Today, I’m heading back (virtually) to New Orleans to try another one of the N.O. Brew coffees. So far I’ve tried two of the cold brew concentrate coffees, the Traditional flavor and the Storyville Mocha. This time the Hazelnut flavor is up to bat, but before I get to that, I talked to Fred Peer, a partner in N.O. Brew, who took a few minutes to explain what sets the drink apart from other coffees.
He said, the main difference is that it’s a cold brew, which is different from the way that most coffees are made. The cold brewing process keeps the coffees flavors, while at the same time taking out 70 percent of the acidity that normal coffee has, making it a lot easier to drink for many people.
Before the cold brewing process, the beans are roasted to medium roast. The result is an appealing coffee flavor, mixed with a chicory taste that brings a little bit of sweetness to the cup.
He says the focus is to provide people with “unbelievably good coffee,” the kind of coffee that they thought that they would never be able to get from a plastic bottle, which provides the convince that everyone seems to need now days.
But part of what makes N.O. Brew unique is the story of how it all came together. It all started as a side project during the Christmas season in 2003. Peer and former Notre Dame football player and Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints veteran got together to create a unique coffee product. At the time, they had no idea that the coffee market was going to explode like it did in the following years, with so much popularity that McDonald’s would join into the game.
Peer said that things were really starting to take off in 2005, then in August of that year Hurricane Katrina hit. It devastated the whole region, including the advertising business where Peer was working, Stonebreaker’s home was broken into and looted and the manufacturing facility for N.O. Brew was destroyed. However, they didn’t take long to get back on their feet. By November 1st, they had the facility relocated and rebuilt and this time instead of a side project, it became their main focus.
Five years later, N.O. Brew is on the verge of a national distribution deal and ready to bring back the title of coffee capital back to New Orleans. Peer is humble, but said people forget that at one point New Orleans was the hub for coffee, dating back to 1816 when French kings still controlled the port.
From the first sip of the N.O. Brew Hazelnut latte, I knew that this might be my favorite. This one has a delicious hazelnut flavor that isn’t too overwhelming and blends perfect with the traditional N.O. Brew coffee-chicory flavor.
The Hazelnut made an above average coffee too. With water added, it had a sweet flavor, with just a hint of hazelnut, not at all overdone like I’ve tasted in other flavored coffees. I felt like there was something missing in the flavor on this one, but it’s not something that I would really make a big deal about.
Overall, the Hazelnut flavor earned a 3.5 out of 5 on the Daily Shot Of Coffee scale, the highest rating that one of the coffees has earned yet. I have no real complains about any of them and I’d even suggest that some of the “high brow” coffee drinkers (yes, I’m talking to you Nate, Devon, etc) give it a shot. I’d recommend it to any coffee drinker that’s in a rush, but needs convenience and great taste.
I have one more flavor of the N.O. Brew left to try, the French Vanilla. We’ll see if it can top the Hazelnut.
Disclosure – N.O. Brew sent me this coffee for review purposes. That being said, I would’ve liked this coffee whether they had sent it to me or I had bought it for myself.