Ona Coffee Marrickville is set to open its doors on Saturday 26 in Sydney, with frozen coffee on the menu.
The space will house offices, a training facility and an espresso bar featuring frozen doses of coffee. Freezing coffee is increasing in popularity in the specialty coffee world, with the majority of the finalists of the 2017 World Barista Championships incorporating frozen coffee into their performances.
Head Barista and Manager of Ona Coffee Marrickville, Isaac Kim, says that freezing coffee has a range of benefits, including preservation of coffee, and how the coffee acts during extraction.
“Over several years, research and testing have shown that freezing coffee can help with grinding,” Isaac says.
“Frozen coffee is more brittle so it shatters when ground, giving us a more even distribution of grind sizes. This means we can easily focus our extractions on the distinctive flavours that make each coffee unique.”
Frozen coffee doesn’t just help with narrowing flavour, Isaac thinks it can also change coffee service entirely, and open a window of opportunity for customers to try.
“By freezing our doses, we can preserve a coffee at its peak when the rate of carbon dioxide release has slowed down from the roasted beans,” Isaac says. “A customer can walk in and enjoy a coffee that was roasted a year ago, but tastes like it was roasted two weeks ago.”
Freezing beans has been attempted on a commercial scale in a number of cafés, including several in Australia, the United States, and Canada.
Mike Chapman of 1914 Coffee Company in Squamish, Canada has been serving a frozen coffee menu for several years, featuring coffees from Ona Coffee, Ninety Plus, and Monogram, to name a few.
Mike has been collecting a vintage freezer menu for more than two years that’s over 100 coffees deep and occupies two freezers.
“I am also about to add a roast-to-order vintage green coffee menu like what George Howell has been doing for a number of years,” Mike says.
Michael Cameron, General Manager of Barista Hustle, says that the use of freezing coffee on a commercial scale over time means that the focus should shift from research to education.
“I think the public will respond positively to having a wider range of coffee available, as long as the people serving it are willing to invest some time in educating staff,” Michael says.
Michael adds that from previous experience working in a café with a frozen coffee menu, it can be met with a positive response.
“One of the main reasons for this was [that] we were able to provide them with a repeatable and predictable experience — when brewed correctly, frozen beans will taste the same as next week, or next month, or next year,” he says.
Michael says freezing coffee will give baristas the opportunity to champion farmers, origins, and micro-lots that are special and unique, and provide value back down the chain.
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