Cold brew coffee

Cold brew coffee in a bottle now available in Toronto

Late last night at Northwood, I got to chatting with manager Brian O'Reilly. He usually works during the day, but he's here now in order to furiously bottle more cold brew coffee for tomorrow's order. Likely General, a cute new shop in Roncesvalles that just opened yesterday, is the first shop outside of Northwood itself to sell the brew. They sold out on day one, which is why O'Reilly is here now.

The cafe/bar hybrid has been concocting batches of cold brew all summer, but they just decided to sell it by the bottle a week and a half ago. The one dinger is that the brew takes 16 hours to come to life, because to make it involves steeping the grounds. Though he's super friendly, O'Reilly won't disclose the temperature of the water or the water-to-coffee ratio. He just smiles and says that's his secret.

The cold brew comes in two forms: a small, personal serving sized bottle ($3.50), and a larger, concentrated version ($17.50) that will yield about ten drinks, and is meant for mixing with a bit of water, milk, bourbon or whiskey. Some may raise a brow at the latter, but to be sure, O'Reilly has concocted a shot called the Night Owl, which he kindly asks his co-worker to cook up for us.

He takes one with my friend and I, and the Jameson shot actually makes sense when chased by ice-cold coffee. He promises it will taste like chocolate, and it does.

Once they get a system down that will allow them to keep up with orders, Northwood wants to supply the stubby bottles of brew to more shops. O'Reilly says his dream would be to be able to get a bottle of it at a Jays game to jolt himself awake after several $10 beers. Regardless of where it's available, though, this coffee is a win. It's strong, with a bit of a fruity flavour, perfect for summer. Beats the hell out of a Frappucino.


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