Two summers ago, it was coffee tonics (espresso spiked with tonic water) that took the craft coffee world by storm—and when Portland, Oregon-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters added a version to its menu last June, they officially became a thing. This year, we’re seeing lemon-accented coffee drinks popping up at places like Brooklyn, New York’s Stand Coffee and newbie Supercrown Coffee Roasters.
Well, we’re calling that next up in the revolving door of coffee mash-ups will be the ancient, fermented, wildly popular tea known as kombucha.
As of this week, New York’s veggie-centric American resto Chalk Point Kitchen is offering an iced coffee kombucha, a bottled beverage designed by Alex Ingalls of year-old Brooklyn-based Pilot Kombucha. According to Ingalls, blending two wildly popular beverages—cold-brew coffee and kombucha—was an idea conceived by Chalk Point Kitchen head chef Rebecca Weitzman and owner Matt Levine, and one that Ingalls was eager to try.
Ingalls explains the beverage as a blend of “our original kombucha using organic green and black teas, [plus] locally roasted Caribbean coffee, cold-brewed with a blend of ayurvedic spices designed to aid the digestive process.” And because kombucha has B vitamins, probiotics and antioxidants, she adds that the drink is especially “great if you need an extra boost in the morning or before you party the night away sans hangover.”
For home kombucha brewers versed in the art of fermenting tea, Ingalls offers a few tips:
① Add the coffee halfway through the fermentation cycle or at bottling—both results are delicious.
② Because coffee is acidic and slightly bitter, homebrewers should shorten the tea’s fermentation time slightly so the kombucha’s sweetness can balance the coffee’s flavor.
③ For those who prefer carbonated kombucha, add a little extra sugar at bottling, because the coffee doesn't carbonate very well on its own.