Boston’s Barismo Introduces Hot Draft: Kegged Batch Coffee
BY KELSEY VISCOUNT
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Certitude has long been a determining characteristic of Barismo Coffee Roasters in Somerville, Massachusetts. Perhaps it’s a consequence of old business dealings, observing Boston’s coffee culture change every few years, or owner Jaime van Schyndel’s own convictions, but Barismo continually and unwaveringly marches to the beat of its own drummer. (Or rather, Barismo scrapped the drummer all together and built their own musical robot.) Undoubtedly, self-assurance and technological and educational innovation are inextricably intertwined at Barismo. And recently, that relationship has produced one of craft coffees most curious concepts ”hot draft.
As the newest iteration of its company-wide obsession with innovation, Barismo created hot draft, a mysteriously concocted batch coffee, stored in kegs, pumped through high-temp food-grade hoses, and delivered via bar taps. In a recent conversation with Barismo’s head of cold brew operations, Patrick Greer, he enumerated upon the function and future of hot draft in Barismo’s slow-bar environment. œHot draft fills a void in our product lineup. It’s designed for the grab and go customer, and fits the changing of the seasons says Patrick. Launched in mid-September, hot draft was developed as a solution for customers who love Barismo’s cold brew but want a hot and quick coffee option when winter descends upon Cambridge/Somerville. (As a recent transplant to New England, I can attest that even the most devout cold coffee drinker must eventually trade in his beloved cold brew for a hot brew once winter begins ”lest he want to have a plastic cup surgically removed or melted from his hand.) œWhen the seasons change, we start to see a decline in cold brew production. We created hot draft so that we’d have a coffee offering with the ease of cold brew, quality of a pour over, and consistency of a batch brewer, explains Patrick.
What’s the beef with batch brewers? œWe knew we could make it better, says Patrick. œBatch brewers can sit untouched for a long time between customers, and as the pot dwindles, there are differences in flavor, temperature, and body within that single brew because of the residual sediment. We want to eliminate those variabilities. Hot draft is a proof of concept that it can be done, he contends. Though Patrick keeps the specifics of the hot draft brewing process a secret, he credits the elimination of suspended solids for the clarity of the finished product. “Suspended solids inhibit the ability to taste all that a coffee has to offer because they continue to extract in the cup, he says. Without the grit, Patrick hopes that customers will taste greater flavor transparency and nuance.
The hot draft does taste markedly different than Barismo’s pourover offerings. For V60 pourover service, Jaime has outfitted the cones with flannel Woodneck filters. This sustainability measure yields heavier, richer body that’s well contrasted by the delicacy of hot draft. I was skeptical of the hot draft initially, and the baristas assured me mine was a common hesitation. The idea of hot, kegged, and constantly circulating coffee convinced me I’d be drinking a cloudy, reheated cold brew ”I was wrong. The El Bosque I tried was chocolatey with red grape and subtle black cherry flavors. As Patrick promised, it was a remarkably smooth cup of coffee, with shortbread and 2% milk-like body.
œWe want to be able to offer multiple hot draft choices in the future, different coffees, nitro, etc. says Patrick. His attitude is indicative of the overall spirit of innovation and self-improvement at Barismo. For Patrick, technological and educational advancement are the future of craft coffee. œI love surprising customers every year. It’s great to hear that they think we make the best product, but it’s even better to keep improving that product and see their reactions when we’ve made the best better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelsey Viscount is a barista turned academic currently completing her master’s degree at Harvard. A lover of all things coffee education and brewing science, she works as a consultant for Not Just Coffee. These days, Kelsey can be found holed up in the basement of Andover-Harvard Theological Library waiting for Boston’s winter to end.