Barely a year has passed sine Grady Laird quit his magazine production job to launch Grady´s Cold Brew, a "New Orleans-style" coffee concentrate available in 32-ounce bottles. "It´s been insane", says Laird, talking from his new Brew Compound, a 6,000 square-foot combination space on the north side of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The Brew Cove is a tenfold expansion of the Brew Cave (Lairds first HQ) and his staff his doubled to six employees.
"Until a couple of months ago, there were just three of us doing literally everything: putting labels on the bottles, sanitizing the bottles, filling the bottles, shipping everything, cleaning."
Grady´s Cold Brew might look like an overnight success from the outside, but Laird spent years seeking out a suitable project, first floating the idea of a European-style doner-kebab shop. "I realized I´s be eaten alive, trying to run a restaurant in New York City without the right experience", he says. Iced coffee came next: "I was trying to figure out why everyone´s perfectly comfortable making their own hot coffee, but when it gets hot outside, everyone switches to buying iced coffee", adds Laird.
When Lairds started he didn´t know anything about the cold brewing technique and the first attempts off heating up a pot of coffee and then rapidly cooling it down didn´t go well. Then Laird looked into the art off extracting a great cold brew, which was grew in popularity in the coffee nerds society at that time. He found that a brew should take about 12-20 hours of extraction time, which was a very simple process, but not one people would pursue themselves on the hot days.
Grady´s cold brew was made by stepping coffee and chicory overnight, which makes it suitable for pouring in milk or water (hot or cold). Laird soon found himself running up and down the stairs of the Conde Nast Building, where he worked until last year, talking orders from fellow magazine staffers.
Chicory - is a caffeine-free herb that is as a popular coffee substitute, as well as an ingredient in New Orleans Coffee or Chicory coffee recipes. Unlike decaf coffee, chicory is naturally caffeine free. To make Chicory root into a substance, the root is pulled up from the ground, washed, dried, roasted, finely cut and then steeped or brewed. Chicory´s roasting process gives it a roasty flavor roughly akin to that of coffee, and is part of the reason why Chicory is a popular coffee substitute, as well as a fairly common ingredient in coffee recipes. After the Chicory root is roasted and cut up (or ground) it is ready to be steeped or brewed. Chicory is more water soluble than coffee, which means you need to use a lot less of it when brewing it with coffee or instead of coffee.
"I quickly realized the reactionI was getting was not people pitying my little business, but actually addicted and really jonesing for it."
Now Grady´s Cold Brew is firmly established in the much-derided, much-emulated Brooklyn artisanal food scene and is planing to widespread with regional microbreweries (U.S.).