A Coffee Soda from ChattanoogaDecember 7, 2012
In Chattanooga, locals know Velo Coffee Roasters for its small-batch beans and its carbon-conscious philosophy. Founder Andrew Gage and his team transport freshly roasted beans by bicycle, loading their fragrant cargo onto a trailer and pedaling to the city’s farmers' markets and stores. Gage—who grew up in Michigan and Murfreesboro, Tennessee—opened his business two years ago and has settled on East Main Street, the downtown drag that boasts Link Forty One’s artisanal sausages and Alleia’s standout Italian food.
Velo fans also know the micro-roaster for its innovative caffeinated drinks, including a popular coffee soda (recipe below). Gage uses a few quality ingredients: simple syrup, Vintage brand soda water, and a cold coffee concentrate. “Because you don’t heat it, it extracts different qualities out of the coffee,” Gage says. “It takes a lot of the acid out and makes a really heavy body, really sweet. The smell of it is kind of like coffee ice cream.”
The syrupy, rich concentrate is a perfect building block for creative concoctions. Iced drinks and desserts are obvious, but Gage says it works well in marinades and cocktails, too.
Velo Roaster's Coffee Soda
64 oz. of water
1 lb. of fresh, high-quality, whole coffee beans
fresh herbs, like mint or basil, or extracts, like vanilla or almond (optional)
large pitcher or jar
coffee filter (basket, cone, or other)
Start by coarsely grinding fresh coffee; the grind should be a little finer than you might use in a French press. In a large pitcher or jar, mix 64 ounces of water with the ground coffee beans. Stir to make sure the grinds are saturated. Let steep at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Next, pour the mixture through a filter or two (using two will produce a cleaner brew). You will have around 1 liter of concentrate.
To make the simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. To make a flavored simple syrup, add herbs such as mint or lavender during the boiling phase and strain after removing from the heat. We added mint leaves and cocoa powder to make a chocolate-mint syrup.
To finish, combine about 8 ounces of soda water with 4 ounces of cold brew concentrate and pour over ice. Pour about 1½ ounces of simple syrup over the top
of the drink, mix gently, and serve.