By Jennifer Bradley Franklin
At the world’s first Michelin-starred brewpub, the coffee is a product of both science and artistry. Tom Santelle, who heads the coffee and tea program at Chicago’s Band of Bohemia, partnered with Harvard University food science students to study the chemical intricacies of brewing coffee using sous vide.
“With sous vide, we can pick not only the best brew parameters for the coffee but also how the ingredients in it cook,” he explains. “You can’t do that with traditional coffee brewing.”
The brewpub likes to push the flavor envelope, and its caffeinated offerings are no exception. One creation features pomegranate, rosemary, and oleo saccharum, cooked with natural process coffee. Another, the aptly named Spruce & Spice, features coffee, cachaça, sherry, spiced milk, and burning spices.
Precision allows Santelle and team to produce the desired result for every order. “We have a set of metrics where we can take how much time we have, what temp, and ride the hairy edge of over-extraction and get something that—in 90 minutes, thanks to a circulator and very fine temp control—tastes like the coffee-est coffee concentrate ever,” Santelle says. “That’s an invaluable tool.”
Band of Bohemia, 4710 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, bandofbohemia.com