How a Mass.-based company is working with local roasters to deliver better cold coffee

Food News

Not a fan of melted iced coffee or the flavor of cold brew? Massachusetts-based Snapchill has a solution, and it may be offered at your local coffee shop.

The Snapchill collaboration with George Howell, called the Monte-Carlos, can be found at regional Whole Foods stores. Courtesy of Snapchill

The perfect cold coffee can be hard to come by, apparently. Many coffee drinkers love their iced coffees — until the ice melts — and the flavors of cold brew just aren’t the same as a cup of hot coffee (more on that later).

But what if there was an alternative? 

The minds behind Snapchill, a Massachusetts-based company, came up with their technology to find a solution to the cold coffee complaint they had and heard. 

It actually started with a beer, said Kyle Bosshardt, director of business development. Co-founders Michael Corrado and Dave Dussault, an MIT grad, were on a camping trip when Corrado joked that it’d be great if technology could instantly re-chill a beer that gets too warm. 

“That kind of got Dave thinking, there really is no quick way to chill beer,” Bosshardt said. “What application in the real world could (Dussault) use this for? And then he kind of fell into coffee.”

The end result was a product similar to flash-chilled coffee, except Bosshardt said this technology chills the beverage quicker.

“We chill much, much, much more rapidly,” he said. “And we’re a heck of a lot more efficient. We don’t need ice, we’re not using the water, it’s easier to clean.” 

How it works

The process that takes the hot coffee flavor away from something like cold brew is oxidation, which is basically when oxygen deteriorates coffee and, according to Snapchill makers, masks the flavor. 

So this process avoids oxidation as much as possible by chilling quicker than the coffee is brewing. 

“As long as you’re chilling quicker than you’re brewing, then there’s no loss of flavor,” Bosshardt said.

The chilling process, which drops the fresh brewed coffee down to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, works similarly to an air-conditioning unit — Dussault actually used parts of a window unit for his prototype, and now the actual product uses a condenser to mechanically dry out the heated beverage.

Because cold brew is made sometimes over a 24-hour period, and using cold water, it tastes less acidic and sometimes more mellow than hot coffee. And the issue with iced coffee, which is just hot coffee over ice, is that the ice melts and dilutes the flavor. 

Where to find it

When the company was founded in 2017, their goal was to sell their technology. But in 2020, partially due to COVID, it made more sense for Snapchill to collaborate with local coffee shops.

“As the pandemic hit, we had a lot of interest from our local partners … to see if we could actually can their products to help them with e-commerce,” Bosshardt said. “Because once all the cafes closed, they needed more products to be able to offer their clients.”

One of the early adopters was George Howell, a beloved brand of coffee in Boston. But Bosshardt said the owner was skeptical of their technology at first.

“George Howell has been looking for a partner to do cold brew for a while,” said Steve Kammann, George Howell director of operations. “He’s never been particularly fond of any of the flavors that he’s found with other companies. From the first time that George tasted (Snapchill), quite honestly he became obsessed with it.”

Snapchill asked Howell to try their technology on his coffee beans — for free, something Snapchill still does to lure in local coffee makers.

Now you can find George Howell’s coffee, but in Snapchill form, at Whole Foods in the Northeast and at George Howell cafes. Their Monte Carlos can is available at Whole Foods or for wholesale, while the Alchemy Espresso and Boavista are both available at George Howell retail locations.

Other brands Snapchill has worked with include Broadsheet Coffee in Cambridge, Fazenda Coffee Roasters in Dedham, and Little Wolf Coffee in Ipswich.

There are also Snapchill collaborations in several grocery stores in the area, but Bosshardt said they could soon expand to Walmart. 

“So what’s really neat about this, and we’re hoping to do it here in the Northeast, is that we can get these small, local businesses into Walmart with this local roaster program,” he said. “We’ll have somewhere between 20 to 25 in Walmart across the nation, which is really cool.”

They’ve first started with Walmart stores in the South. There are also discussions about expanding to Amazon and Costco.

“By middle of 2024, you will see us everywhere with many different roasters from around the country in their region, representing their region, which is cool,” Bosshardt said.