Osma’s high-tech instant cold brew could alter summertime coffee forever – TechCrunch

It’s rare that a really new way to make coffee is invented, and nearly all of them have one thing in common: heat. After all, it’s hot water that quickly extracts flavor and body from grounds. But Osma, a new tool utilizing an completely novel coffee-making process, makes a rich, strong espresso-like beverage at any temperature, including icy cold — and it might be the next big thing in the industry.

Osma is the latest project from designer Joey Roth, who evolved from high-concept speaker tech to tea and coffee tech, and now has found a way to integrate these two disparate pursuits with a unique vibratory recipe of extraction. Although Roth has had numerous successes over the years, this could be his a lot of valuable yet.

To see why, it helps to find out the way coffee is ordinarily brewed, which generally comes down to one of two things: steeping the grounds in hot water or forcing it through the grounds under pressure.

In the first case, which includes drip and pour over, Cafetière and others, the heat of the water passively frees the oils and volatiles from the ground beans and then the solids, drained of flavor, are left behind through filtering.

The second case is espresso coffee, in which the desired chemicals are extracted not just through heat nevertheless by the method of microcavitation. This is where the heat and pressure free CO2 from the grounds, forming tiny bubbles that quickly collapse, a recipe that leads to the flavor and aroma compounds being forced out as well.

Cold water can be used in the first process, with the advantage being that certain substances that would be destroyed by heat are retained, giving a different flavor profile. Unfortunately it can take hours or even days to brew to one’s preferred strength, and other desirable compounds degrade over that duration. And cold water can’t be used in the espresso coffee process due to the reality that steam is needed to accomplish extraction.

See also  Now Roasting and Brewing in Wilmington, NC: New Town Roastery - Day to day Coffee News

Yet despite the inconvenience inherent to cold coffee, anyone who’s visited a café in the last decade can tell you it is enormously popular year-round nevertheless especially in the summer. There’s endless appetite for the drink, even if all it amounts to is pouring hot coffee or espresso coffee over ice. What if strong, delicious coffee could be made without heating it up, watering it down or waiting for days? That’s the Osma proposition.

Photo Credits: Osma

The Osma system is to my understanding unlike any other brewing method. Essentially what it does is circulate water through the grounds continuously, while agitating them with a kind of standing pressure wave. It produces 8-12 ounces of a coffee that’s less bold than espresso, nevertheless not as moderate as cold brew, in about two minutes.

Diagram showing how coffee and water move through the Osma system.

Photo Credits: Osma

This is a fundamentally new expression of coffee that must be experienced,” said Roth when I asked him to characterize the flavor profile. He’d compared it to Kyoto-style slow drip with the added creamy mouthfeel and brighter flavors of espresso coffee, but decided the analogy was imperfect.

His reservation is justified, as the method simply is totally different. In addition to utilizing cold water instead of hot and an acoustic wave instead of high pressure to create cavitation, the Osma Pro is unique in that it uses a circulatory process instead of one-way.

Almost all forms of coffee-making are unidirectional: water goes in, meets up with the grounds, and coffee comes out — with the exception of percolators, which aren’t exactly the aficionado’s first choice. The Osma process, on the other hand, sucks up the water, passes it through the grounds and agitates it, then puts it back in the same vessel, where it is sucked up and passed through again.

See also  Fruitful Philadelphia Coffee Connections Lead to Persimmon Coffee

This circular process can be stopped earlier or later on., giving a lighter or heavier brew, however there’s a sweet spot at about two minutes that Roth thinks produces the best cup for most purposes.

Creating the system was equal parts serendipity and ingenuity. Roth recalled boiling water at room temperature in a commercial vacuum chamber with his co-founder Dan Yue, which sort of worked nevertheless not truly, and at any rate wasn’t the type of tool you could resell to a customer. Yue speculated that it was the microcavitation technique that allowed this extraction without significant heat.

An iced coffee ingest brewed with Osma Pro.

Looks good, right? Photo Credits: Osma

“We verified this with several other experiments and confirmed that microcavitation was certainly the magic switch,” Roth said. “From there we spent about two years developing what’s simply a mechanism to efficiently facilitate cavitation utilizing acoustics in a tightly packed basket of ground coffee. With the help and insight of our partners James and Hiver (co-founders of Chromatic Coffee in San Jose) we developed this into the Osma Pro.”

Being able to pull a concentrated, cold coffee beverage with espresso-like and cold-brew-like aspects on demand could be a game-changer for coffee shops. At present they have to anticipate demand, making cold brew a day or longer before, risking shortages if demand outstrips supply, or otherwise offer hot coffee poured over ice, an accepted however rather incoherent approach.

At $695 the Osma Pro is a bit expensive for home utilize, however quite in line with the kind of equipment used by the majority of cafés. Like Roth’s other work, the industrial design is modest and beautiful. When you factor in its small footprint (about the size of a standing grinding machine) and the truth that it frees up valuable fridge space that would otherwise be filled with gallons of cold brew, it starts to make a whole lot of sense.

Close-up of the side of the Osma machine, with etched limited number.

A limited run of a thousand … for now. Picture Credits: Osma

Perhaps that’s why an unnamed but apparently major coffee company has indicated interest in partnering with Roth on the machine, as he coyly pointed out. Selling a couple hundred to boutique coffee shops is nice, and Roth did say that pre-orders are beyond expectations, but a big-time partner that could move units in the thousands? That’s the start of a global business empire.

See also  New illy Cold Brew Aria™ – Nitro Coffee with Air

Incidentally the whole thing started with a equipment that may now sadly be defunct. The first Osma brew I encountered was a portable, battery-powered device Roth sent me in beta form to test out that used biodegradable coffee pods and a scaled-down version of the acoustic agitation recipe. Nevertheless this ended up being a sort of development dead end — while an interesting tech demo and pretty good at creating coffee, it quickly became clear that the countertop version, which was improving rapidly, was the future of the company.

The only genuine question now is what to call the consume. I proven “coldpresso” (“icepresso” is more euphonious but too close to the original), Roth thought “cold flash” nevertheless admitted everything he thought up was corny. Whatever it’s known as, you can probably expect to start seeing it at your local “serious” coffee spot. If you run among those or ingest enough cold coffee to justify a major purchase, you can get in line to pick up a machine at the Osma website.

This article firstly appeared on this page.

%d bloggers like this: