Sump Cold Brew Cans

At the end of April 2019, St Louis-based coffee roaster & shop Sump Coffee announced a partnership with 4 Hands Brewing Company to make a line of canned cold brew coffee. 

Today, I finally tracked down a can. They sell them at Hello Juice in South St Louis, which was on my way as I was running Saturday errands with the kids. 

If you haven’t had Sump Coffee before, it’s amazing. Sump owner Scott & team do a masterful job of roasting coffee beans and brewing coffee that tells the coffee’s story.

I know that may sound weird but… for the longest time, I always thought of coffee was one note. It was dark and tasted like I imagined what it’d be like to lick cement. 

When you go to a coffee shop like Sump, you see that coffee can have depth. You don’t need the flavored creamer that artificially tastes like caramel or strawberries. The coffee itself has notes of strawberry or caramel. It’s crazy.  It’s like drinking great wine or a fine craft beer.

Suffice it to say, I had high expectations when getting the cold brew can. I’m happy to report back that it met and exceeded my expectations.  When I get a cold brew coffee from Starbucks, I feel like I drink it pretty quickly. With this, you really want to sit and ponder each sip because there’s a lot going on in your mouth. It’s also incredibly refreshing. You can’t beat the cold brew method on a warm day. (Of course, today is cold-ish and rainy in St Louis. ) 

At $5 for the can of Sump Cold Brew Coffee, it’s not cheap. To put it into perspective though, a venti cold brew at Starbuck is going to run you practically the same price. This is exponentially better. 

Blue Bottle Coffee

I started going to coffee shops with my dad when I was 12 or 13. We’d go before we’d go to the grocery store. Because I was young, at that point, I was drinking sugary drinks that had barely any coffee. After college, I moved to Washington, DC. I tried different coffee roasters and shops. I could start to see that coffee could really be an experience.

On a business trip to San Francisco, I was staying downtown and walking around after a conference. I stumbled upon Blue Bottle Coffee‘s outpost in Mint Plaza.  I instantly fell in love with the brand as it taught me new depths of what coffee could be.

The company was started by James Freeman in Oakland, CA in the 2000s. They’ve become known for sourcing the best beans, quality roasting, incredible freshness, and perfection in brewing technique. For example, they only sell beans that have been recently roasted to maximize flavor.

This morning, I was drinking beans from a farm in Myanmar. It popped with flavor. Drinking the coffee is like going on an epic journey.

I’m sure it all sounds pretty silly. You just have to try the coffee. They have cafes in most of the major coastal cities. If there isn’t one close, you can order their beans online and brew at home.

I’ve become mildly obsessed. We don’t have Blue Bottle in St Louis. So I’ll buy the beans from time to time online. When I do business trips to the coasts, I’ll book my hotels according to where I can drop by one of the Blue Bottle cafes. My teammates make fun of me. 🙂

So, go out there and try Blue Bottle Coffee.

My Favorite Coffee Equipment

When I was younger, I’d go grocery shopping with my dad. Before the store, we’d get a coffee. At that point it was sugary coffee drinks. At some point it morphed into a real love of the art of coffee.

I also noticed that with the right coffee gear you can get better flavor out of even mediocre beans.

Here’s the setup that I’d recommend…

  1. Chemex – I make coffee for my wife and I every morning. The Chemex is perfect for both of us.
  2. Chemex Filters
  3. Aeropress – When I need a quick coffee, like right now, I love my Aeropress. Brew time is under 2 minutes.
  4. Capresso Burr Grinder – The burr grinder is pretty key. It gets a more consistent grind than the blade grinder.
  5. Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp 1.7-Liter Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle – You don’t want a straight boil. You want about 200 degrees. This gets it there easily. It’s pretty slow to get going but works well.
  6. Kitchen Scale – Gotta get the right amount of beans. I still use a 16:1 water to grinds ratio.

What does your coffee setup look like?