Editor’s Note: Chameleon was purchased by Nestle in November 2017.
Cold brew coffee is growing in popularity around the U.S. and in Austin specifically. But I’ll be the first to admit I used to have no clue what cold brew really meant.
As it turns out, cold brew is not taking hot coffee and pouring it over ice. So what is it? I decided to go to locally-crafted and consciously-brewed Chameleon Cold-Brew for the answer. After all, they proclaim to be “The very best coffee you will ever taste. Period.”
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
I can be a coffee snob and am often disappointed when coffee doesn’t taste how it smells—when that amazing aroma somehow gets stale or burnt when it reaches my mouth. But cold brew coffee has been a game changer, as the process allows coffee to reach its full potential. And Chameleon Cold-Brew has perfected this process.
The first thing I learned about cold brew is that it’s a time-consuming process. Cold brewing coffee can take anywhere from 12-24 hours; Chameleon Cold-Brew takes 16 hours. But what you get after a half day of steeping coffee is a less acidic, naturally sweeter coffee. In fact, it’s 50% less acidic than a traditional cup of coffee!
The next thing I learned about cold-brewed coffee—and I learned the hard way—is that it yields a concentrate. It’s super potent, so it’s recommended to mix it with equal parts of another liquid, such as water, milk or the Austin favorite, Topo Chico.
Another important part of the cold-brew process is the water. Using quality, purified water makes a difference when brewing coffee and Chameleon Cold-Brew uses locally-sourced, limestone-filtered Texas Hill Country water.
Lastly, and this took me the longest to wrap my head around, cold brew refers to the process of how the coffee is made. Which means you can enjoy your cold brew hot! Mind blown, right?
What I love about Austin brands such as Chameleon Cold-Brew is their dedication to the environment. With 100% organic, Fair Trade Certified coffee beans, Chameleon Cold-Brew makes a conscious effort to respect the environment, while delivering a quality product.
They also bottle their cold-brew in recyclable glass bottles. I know it might all be in my head, but to me, certain beverages just taste better out of a glass bottle.
Even their packaging and shipping is sustainable. And when they do have to ship products around the country, they use a carbon offset program to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s refreshing to see a company with such high standards producing high quality products.
Chameleon Cold-Brew Specifics
You may be surprised to find out that Chameleon Cold-Brew is just five years old. In that time, the company has gone from selling their hand-crafted cold-brew at Whip In, to graduating to local grocery giant Whole Foods, to now being found in almost all 50 states.
“These new distributor and retail relationships offer us a tremendous growth opportunity,” said CEO Chris Campbell. “We are pretty selective about choosing the right partners, and feel all of these relationships align well with Chameleon’s brand, culture and values.”
You might be wondering, what exactly does Chameleon Cold-Brew offer? Let’s start with their concentrates. You can drink them straight from the bottle or diluted. The original flavor is Black Coffee Concentrate. This is your straightforward coffee flavor—no muss, no fuss. Next, they have Mocha and Vanilla. These have hints of unsweetened chocolate and vanilla, respectively. It’s refreshing to have a coffee drink where you can actually taste the flavors without being choked on sugar.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, Chameleon now offers single-serving, ready to drink options in new flavors: Espresso Coffee, Mexican Coffee and Chicory Coffee.
My Italian roots love the new Espresso flavor, since it has a slightly richer and bolder taste, but the Mexican and Chicory flavors are also pretty unique. While Mexican Coffee has sweet notes of cinnamon, almond and vanilla, the Chicory Coffee is spicy. Chicory is a root that’s often combined with coffee. Many people associate it with the famous Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.
Regardless of your coffee-drinking preference—hot, cold, on ice, with milk, over ice cream, etc.—I guarantee you will want to hop on the cold brew coffee bandwagon and support this wonderfully cold-brewed, environmentally-conscious, local company.
@jpino9 wants to know:
What’s your favorite way to enjoy Chameleon Cold-Brew?