Elemental Beverage Company is shifting the beverage paradigm by developing technology that preserves and enhances the aroma and flavour of coffee – but cold.
In theory, turning hot coffee into cold in less than 60 seconds sounds like a magic trick straight out of a Harry Potter movie, but one company has made it a reality.
Elemental Beverage Company has created the Snapchiller, a machine that combines thermodynamics, engineering, and artistry to transform hot beverages into cold drinks on demand.
Making its debut at this year’s Specialty Coffee Association Expo in Boston, the Snapchiller had heads turning as patrons were prompted with the question: “Want to see hot coffee become cold in less than a minute?” As crowds gathered, eyes fixated on the machine as hot brewed coffee was poured into the top chamber of the Snapchiller before the liquid filtered down the magnetic coils and extracted into a cup at -10°C.
Elemental Beverage Chief Alchemist and Co-Founder David Dussault says fresh coffee is key to the ultimate flavour experience. To him, it represents magical flavours in the cup, but says this magic was lost when it came to cold coffee available on the market.
“I’m sensitive to coffee being fresh, and I couldn’t find a fresh cold coffee. I even tried putting my own coffee in a freezer with ice, but the magic was lost,” he says. “My solution, as an engineer, was to figure out how to change the temperature of coffee without oxidisation so the coffee doesn’t go stale, and find a way to make cold coffee, tea, and cocktails better than iced, refrigerated, or cold brewed products.”
Dave, a graduate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), used his university experience to develop a patented technology that combines thermodynamics with heat exchange technology to rapidly cool liquids to temperatures as low as -23°C. David then worked with industrial designers and found a passionate partner to help finance his idea and bring the Snapchilling concept to life.
“Snapchilling preserves all the flavours of a hot coffee, unlike any other method for making cold coffee,” says Ryan McDonnell, Chief Coffee and Tea Officer of Elemental Beverage Company. “Coffee is incredibly volatile at high temperatures, meaning its aromas are rising to our nose and out of the drink. From the moment coffee is brewed, it’s starting to chemically break down. By Snapchilling the coffee, we can experience flavours at a more drinkable temperature, without them dissipating into the air.”
“Now the magic happens,” Dave says. “There’s no ice, no dilution, and no oxidisation, so the product doesn’t become stale. George Howell [Founder of US coffee roaster George Howell Coffee] told me he had been looking for a machine like this this year. He’s now got three of our machines and uses the Snapchiller for pour overs and chilling drip coffees.”
The Snapchiller is available in 16-ounce volumes for restaurants, high volume cafés, and bars. Ready-to-drink Snapchilled coffees in 12-ounce cans or commercial-grade kegs are also available.
Elemental Beverage CEO Jonathan Chen says because some coffees work better in the Snapchiller compared to others, it’s important to experiment with different temperature profiles and set the precise temperature to suit even the most complex of single origins. Elemental Beverage Company has even Snapchilled Producer Joseph Brodsky’s Founder’s Selection Gesha from Ninety Plus Estates.
“For a lot of people, cold coffee from the Snapchiller will be the first time they really experience particular flavour descriptors,” Jonathan says. “You know when someone asks if you can identify the strawberry or blueberry notes and you struggle to identify them in your cup of hot coffee? Well, for the first time, a lot of people will finally experience it because Snapchilling the coffee immediately preserves and amplifies flavour without compromising on taste. It will be a whole new level of coffee appreciation.”
The Snapchiller will be making shipments at the end of 2019. Ready-to-drink cans are available now.
This article appears in the June 2019 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.