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About Confluence Coffee Company


Who is Confluence?

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About Confluence Coffee Company


Who is Confluence?

 

Story

The founders of Confluence have been friends for quite a while, and while they are united by a love of food and great coffee in particular they couldn’t be more different in their background stories.

 

Mike Woitach brings an impressive background in business, with training in accounting and experience with some of the largest companies in the field. Thus he’s the expert with numbers, logistics, and viewing the big picture and trends. Confluence would just be an idea without him.

 

Terry Darcy, on the other hand, has his background rooted in science, specifically Neuroscience and Biochemistry. Thus he’s the guy to go to for learning about how coffee acts on the brain, and his lab experience enabled for rigorous experimentation to develop a brewing method and perfect recipes. Confluence tastes great because of him.

 

Clearly, the founders have varied backgrounds but these differences proved incredibly constructive. The Confluence of their differences enabled this creation.

Why "Confluence" Coffee?

Confluence: an act or process of merging.  When talking about rivers, it’s the point where two rivers join to create something greater than each individually. This couldn’t describe our story and coffee any better. Plus the alliteration just sounds cool.

Thus

The idea was there, they just needed a name. “Confluence” was suggested and it was a clear fit. The rest is history.

 
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FRIENDS & PARTNERS


FRIENDS & PARTNERS


BLANCHARD'S COFFEE

For more than ten years, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Company has been perfecting the art of making the best damn coffee in Richmond, Northern Virginia, and now even as far north as Princeton, NJ. They've grown from being one man (David Blanchard himself) in his garage with a roaster to a team of folks dedicated to making people's mornings, afternoons, and (for some) nights. David started the company because there was no good coffee in Richmond at the time and he thought he could be the one improve the city's black gold. 

Ten years later, there's a lot of "good" coffee in Richmond but Blanchard's remains the best. 

Seth Bauserman, Chief Roaster at Blanchard's, doesn't use a lot of the specialized equipment and computers like many of the large roasters do. To him, roasting coffee a skill and an art. From tasting some of Blanchard's coffee, you can tell he knows what he's doing. Blanchard's is starting to grow significantly and Confluence is growing with them. 

Aside from sourcing our beans from Blanchard's, we also produce Blanchard's-brand cold brew coffee. Why not let them focus on they do best (roasting) and let us focus on what we do best (brewing).

The coffee we chose to use in our current line of oaked cold brews is Blanchard's Fair Trade Organic Honduran. It has notes of toasted almond and salted caramel. The result is a really smooth, nutty cold brew coffee. We worked hard to calibrate our cold brews and find the right origin and roast profile for the job. As you can see below, Blanchard's has a lot of coffees so it was no easy task. But if you're interested in sampling Blanchard's wide array of coffees you can check out their shop here

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All About Cold Brew


All About Cold Brew


You know, Socrates was a smart man. Since he was (supposedly) one of the best teachers of all time, we decided to structure this section as more of an FAQ than a simple description so you can just skip to what you're curious about. If you have another question about cold brew, go ahead and email us here and we'll add it to the list.

  • Is it brewed regularly and then just iced?
    • Nope, cold brew coffee is a non-heated brewing process. When you brew coffee there are four main variables: Grind size, temperature of water, beans to water ratio, and brew time (there are other factors like pressure but we're not going to get nit-picky here). Most hot brewing methods don't change temperature of water all that much and as a result brew time is fairly similar across methods at a few minutes. For cold brew, we dramatically deviate from this trend, using chilled water instead and so brew over a much longer time to extract all of the coffee's deliciousness.
  • So, then, how is it made? 
    • First, grind the coffee somewhat coarsely. Next get some awesome quality, super fresh water. Then, steep your coffee directly in your water for an extended period of time. Filter and enjoy! 
  • How long is it brewed for?
    • Cold brew coffee can be brewed from anywhere from 12-48 hours. The flavor of the coffee changes over time so, if you're curious, it's fun to experiment with different brew times on your own. We do a 24 hour steep. That's just personal preference. 
  • Are there any machines/gadgets that can make cold brew coffee?
    • The gear used to make cold brew coffee ranges from household items you probably already have to the opulent and dubiously more effective Yama Cold Brew Drip Tower. A relatively inexpensive but more serious option is the Toddy system, which has gotten a decent amount of press as of late.  But cold brew doesn't have to be complicated. It could be as simple as letting your coffee steep in your French press overnight. 
  • Does it always have to be served cold? 
    • Not at all. Cold brew coffee is good cold, at room temperature, or hot. Sometimes you'll find "cold brew coffee concentrates" in stores. In fact, we'll probably be making some concentrates in the winter when more people are looking for a warm up. All you need to do is add one part hot water to one part cold brew concentrate and you have a delicious, hot, cold brew coffee!
  • What are the benefits of cold brew?
    • Our cold brew coffee has lower acidity and a higher caffeine content than your regular cup of Joe. For those who don't like coffee because it doesn't "sit well" with their stomach, cold brew might be their answer. Of course, the more caffeine is another added benefit. The cold brewing process also extracts a difference range of coffee's flavoring compounds so the resulting brew is much less bitter than traditional coffee. 
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Why Oak?


Why Oak?


We initially decided to oak our coffee is because of our ethos: Confluence. We love coffee, wine, and beer. We thought "they put wine and beer in oak barrels add a distinct flavor, why not do that with coffee?" We meshed the concept of wine production and coffee production.  Turns out, it was a good decision. 

Before we go into the additional benefits of oaked cold brew coffee, we need to say that we're not trying to make any health claims. We just want to show you the preliminary results of some studies that we found after we did some digging into the research and were already oaking coffee.  

Flavor 

We've found that oaking our coffee adds a nice smoky character to our coffees. It also adds a nice natural sweetness that helps the coffee's delicious flavors to burst forward.

Antioxidants 

There's some preliminary research that suggests that oak may actually add some antioxidant power to our coffee. Coffee is already packed with antioxidants which might have some big health benefits so adding more means even better coffee.

Consistency

One of the problems with many available ready-to-drink cold brew coffees is there’s not a whole lot of consistency. You might have one that’s amazing and then go back a few weeks later and be disappointed. Coffee is a sensitive crop and so there’s naturally a good deal of variability between batches of the same bean, and a brew method that highlights the bean’s characteristic like cold brewing can really amplify these natural differences for better or worse. By infusing our coffees with a proprietary amount of oak, we found that adding a supporting flavor to our coffees helped reduce the natural variability in the coffee. The oak helps the coffee to shine the best it has to offer, so you get a consistently delicious coffee every time.