Who We Are
Meet the team behind Matchless Coffee Soda®.
The Origin of Matchless Coffee Soda®
In 2012 Nathanael Mehrens had an idea that would change the face of Nashville specialty coffee forever. "I wanted there to be a more refreshing way to drink coffee. So I decided I'd try to make one," said Mehrens. "When I first started, there was nothing else like this out there."
Mehrens was working for CREMA in Nashville, TN at the time overseeing their quality control and menu development. Under the skeptical eye of his friends and well known chefs, Josh Habiger (Cat Bird Seat, Bastion) and Erik Anderson (Cat Bird Seat, Grand Cafe) he made several versions until he finally landed on something remarkably unique. "When I first heard about Crema’s coffee soda, I was not sold," said Anderson for Food & Wine, "but it’s awesome. It’s a cold, carbonated coffee drink that’s subtly flavored with orange: slightly sweet and so refreshing."
The first version was called the Kenya Karinga Soda, after the coffee used to make it. It quickly became a local hit and Mehrens, along with his partners Jamie Cunningham and Sean Stewart approached Ben Bredesen (Owner of Fat Bottom Brewery) about helping them to turn their coffee soda into a viable brand.
"We knew that in order to scale, we would have to invent a way to convert equipment usually used for beer into something that could create coffee soda," said Bredesen. "It took a lot of trial and error, fabricated parts and wasted coffee but I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone else on the market that is brewing coffee on this scale to this high of a standard and quality."
Stewart, an award winning coffee roaster, sources the coffee used as the base for Matchless Coffee Soda®. He, along with his partners, invented a way to brew large batches of coffee that maintained the character and terroir of its origin. This means that the taste can vary slightly season by season. "I still remember the day that we hit the 1.32 TDS at 22% extraction," said Stewart. "We all just started celebrating that we had just mass brewed a perfect cup of coffee. Jamie was screaming, 'This shouldn't be possible!'"
During this time, the trio simultaneously opened their own café in germantown called Steadfast Coffee and put their coffee soda creation on tap there. It soon became an award winning local Nashville favorite and one of their top sellers.
"It made up 25% of our coffee sales at Steadfast which blew our minds," said Cunningham. "We weren't expecting just how popular it would be with our customers. Now cafes and eateries around the Southeast serve Matchless on tap and people have told me they've made trips to Nashville just to try it. "
Over the years, other coffee shops and companies have begun creating their own versions. To Matchless Coffee Soda™ fans, none compare to the beverage that sparked a movement and became a hometown obsession. Now the group is working diligently to get their coffee soda into cans. Something their customers across the US have been asking for. With the help of their new CMO and partner, Savannah Packard of All of That Everywhere, the company ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2017 to raise the initial funds needed for can packaging. Now, the company is quickly expanding it's distribution and plans to launch retail can sales in early 2018.
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