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Innovation is a Long Road…

Innovation in Coffee

This week Black Powder was experimenting with the help of HEbrew’s Coffeeshop – Mooresville with a 5 liter mini-kegerator to dispense Dynamite 

cold brew concentrate.  Well, it just isn’t practical at this time due to quite a few learnings.  Continuous improvement and innovation is a key to successful business and that includes continuous innovation.  Black Powder is always trying to push the envelope and find creative roasts, blends, concentrates, and even cold brew dispensing methods.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
 Thomas A. Edison

Black Powder installed the mini-kegerator at the roastery about a month ago.  Learning how to fill the kegs, clean the kegs with potassium meta-bisulfite, and changing the pressure system from CO2 to Argon so the coffee doesn’t come out fizzy – yes, it will carbonate!  We ran water through the system for the first few days to understand how it works and learn some of the challenges.  We then filled the 5 liter keg with concentrate and used it for 3 weeks and almost emptied the keg.  Every time our family or customers came in, everyone was keen to try the new gizmo.  Everything seems to work well after we fixed some small pressure leaks and replaced the argon cartridge once.  Then we convinced Nikki Tate and her team to give it a try.  The use at the coffee shop has high frequency and after fixing the argon leak, it was still using expensive cartridges at a high rate.  Also, the change over time took time away from serving customers.

Therefore, we went back to HDPE 1/2 gallon jugs for bulk distribution of the concentrate to coffee shops.  You might see the mini-keg again in the roastery or at some events, but we learned that the math to use recyclable kegs is a lot more expensive that use recyclable HDPE containers with argon cartridges.  With that said, we do have a full size kegerator with 2 x 1/6th kegs powered by a Nitrogen pressure system at the roastery that works like a charm and is an elegant solution.  I will share more on that after we prove out it’s functionality over the next few months.

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