Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Get Your Caffeine Fix - Coffee to Go (La Colombe and Chameleon Cold-Brew)

Just like there are republicans and democrats, there are coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers. I'm a coffee drinker. (you can guess the political careful, as I didn't mention libertarian!) To give you an idea of the type of tolerance to caffeine I have, I usually get a Starbucks venti black eye. This means 20oz. of drip coffee with two shots of espresso, black. I don't get this everyday, but if I had the funds, I would. We did invest in a legit espresso machine, so I'll make two shots to drink on my way to work. Curiously, I don't feel withdrawal or incredibly tired if I don't have coffee (recently for Labor Day, I decided to not drink coffee for 5 straight days and I was fine). Anyway, while I've seen flavored and sugary to-go drinks like Starbucks' bottled frappuccino, and instant coffee like Starbucks Via packets (incredible invention, especially while backpacking), I haven't seen much in the way of portable, ready-made black coffee. Until now. 

My good friend and health coach, Laura Pappas, gave me a bottle of La Colombe Pure black coffee. Here's a description of it from their website: 
Steeped for 16 hours in stainless steel wine tanks, free from oxygen, pressed and filtered twice, PURE BLACK is a bottled celebration of the culinary flavors of coffee - cocoa tones and sweet goodness. We recommend pouring PURE BLACK over ice.

La Colombe review: I drank it cold from the refrigerator and man, that's good coffee! I like my coffee dark and robust; this certainly was. I'm not sure what the caffeine content was, but after taking a few sips, I decided to add some fat to it which should help transport that caffeine a bit quicker to the system. I put some Nanak Pure Desi ghee and Now Foods MCT (medium chain triglyeride) oil in it and then used our handy Cuisinart Immersion blender to mix it all in. Since the coffee was cold, the ghee took a few passes through to get totally mixed in. (Note: all of those links lead to the products in my Amazon store. The cost is the same to you, but I get a few pennies if you buy something from there). 

coffee + ghee + MCT oil = buttery smooth coffee with a kick

The La Colombe bottled coffee was good enough that I would get it again. Laura picked it up from Whole Foods, but then later found it could also be bought from their website in packs of 2 or 12 bottles for $6 or $24 each, respectively. Shipping is $8.86 for UPS Ground (to Philadelphia area at least). 

After posting some pics to Facespace and Twittagram, my buddy John P. sent a pic of Chameleon Cold-Brew, another bottled coffee. Here is their description from their website:
Chameleon Cold-Brew is handcrafted in Austin, Texas by a small group of dedicated coffeenistas and entrepreneurs.  We brew each batch low and slow for more than 24 hours at a controlled temperature to produce a super smooth, extra caffeinated concentrated coffee with less acid than traditional hot-brewed coffees.  We only use 100% organic, Fair Trade Arabica coffee beans and filtered water. The rest is up to you. Enjoy Chameleon hot or cold, black, undiluted in small amounts or mixed with your favorite flavors, creamers, or other additions — and it’s perfect for drinking at home, at the office or on the go. You can find Chameleon Cold-Brew in the refrigerated section of select grocers in convenient and recyclable 16oz and 32oz glass bottles.
More than 24 hours? Wow! Pricing is $30 for three 32oz. bottles, or $22 for four 16oz. bottles.  John said that he got it at Wegman's, so I'm not sure what their price is. He also said he got the small bottle (I'm assuming he meant the 16oz. bottle) and that "it holds 4 servings. You're supposed to dilute with equal parts water." Which means that with one 16oz. bottle, you actually are getting 32oz. of regular coffee it seems. Or if you're like me, 16oz. of strong-enough coffee. 

In searching for the Chameleon Brew, I came across this caffeine database. It says that a 32oz. bottle of Chameleon Cold-Brew has 2160mg of caffeine in it, or 67mg per fl. oz. To give you some perspective on just how kick-you-in-the-pants strong this is, espresso comes in second with 51mg/oz. Yowzahs! So for $30, you're essentially getting a liter of jacked up espresso.

I have yet to try the Chameleon Cold-Brew, but I look forward to it. I am also waiting to see what other companies pop up selling ready-to-go black coffee. I like that these two companies use organic, fair trade beans and filtered water, plus they were both started with only a couple of guys in Philadelphia and Austin, respectively.

Do you know of other coffee-only products that are great to just grab and go? Post to comments and the world know. 

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