Grinders Coffee talks to BeanScene about developing its new Coffee X-Tract, standardising caffeine strength, and creating the perfect martini mixer.
Every Friday evening, swarms of Melbourne’s office workers leave their deadlines behind and seek relief in many of the city’s bars and laneway vendors. Beer and wine are popular choices, but those seeking a little more pizzazz to kick-start their weekend turn to what is arguably the city’s number-one cocktail of choice – the espresso martini.
For the past five years, the espresso martini has enjoyed it’s time at the top of the cocktail chain, and there’s no signs of its popularity fading anytime soon. To keep its momentum, Grinders Coffee has been busy developing its new Coffee X-Tract espresso martini mixer.
Grinders Coffee Innovations Manager and Master Roaster Levent Doganay is the man responsible for developing the pure coffee extract.
“Grinders wanted to create a product with a variety of uses, and after 18 months, many attempts and expert advice from our mixologist, Brendan Rogers, we found the right formula and balance,” Levent says.
“The result is a 100-per-cent coffee extract with no sugar, preservatives or stabliser added. We selected a beautiful Colombian single origin chosen specifically for its round, bold, chocolate profile with a smooth finish that perfectly complements cocktails such as the espresso martini.”
After working in the coffee industry for the past 15 years, Levent says he’s tried his fair share of espresso martinis, and would often notice different intensities of coffee flavours and caffeine strength.
“If you think about it, there’s no real standard for caffeine strength in espresso martinis,” Levent says. “A barista can pull a shot from an espresso machine and deem that to be the most effective level of coffee flavour without knowing the amount of caffeine for the drink.”
Levent says the same theory can then be considered in regards to cold brew products, many of which are ‘home-brewed’ and produced at the discretion of a café owner. That’s another discussion altogether, Levent says, but for the extract product, Grinders was determined to do things their way.
“When it comes to coffee extract, everyone has their own idea and I can’t really say one method is right or wrong, but we’ve found what works best for us, and we’ve gone about it the right way based on Grinders Coffee’s strict product development processes,” Levent says. “The result is a world-class product that’s treated to our high standards and produced in a world-class facility.”
After roasting, coffee particles are ground to a precise size and put through a six to eight-hour immersion process.
“Grinders believes this timeframe extracts the most desirable flavours. It avoids over extracting the bitter flavours,” Levent says. “We scrutinised the coffee extract process to make sure it was the best we could produce.”
For that final tick of approval, Grinders enlisted the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to undertake biological testing of the extract and assess its production and safe levels of consumption. CSIRO tested the coffee extract formulation and shelf-life stability, as low-acid, shelf-stable foods must be processed and/or preserved to ensure commercial sterility.
The extract received a positive validation from CSIRO. It has a shelf life of 12 months when kept at an ambient temperature.
“Most people don’t think about how a product was produced and whether it’s safe to consume or the repercussions of yeast, mould, and bacteria, and you really shouldn’t have to,” Levent says.
Being a concentrate, Levent says Grinders had to regulate the caffeine content to ensure the appropriate per-serve of caffeine. The recommended serving size is similar to a 30-millilitre shot of espresso or 72 milligrams of caffeine.
One of the most impressive things about the extract is the crema. Once mixed and poured as a cocktail, it holds a rich creamy crema through to the last sip.
Grinders Coffee Academy Manager Andy Easthope says he too is confident in this product, thanks to the intricate processes of care and development Grinders has observed.
“I know we’ve controlled everything about this product, from roasting to extracting, and essentially what you get at the end is a really great concentrate to be used in many different applications. It’s extremely versatile,” he says.
Aside from espresso martinis, the extract can be used to create other cocktails – plus iced coffees, tonics, frappés, desserts, and cakes.
“It’s got the taste characteristics that you’d find in a really good cold brew,” Andy says. “We’ve designed this product for people in bars or café bars who are looking for a convenient option to get a high-quality coffee ingredient but don’t necessarily want to spend all the time and effort required to get something that’s really consistent and delicious.”
Grinders X-Tract launched in September and is ready to make its mark in time for the summer season.
“We’ve raised the bar,” Levent says. “We want to pioneer the way, and we’ll keep exploring and looking for new ways to improve the products we offer to consumers.”
In the meantime, Levent says he’ll probably enjoy an espresso martini – or two – for work purposes, of course.
For more information, visit www.grinderscoffee.com.au