good luck with that.
Rachel: Yes! Well, I’m almost done actually, getting close. I was like “What if I make this my project?” I’ll go to every single spot, try out every cold brew and to talk to the people that make the cold brew and learn from them about cold brew. That’s how– And then I documented it through Instagram and that’s what the project eventually became and I had the greatest– He’s the greatest Professor, he was totally gung ho, he was just like “Go for it that sounds great, rock on.”
Brendan: It’s awesome.
Rachel: Yes, so that’s how cold brew chick began and it’s still been going on. I am getting close to being done with every spot, I have about 50 more shops in San Diego to go and I’ve hit about over 100. There’s a lot of cold brew in San Diego which is awesome!
Brendan: Oh, there’s a ton, yes, no kidding. It would have been easier if you lived in a different city or went to a different college and you’d only have to do three or four spots.
Rachel: Then it wouldn’t have been as fun, so it’s kind of a blessing in disguise.
Brendan: Is your project for school done or is it still ongoing or how’s that working as far as the school portion of it?
Rachel: It was done. I did it over the summer. The summer school session ended officially so my project on the school’s side was finished, but I, of course, kept going because I’m like “Oh, my gosh this is so much fun, I’m exploring cold brew, I’m learning more than I ever could.”
Brendan: Yes, why stop now.
Rachel: Yes and I had a little bit of a following with Instagram and I was like “This might actually kind of become something more than just reviewing cold brew.” A community of people that love cold brew as much as I do and have seen an impact. Because – I’m to get all melodramatic and whatnot – but like cold brew really helps me a lot with school. I was getting through classes and studying and it had such a positive impact in that, it saved my relationship with coffee. I hated drinking hot coffee and then two hours later having this heartburn acid reflex attack and I’m like “I’m in my 20s why am I getting acid reflex, people in their 50s get this stuff. This is outrageous and I why can’t I just drink coffee like a normal person and go along with the world.”
Cold brew kind of saved my relationship with coffee, I was able to fuel my study sessions, fuel the lifestyle that I wanted to live. I’m so happy and grateful for that and if I can even help one person save their relationship with coffee and build a better relationship with the coffee industry then that means everything to me.
Brendan: Awesome. Well, that’s super cool, I didn’t realize that this came from a school project because it’s really turned into– You’ve really started to brand yourself as The Cold Brew Chick. You’ve got a website, your Instagram channel is obviously big, you’ve got a YouTube and now you’ve started a podcast as well, tell us about that a little bit.
Rachel: Yes. The podcasting was very– I was very nervous to do it, because podcasting is a major commitment. You’re essentially committing to producing between 30 minutes or an hour of content every single week and you’re depending on others to create that content because you’re interviewing and you’re talking to somebody. I spent about two months like contemplating can– I’m still in school I’m working, can I really do this, can I really commit to making sure that I can give an episode every week and listening– I was listening to your podcast at the time which besides you there’s no one else that’s really covering cold brew and even then not just cold brew.
After talking to people making cold brew and hearing their conversations because, honestly, that’s my favorite part; trying out the cold brew is great but actually talking to the people that make it and hearing their side, hearing their love for coffee, hearing how cold brew influenced them that is my number one favorite part about doing reviews and doing all of this – and I thought I love this. I’m sure there has to be other people out there that would love this as well. Why not share this content and share this with everybody. That kind of combination of just kind of like buckering up realizing yes, you can– To quote Back To The Future “if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything” and just really making sure ahead of time that I had enough people that would be interested in recording podcast episodes finally I bit the bullet and I said all right I am going to do this. Just released our seventh episode today. I have a couple more coming up with some really fantastic people on the cold brew industry, and I am so glad I decided to do it, and glad I’m glad people are enjoying it, and I can’t wait to see what happens and get some more interesting guests on there!
Brendan: Yes. Definitely, and I can totally relate. I had the same kind of experience just not knowing if I wanted to start one. I am not a person to get in front of a camera or a microphone so it was– That hurdle for me, and then obviously the time commitment. Releasing an episode every week is definitely– It can be cumbersome at times.
Rachel: Yes. It went along well especially, because then I learnt with podcasting, it’s your show, so you can have weeks where you don’t necessarily even have to have a guest per se, it can be just you talking about– Me talking about cold brew and what not, and it’s very innovative with what you do with it. It is really cool to see as podcasts grow in popularity, where the trend goes and gets inspired from other podcasts. It’s always evolving and always growing. It’s been just great to be along for the ride.
Brendan: For sure. How has it been for you getting guests on your podcast? Most people pretty willing?
Rachel: The trick is most people are absolutely more than willing to do it. It’s scheduling that’s the problem. So many people are so– I mean of course these are people producing fantastic cold brews so, they are busy with their cold brew and their coffee shops making sure that everything is going great. The hardest time is actually scheduling a time to get together and record the episode. That’s been the toughest part. And for me, you know, I am a college student with a lot of debt so, I can’t afford the greatest sound equipment per se or portable equipment. It’s a little difficult in– I just– Because I nitpick on myself sometimes the quality of my episodes hasn’t been what I want it to be and it frustrates me because I feel like it’s such great content and I want that content to come out in the highest quality to the people that listen to it. It’s just been hard for me to accept that it’s going to be– I want this to be perfect right when I launch it and that’s not going to happen. It’s going to grow. It’s going to take time. So, accepting-
Brendan: Learning curve.
Rachel: -exactly. Just understanding that that is going to happen and that these episodes that I really what to be will come. Just letting that happen but scheduling the episodes for sure has been the number one toughest thing. But luckily, everyone’s been super enthusiastic about coming on to the podcast and I am so excited for some of the guests that are coming up. I am just like,”AH!.” I could squeal. It’s so exciting.
Brendan: Right on. I would agree the same thing. Same problem. Scheduling can be tough because a lot of these people you are trying to interview and that I am trying to interview are small business owners so, trying to get them to make schedule– Make time in their days can be tough. Because they are running a business, they are probably doing their own accounting, they are doing a thousand other things and trying to curve out a half hour an hour to sit down and just talk about their business can be tough to find time where works into both schedules.
Brendan: But that’s awesome that you are getting interest and that people are super willing to join you on the show.
Rachel: Yes vice versa with drips draughts. I always –It’s a little tongue — Is it drips draughts or is it drips droughts and draughts?
Brendan: We go drips and draughts.
Rachel: Drifts and draughts. Okay.
Brendan: We tried to be fancy with the spelling
Rachel: But what is awesome for you guys too is that you don’t cover just cold brew, you cover kombucha, you cover beer. You get a little bit more leeway with your guests if you can come on which is awesome that you have such great diversity too as well. I love your episodes. You produce great content.
Brendan: Thank you. We wanted to cover a lot more beer and Kombucha but so far the cold brew community is really latched on to us that is why a majority of our content and episodes have been coffee focused.
Rachel: Yes. Cold brew keeps growing and growing.
Brendan: It sure does.
Announcer: All right, let’s take a quick pause from our interview with The Cold Brew Chick. To remind you that we are giving away a five-gallon stainless steel cold brew system. Once you enter, just hop on to iTunes and leave this podcast to review. Any review that we receive during the month of November, will automatically enter you for a chance to win a five-gallon stainless steel cold brew system, from cold brew avenue. now back to our interview with The Cold Brew Chick.
Brendan: Do you just buy and sample and review cold brews or do you actually go and talk to the people while you’re sampling it? What’s that like?
Rachel: I always try, before I go to a shop, I try to plan out my reviews. I always try before I go to a shop to contact the owner, contact the barista, and explain who I am what I do and see if I can schedule a time, because I like to sit down with them and have them talk about the cold brew and explain it and then I can ask questions and learn. And when I do my reviews I like to share as much information as I can about the cold brew. But it does not always happen. Sometimes, if it’s a really small shop they just don’t have anything set up or vice versa if it’s a very enormous shop you know business.
It can be really really hard to get a hold of them. Most of the times though I am able to schedule a time and I go, and they will usually provide me a couple of samples of the cold brew and then we’ll sit down and chat about the beans, the process, I ask questions and whatnot and then if I wasn’t able to schedule a time I will go in and I’ll buy the cold brew and then I’ll explain and say who I am and just ask, “Can I learn a little bit more about your cold brew?” and see where that goes. If it is a really busy day, they can just let me know. “Hey, we steep it for this long, we do this type of method and we use these beans.” And that’s all I can get. But it’s still better than nothing. I still take that for sure. Sometimes I luck out and I talk to the right person and we start this whole long conversation, that sometimes goes an hour long just talking about cold brew. Then from that I try to see what–Really quick did you hear that ding at all?
Brendan: I didn’t.
Rachel: Okay. Cool. I wasn’t sure. I guess I have my Facebook open and the big ding went off but trying to make sure it wasn’t recording a backtrack. If I go to a shop and I wasn’t able to schedule a time then, I will buy the cold brew and then I’ll try to ask a barista really quick if they are not too busy just a little bit information, like what beans do they use, how long do they steep it for, is it a concentrate is it ready to drink? Just little details that I could grab for the review. Sometimes I luck out and they are able to sit down with me and we chat a bit.
From there depending on if it’s a really unique cold brew, if they make a fantastic cold brew or if from our conversation I notice that they are super knowledgeable and they just have so much information in detail that I can’t put it all into an Instagram post, then I ask them, “Would you be interested — is it okay if maybe I can come back and record this as a podcast episode? Because I believe what you are saying would bring a lot of content to my audience.” So, that’s where I try to get some podcasts episodes that way as well. But, most of the time I try to schedule. I try to be respectful of their time and that way we can just– You’re one on one and really focus on the good stuff the cold brew.
Brendan: That’s awesome. You actually put a lot of for thought into just going out and sampling the cold brew.
Rachel: Yes. Absolutely.
Brendan: Nice. From my experiences and from what you are saying it sounds like most people are pretty willing to stop and meet with you for a little bit as you are sampling.
Rachel: Yes, and that’s something I have noticed. I did not consider myself a part of the coffee industry. I have never been a barista. I have no idea hot drinks Capu — I can’t tell you what a Cappuccino is honestly. I solely focus on cold brew. I consider myself kind of an outsider of the coffee industry and one of the things I have noticed and learn is that coffee industry is very open and helpful and they are very big about building relationships with their customers.
They would love to sit down with every customer and tell them about their beans and figure out what their customer likes. Unfortunately, it is not quite available just because the way that shops are worked out now, it’s so busy and sometimes you only have one or two baristas. They make you a drink, then you got to go, you got stuff to do and you got to go too. And that’s why I love seeing,at least in the San Diego area, a lot of shops that are starting to do more and more cuppings at their shops for free. Totally for free.
Just to have people come in and talk with their roaster, talk with their barista, try out this coffee, what do you think and educate and help them learn more about what coffee they like. I think especially, now that cold brews are coming more and more popular, people want to know more and more about their cold brew. There is so many varieties that are coming out now it’s like how do I know which cold brew is best for me or which one would I like. Where I also– How cold brew chick has expanded is the education side. As I have learned from trying out cold brews and learning what I like and don’t like, what makes a really good cold brew and what doesn’t. I want to pass this along to other people so that they too, when they go into a shop, can learn about cold brew if they have questions. What questions to ask the barista or the roaster so they can learn more about the cold brew and to see what new drink would be best for them.
Brendan: Sure help them find what they’re looking for.
Brendan: As you’re going and meeting with all these different shops, is there anything that you’re noticing about cold brew production, in general, like similarities or differences in an equipment used in any effect on the final flavor and taste of the cold brew?
Rachel: The biggest similarity I’ve noticed…what’s funny is that because — I think its my dad that said this to me when I first started Cold Brew Chick, he’s like, “I don’t know how you could make something of this because cold brew is so simple.” It’s such a simple process. You throw some-
Brendan: Just coffee and water [laughs]
Rachel: – coffee and water and time and that’s all it is. I don’t get how you can make so much content and talk so much about this. You would be surprised because there are so many little itty-bitty variables that can impact cold brew. The people that make cold brew are so passionate. I hate to say opinionated. They feel very strongly that the choices that they make for their cold brew are the right ones. Little things like the water- if it’s alkaline water or distilled water. Is it a ready to drink ratio or is it a concentrate? You do a hot bloom or a flash brew before you went ahead and seep it. How long do you seep it for?
What grind is your beans? Are they a super fine grind or are you doing the coarsest grind you can possibly do? What’s the environment of the shop? I could go on and on and on. These little things that you would never think about. They put so much detail into their cold brew. It’s just mind-boggling.
Brendan: It really is.
Rachel: I notice the majority of shops do Toddy method or immersion. Some I’ve been to will do a Kyoto style with the drip tower. That’s not as common, just because it’s pricier to have one and then it doesn’t yield as much cold brew as a Toddy will. That’s a little bit more of a rarity. I would say it’s about 50/50 for shops that do a concentrate or a ready to drink. Those that do a concentrate say that cost-wise it’s the most effective way. Because you make your batch of cold brew, a gallon. Then if you cut it half, it’s still a gallon to a gallon. That’s two gallons of cold brew. Whereas if you bring it, ready to drink, you just have a gallon of cold brew.
From that cost analysis perspective, it makes more sense to do a concentrate. But then on the flip side, people that do ready to drink, to them adding water once you have your finished product, it’s just asinine. Why would you do that? You’re going to ruin the flavor complexity of the cold brew. They refuse a ready drink is the way to go. It’s just so interesting how people are so passionate about their cold brew choices.
I’ve noticed certain trend– The cold brews I personally really, really enjoy. I’ve noticed certain trends with the cold brew. I’ve figured out based on how they make it, which ones I would like more. Which is what I want to pass along to people as well. If you have a certain flavor profile or a certain type of cold brew you like, here’s probably things to look for in a cold brew to know that if you like it or not.
Brendan: Nice. You’re going to have to make a flow chart or something and release that.
Rachel: It’s all being worked out.
Brendan: You obviously taste a ton of cold brew. Do you ever make your own cold brew at home?
Rachel: I get asked that all the time. When I first got into cold brew about three years ago, I did play around with making cold brew at home. I got a French press because at the time I read its the best way to make a cold brew. I got a French Press and I would buy just flavored beans. I thought it was really cool to take flavor beans and make cold brew. I would take the pumpkin spice flavored beans from Starbucks and I would make a cold brew with that. One of the reasons why I love cold brew so much is because I like to drink it black.
As I say all the time in my Instagram, “Once you go black, you never go back.” From a nutritional standpoint, if I can get people to drink black coffee without adding any milk or sugar, those additional calories, then it’s a big win win in my book. The idea of flavored coffee is a huge thing for me because I can enjoy this black. I still get that nice, in this case, the pumpkin spice flavor or-
Brendan: A little taste of fall.
Rachel: -just a little something without necessarily adding any calories or sugar. Once I got into Cold Brew Chick, I didn’t make any cold brew whatsoever because at the time, I’m drinking this cold brew from these shops, it’s like I don’t need any more caffeine. I just — I’m good. Recently within the past couple of months, as people have been asking me about– This is what I want to know more about is making cold brew at home. It really is– One of the bigger trends with cold brew, is people making it home and playing around with mason jars and beans and whatnot.
Since I really want to become the number one source of all things cold brew as like well, if I want to give content about making cold brew I think I got to start making some cold brew myself. Pulling the information I have learned from the people I’ve talked to. I got a Toddy. I’ve been lucky enough there’s been another– Another trend with cold brew is people making cold brew makers. I’ve seen a lot of these pop up across Instagram, at coffee shows. I’ve got a couple of those to play around with. I was lucky enough to get drip tower to play around with.
Now I’m getting into making cold brews and learning what beans I like and don’t like. My ultimate goal is to find, of course, to get into the nitty-gritty of it. If you want to be a cold brew nerd like me, you want to know ratios, water time, and everything. Also just for the person that’s like, “Hey,”– Like me back.” A couple of years ago I’m like, “Hey, I just want to play around and make fun cold brew.” What’s just a really easy way to do it at home. I don’t want to do these ratios. I don’t even have a grinder.” I literally– When I said simple. Just some cups of coffee and water-
Brendan: Coffee and water.
Rachel: One time and just get me a good tasting cold brew. That is my ultimate goal. Is to create a guide, a simple, simple guide that’s always going to make you a great cold brew. I just play around and have fun with it.
Brendan: Nice. If you had to guess, as of right now, how many different cold brews do you think you’ve sampled or maybe you know since you review, maybe you keep a log of all these?
Rachel: I do know.
Rachel: I’ve had some including shops. Because I do shops for Cold Brew Chick to finish that project. I also review bottled cold brews because that’s also a major thing as well. When I do those, I do video reviews. I also review kits. That’s another huge trend with cold brew right now. People like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts are coming out with these cold brew pods so you can make cold brew at home and it’s easy clean up. All of those combined, I’ve done about 175 cold brews.
Brendan: Different cold brews, wow. That’s awesome. That’s amazing. I wonder if anybody on earth has sampled more than you have?
Rachel: I would love to know if they have please contact me on my Instagram @coldbrewchick. I would love to talk with you!
Brendan: [laughs] That would be interesting to find out. That would be a great episode. So, to date, what is your favorite cold brew? Do you have one? I’m sure there’s quite a few. How about top three?
Rachel: I have favorites with an “S” at the end. It’s tough for me to say my favorite. Obviously it’s like a mother with children. How do you have a favorite child? How do you have a favorite cold brew? Because part of it – and this is the criticism I’ve gotten, is that “can you truly judge cold brew?” So much of it is based on the type of flavor that people like from the beans and the roast. Just because-
Brendan: It will vary so much from person to person. Whoever’s tasting it is going to have their own preference.
Rachel: -exactly. There is certain things that if you taste a cold brew, it’s not a good cold brew because it’s either gone bad, it’s under extracted, over extracted or whatnot. That being said, the one cold brew that just always sticks in my mind…. I’ll give it you two. Here’s my top two cold brews. Once that’s flavored, one that’s not flavored, so we’ll give it a little bit of balance. My favorite flavored cold brew is from a shop in Rancho Bernardo, California which is in– If you live in San Diego they’re the-
Brendan: Escondido area?
Rachel: -exactly. They’re like the northeast part of San Diego. It’s a place called Mostra Coffee. They have a cold brew – all of their cold brew is fantastic. They have a cold brew that’s called One Brazilian Coconuts. All it is is a single origin Brazil cold brew. They add coconut during the immersion process. When they gave it to me first, they told me, “Okay, we’re going to give it to you as a concentrate and we can water it down for you but we want you to taste it in its concentrate form.” I freaking– Was just like, “Wow, this is amazing.”
I am very open about what cold brew I like. I like really chocolate, bold, rich cold brew and this was it. It was so rich, so delicious. You got that lovely wonderful chocolate flavor from Brazil. You get this just hint of coconut at the end. It was just like heaven. I was like oh my god this is amazing. The beauty of it too is that I could enjoy it as a concentrate. A lot of times when you have cold brew concentrate it’s like, “Oh, it’s so strong.” You have-
Brendan: Super strong.
Rachel: -you have to add water to it. This I could drink it as a concentrate. That’s actually what I did. They serve it in bottles – that’s the other thing I like about them too is that their bottles have a rubber like spout top. It keeps the air really out of it. I would drink it just four ounces concentrate, couple of ice cubes and that’s how I’ve enjoyed their cold brews that way and it’s to this day of all the flavored cold brew I have. I just I love that cold brew so much.
Brendan: It’s a good one. So they add coconut or coconut water to the– While they are steeping?
Rachel: They add coconut.
Brendan: Awesome I don’t think I’ve tried anything like that I’m going to have to search something like that out.
Rachel: Oh yeah. This is another– It’s fun to see as cold brew gets bigger the trends that come with it. And this is a trend that’s happening as well – is immersions of flavors either during the cold brew process or afterwards. I think Chameleon was probably the biggest one to head spear that with like a caramel cold brew, vanilla, pecan, but– pecan in cold brew? It’s just like what? They were the first to really come out with these flavored cold brew concentrates. Then they have their recipes that they have it in cocktails that you can make with it. So it’s been really cool to see shops here in San Diego play around with adding ingredients during the steeping process or mixing it with stuff afterwards and just kind of seeing the combinations that come with it some which are amazingly delicious…. and then some that maybe should have never been created.
Brendan: Yeah. Now back to the drawing board.
Rachel: Yes. So yes. My flavored one for sure, Mastra One Brazilian Coconuts. Then my number one cold brew and I have to call it my number one. Not even– I mean of course this is fantastic but it also it’s– How shall I put this? They’re my number one cool brew because they popped my cold brew cherry. It was the first cold brew I ever had. So they kind of get some bonus points there automatically. But also when I drink it, it has an effect on my brain that I rarely get from cold brews. This cold brew is from a shop in North Park. It’s called Holsem Coffee, right there when you go down the University Avenue you see a North Park sign and it’s right there to the left. It was the first cold brew I had. I remember trying it and just being blown away by how that same thing they serve their cold brew concentrated because they mix it with other– They have in the Nutella brew which is mixed with dark chocolate, hazelnut milk and something else. It’s fantastic. But they also serve their cold brew as a concentrate. I just loved how strong it was, about how it wasn’t bitter, I got a great chocolate flavor, you got a couple a little bit of berry in there as well and from the moment I first drank it I loved the after effects too in that, “Oh my gosh it’s been two hours. I’m energized. I have a caffeine high and I have no acid reflux. This is fantastic.” So that kind of euphoric moment I had when I first drank it. Then just the effect that it has on me, whenever I drink their cold brew when I’m in their shop and I have my laptop open, I get [bleep] done. I get– Oh, can you curse on this?
Brendan: I’ll bleep it out. It’s fine.
Rachel: I get so much work done. It just it switches a light on in my brain that I just hyperfocus. It’s almost like Adderall. I just, I focus, and I can get my schoolwork done. I can plan out things. It’s magical and–
Brendan: That’s one that you go back to?
Rachel: Always. It’s my shop. It is my coffee shop.
Rachel: When I’m going to do– Actually, I’m going to do a post about that. How do you find your coffee shop? Your place you go to and Holsem is for sure in my shop. They know me now very very well.
Brendan: There you have it, folks. There are the two best cold brews. And Rachel, if we can put you on the spot, what’s the worst cold brew you’ve ever tried. And I can bleep out any names if[laugh] you do throw somebody under the bus.
Rachel: And to my fair warning, and here’s – I’ve never posted about this on a cold brew chick because I figured I wouldn’t have to. But of course anytime we have an emotional connection to food and a lot of us have an emotional connection to our coffee. God forbid. If we don’t have our coffee in the morning we’re going to lose our mind. We love, love, love coffee. So, of course, people have very high opinions about coffee and that’s just it – what I review and what I say is my opinion. I think it’s a great opinion, but it’s just an opinion. So, there have been some people– especially when I posted this review of this cold brew I talk about, that were so offended with what I had to say, and I mean it broke me inside because I never, I never go into a shop wanting to give a bad review. I hope every time I go to get a cold brew it is the best cold brew I’ve ever had. Because that’s the standard I want cold brew to be at. I want every cool brew out there to be amazing and fantastic and for people to see it for what it is. A premium coffee drink. But, if we have these cold brews out there that are subpar or they’re not consistent then it degrades that premium title in front of it and I don’t want that to happen. So, that’s why I continue to do what I do and why I was very bluntly honest with the shop I went to. One positive, it wasn’t in San Diego this shop, it was in Orange County. I won’t even say the city. I’ll just say it was in Orange County and I stopped by on the way back. I was up in LA, and I was driving through and I stopped by– I had a friend that used to work there and they have a really cool little wall that is on Instagram all the time. So, I was like, “I’ll stop there and get a cool brew on the way home.” I had the cold brew and I felt so bad because, I sipped it in front of the barista and I wanted to spit it back out. It was horrible.
Brendan: Oh my God.
Rachel: It was just so acidic to the point where you can’t even– I appreciate acidic cold brews now, but I couldn’t even swallow it. It would just– It made my mouth just pucker and– Oh man it was very very hard.
Brendan: Something was wrong there.
Rachel: Something– it was a type of bean and that type of style of cold brew that I already knew I didn’t like. But even then there’s an extra layer on there that just– I had my friend was there with me and I had her try it. I was like I hope it’s not just my preference coming in that– this is just not a good cold brew. And she tried it. and her taste a little different than mine so, I knew that if she didn’t like it too, it would probably pretty valid. And she was. “Yes, this is not good.” Here I am. I was like, “Oh, shoot, I now have to post about this.” I had a really– I spent a good couple hours writing up the post and thinking about it. I’m like, “I’m I being too harsh, I’m I being too mean?” But I’m like, “But honestly–” I had to throw it away. Which is the worst thing. I never went there with a cold brew. It breaks my heart. And I had to toss this after two sips.
Brendan: Oh men.
That one was pretty bad. But the good news is there hasn’t been a lot of bad cold brew out there. There’s been some just kind of average, but not bad. Maybe only… not even five, which is good, which is awesome.
Brendan: When you say it close to 200 only fives. Not– It’s less than 3% of them
Rachel: Yes not a shabby track record. .
Brendan: Not bad at all.
Rachel: That one always sticks in my mind because it was the first kind of really bad review I had to post. And I even– I felt so bad because the company removed their tag which I totally understood. You don’t want to have a bad review out there. And I sent them a really long message saying, “I’m sorry but I have to stand by what I feel and I still support you guys and I like your posts on Instagram and I’ll still follow you but I just. I’m sorry.” I just I felt so bad. But now I’m if I have a bad cold brew, just like, “Come on guys step it up.”
Brendan: Everybody’s doing this right. How come you’re not? Figure it out.
Rachel: Yes. That one always sticks in my mind as being one of the worst. And just one– Being the first time I had to really had to post a bad review.
Brendan: Got it. At least you stayed true to yourself and your taste buds.
Brendan: This might be the wrong time to lead into a different question, but if there’s any listeners out there, any shops out there, I know you’re pretty local of San Diego, but if any of our listeners want their cold brew reviewed by you would you be open to having them send you a couple of bottles and you do a review for them?
Rachel: Oh absolutely. That’s been– the beauty of Instagram is that it’s international and that’s been one of the– I know funnest is not a word but, whatever. Funnest parts of doing cold brew chick is getting– Trying out cold brews from even across the world. I just reviewed a cold brew from Mexico. I had a cold brew from Guatemala. Not like made from the beans but actually from Guatemala. People across the nation are doing some crazy fun things with cold brew and I’m always dying, I comment like, “I want to try this cold brew so bad like, is there anyway I can get a bottle so I can try it.” Not even from a review perspective but from a cold brew fan perspective I just really want to try it.
Brendan: Just want to try.
Rachel: Exactly. Yes, so I’ve been a lot– I haven’t changed my reviews but I’m much more open if I don’t like a cold brew, respecting the fact that they may not necessarily mean it’s about cold brew it just may not be my favorite preference. So, don’t be shy don’t be scared. I’m very nice. I swear I would be honored to try your cold brew for you.
Brendan: Well good Rachel, I think that basically covers everything we had penciled out. Anything else you might want to mention?
Rachel: I guess the only thing is just I’m always trying to learn more about what people want to know about cold brew, education wise. Do you want to know more about making it at home? Do you want to know more about– even coffee education in general, flavor notes. Roast profiles, how do you know which roast style you prefer? I’m always open to know more about what people want to know about coffee and cold brew.
Brendan: If people want to reach out, ask you a question or talk to you. Where can they go to find you?
Rachel: I’m on Instagram, all social media accounts I am “coldbrewchick”. No spaces, underscores, anything just straight “coldbrewchick”. My website coldbrewchick.com will be launching very, very soon. It will probably be ready by the time this episode is released. On there I have “cold brew 101”. Any education you’d want to know about cold brew, and links to all my podcast episodes.
I also have a map of all the places I’ve reviewed. Both in San Diego, in Oregon, a couple of other spots across the nation. All you have to do is type in if you’re lucky enough to live in San Diego or around the west coast, just type in your ZIP code. It will link you to the closest cold brew shop that has cold brew and that I’ve reviewed. All my reviews are organized up there and ready for your viewing pleasure.
Brendan: Awesome. Good stuff Rachel. Totally appreciate you being on the show today. We’ll probably have to do this again in the future.
Brendan: Alright. Thanks a lot.
Rachel: Thank you.
Announcer: If you’re looking to learn more about cold brew or draft coffee make sure you check out keg outlets ultimate guide to cold brew coffee and serving coffee on draft. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Daniel Browning from the Browning Beverage Company in Martha Texas.
Daniel Browning: I got on the internet and started looking around, I found Keg Outlets ultimate guide to cold brew coffee. Read it a couple of more times than I’ve read anything in my life. That was pretty all the research I needed.
Announcer: If you’re looking to start your journey with cold brew or draft coffee check out the ultimate guide to cold brew coffee and serving coffee on draft. A free 34 page e-book offered at kegoutlet.com You can there through the drifts and drafts website by going to driftsanddrafts.com/ultimate guide.
Brendan: All right. A big thanks to Rachel for joining me today. If you don’t already make sure you go follow her on Instagram. Her username is coldbrewchick. Check out her website it’s coldbrewchick.com Do you mind if I vent for a minute? Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel like all of technology is against? I had one of those yesterday after we recorded this. I was trying to get the episode finalized and produced. My computer just decided that it wanted to continue to crash, over and over and over. If there’s gaps or some problems with this episode, I am just going to blame it on my computer and we’ll leave it at that.
Hey, if the episode ends up turning out great let us know. Leave us a review on iTunes. Two birds with one stone. You’ll leave us a review you’ll do something good for the podcast. Plus, you’ll be entered to win a stainless cold brew system from cold brew avenue. All right guys, that’s going to do it for today. Thanks for listening. If you’re looking for links or shout outs for this episode. You can find those by going to driftsanddrafts.com/85. Another thanks to Rachel, The Cold Brew Chick for joining me today. I’m Brendan Hanson and we’ll see you again next Friday on the drifts and drafts podcast.