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Cool beans: Black Horse Espresso and Bakery jumps on the cold brew coffee trend 

Now that the weather is starting to reflect the holiday season, it’s usually the time when people curl up in their houses or picturesque cafes with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee.

But wait! Instead of drinking regular, boring old coffee, how about trying out the new sensation that’s sweeping the nation, sort of: cold brew coffee. You heard right. Cold brew coffee. Coffee that is brewed cold.

click to enlarge BABY IT’S COLD:  Black Horse Espresso is now serving cold brew coffee at its Higuera Street location. - PHOTO BY ADRIANA CATANZARITE
  • BABY IT’S COLD: Black Horse Espresso is now serving cold brew coffee at its Higuera Street location.

It might sound contradictory, but it’s a very real thing that’s growing in popularity all around the United States. And Black Horse Espresso and Bakery in San Luis Obispo has jumped on board.

Black Horse introduced its new cold coffee machine three months ago at its Higuera Street location to see how it would sell.

“Since then, it’s been selling like crazy,” Alyson Chow, a Black Horse barista, said. “We go through maybe four or five kegs a week.”

Not to be confused with regular old iced coffee—which is brewed hot and then chilled—cold brew mixes cold water with ground coffee and is brewed all night long. The result is a drink with a sweet, syrupy taste that’s low in acidity, and high in caffeine, giving you the best of both worlds, just like Hannah Montana.

Cold brew coffee is lower in acidity than regular hot coffee because of the process used to make it. Because the coffee grounds are brewed cold, the chemical reactions are different than they would be in a traditional hot water process. When coffee grounds are exposed to hot water, it releases oils with acidic compounds that won’t dissolve at lower temperatures. This gives hot coffee the bitter taste that some people love and others hate with a passion.

But, that bitter taste can also come with a price. According to the National Heartburn Alliance, an estimated 54 million Americans suffer from heartburn, and of those, 75 percent say that coffee is the cause.

According to Toddy—the company that patented the cold brew system—cold brew coffee is 69 percent less acidic than regular hot brewed coffee, making it healthier for your stomach and your teeth. Say goodbye to gross, caffeine-stained chompers and painful acid reflux, and hello to a drink that won’t slowly destroy you from the inside. 

“I love it,” Chow said. “I have it every day, I’m obsessed. And a lot of people come in here and say that it’s the only coffee that really affects them, because it has more caffeine in it.”

Black Horse also offers growlers: refillable and reusable bottles that customers can buy to take their cold brew coffee home with them.

Chow said that they haven’t tried introducing cold brew coffee at its other locations because they need to use a special keg to make the brew. But, it’s possible that with more requests, the other stores could start selling it as well.

Black Horse is serving cold brewed coffee at its downtown SLO location at 1065 Higuera St. For more information about the new drink, call 783-1300.


Fast fact

Go green this holiday season! The Biodiesel Club and the Eco Rotary Club of Morro Bay have come together with the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) to set up a household waste vegetable oil to biodiesel recycling program. County residents can bring old and used cooking oil from deep fryers, frying pans, and fondue pots, which will be recycled into sustainable biodiesel, a clean burning alternative fuel that can be used in any diesel vehicle. For more information, call 235-0508, or visit


Intern Adriana Catanzarite brewed up this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your nonprofit and business news to

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