Our brewed coffee is carefully stored in kegs with detailed labeling in the spirit of transparency and quality assurance.
What goes onto our labels?
Once picked, coffee cherries are processed in one of two ways. The oldest way, also known as the “natural” or “dry” method, is to allow the cherry to dry in the sun. The fruit ferments and imparts upon the bean unpredictable flavors, which can result in exciting fruitiness in each cup. Although the dry method can lead to a more dynamic taste, it can be unpredictable and inconsistent; in some instances, the fruit rots, leading to beans poor in quality. The second method is the “washed” or “wet” method, which involves soaking the cherries in stainless steel vats for a period of time, allowing them to ferment briefly before they are sent through a wet mill. This removes the fruit before it has a chance to impart significant flavor on the bean, resulting in greater consistency and a “cleaner,” more elegant flavor profile.
Total Dissolved Fluids (TDS)
TDS essentially tells us how strong the coffee is. A regular cup of coffee is composed primarily of water (in addition to anything present in the water during the brewing process) as well as approximately 1.3% to 1.5% coffee bean solubles, such as caffeine. For comparison, an espresso has a high concentration of coffee solubles, reaching generally 7% to 12.5%. Alchemist Draft Coffee has a TDS of 1.45 – right around the upper end of a strong cup of coffee, but not strong enough to give you a headache or to make you dizzy unlike some cold brews.
Most coffee we drink comes from the species “Coffea Arabica,” and within that species are many varietals which affect the flavor of the cup, such as Bourbon, Typica and Geisha. This is comparable to wine in that all vines are of the species “Vitis Vinifera” which contains varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This number signifies the percentage of each individual coffee bean which has dissolved into the water. 32% of a coffee bean is soluble in water, but the “sweet spot” for the grinder we use at Alchemist is between 20% and 22% for the “Antithesis Blend” and 21% to 24% for our single origin offerings. This “Goldilocks Zone” of extraction produces a brew with a good balance of acidity, aromatics, tannins and sweetness. The coffee is carefully brewed to include all elements that make coffee taste good while avoiding the compounds which induce bitter, sour or astringent flavors.