Nitrogenated cold brew on tap could be coming to a bar or restaurant near you, and it's all thanks to a Riviera Beach coffee roaster.
Right now, the operation behind the small-batch, cold brew movement in South Florida is thanks to Rabbit Coffee Roasting Co., the first of the growing number of Palm Beach and Broward County roasters to bottle and keg their craft.
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Rabbit Coffee Roasting is the work of co-owners and roasters Adriano Cerasaro and Iain Yeakle. Together, the duo recently launched their roasting company from a Riviera Beach warehouse, where they work day-in, day-out producing a number of small-batch, boutique-style, single-origin coffee roasts.
But their product du jour isn't just bags of fresh-roasted beans. Instead, it's single-serve glass bottles and five-gallon kegs filled with cold brew.
Over the years, the method for making cold brew hasn't varied much -- and once it's all said and done, the chilled coffee is often served with lackluster appeal, poured directly from a toddy system (a plastic container with a spout near the bottom) and into patrons' cups. Some cafés have given cold brew a beer-brewery-chic touch, offering to fill growlers for those who need their chilled caffeine fix in larger quantities.
But recently, a more exciting cold-brew method has been gaining momentum: nitrogen cold brew served on draft. And, in South Florida, Rabbit Coffee Roasting is the first to bring that concept to market.
The entire process begins with a special bean, says Adriano, an organic Mexican variety that undergoes a unique roasting process that varies slightly for yielding the cold brew product. After roasting, the coffee is ground, wrapped in cheesecloth, and steeped in a refrigerated room in 60-gallon wine barrels for 18 to 20 hours.
From there, the coffee is drained, filtered, and poured into glass bottles to be delivered to area markets and stores. Additional batches are brewed for special-order kegs, which are capped with nitrogen (much like it is with beer) for use on tap. At the moment, such kegs can be found at a number of Palm Beach establishments, including Nick & Johnnie's and Cucina Dell' Arte. Adriano also fills kegs that are part of small, mobile tap units he's handcrafted for use in homes and offices.
Yeakle uses only "the finest micro-lot beans, sourced seasonally from coffee farms around the world." A micro-lot is the term used by coffee farmers who harvest and process their best plot separate from their commodity-grade harvest, producing a superior -- as well as limited-availability -- bean.
Yeakle, age 28, is a Palm Beach Gardens native and serves as Rabbit's master roaster. His passion for hand-crafted java began thanks to a budding music career, a discovery he made while on a cross-country tour with his band. At the time, it was an introduction to the West Coast's many small-batch coffee roasters.
Like so many start-up South Florida roasters, when Yeakle returned home craving a more specialty cup of coffee, he couldn't find much. So he decided to try roasting his own. Yeakle bought an antique, hand-crank drum roaster from a woman in France on eBay and taught himself the rest. He later partnered with his friend and bandmate's father, Adriano, to bring Rabbit Roasting to life.
Born in Rome, Italy, Adriano also yearned for a better cup of coffee. "We started this because we couldn't find much good coffee here, and so we thought, 'Why not make our own?'"
"Some people are gifted in the arts, at singing, with numbers, or mechanical work. Iain was born to roast coffee," says Rabbit partner and marketing director, Kate Cerasaro.
"It's about time something like this was here in South Florida," says Adriano. "And people are very excited about it."
Rabbit Coffee Roasting Co. is located in West Palm Beach. Visit rabbitcoffeeroasting.com, or call 561-351-1954.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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