The Origin of Matchless Coffee Soda
In 2012 Nathanael Mehrens had an idea.
"I wanted there to be a more refreshing way to drink coffee. So I decided I'd try to make one. When I first started, there was nothing else like this out there." - Nathanael Mehrens
He was working for Crema in Nashville, TN at the time overseeing their quality control and menu development. Under the skeptical eye of his friend, 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, but it’s awesome. It’s a cold, carbonated coffee drink that’s subtly flavored with orange: slightly sweet and so refreshing." - Erik Anderson for Food & Wine
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 start their own coffee soda company.
"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. 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." - Ben Bredesen
Sean 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. We all just started celebrating that we had just mass brewed a perfect cup of coffee. Jamie was screaming "This shouldn't be possible!" - Sean Stewart
During this time, the trio simultaneously opened their own café in germantown called Steadfast 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. 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. " - Jamie Cunningham
Over the years, other coffee shops and companies have begun creating their own versions. To Matchless 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.
"People keep asking us when we're are going to be in cans. The answer is soon." - Nathanael Mehrens
The company announced its Kickstarter campaign to raise the initial funds needed for can packaging. The campaign launches July 27, 2017 and if all goes to plan, the first Matchless Coffee Soda cans will be available late December 2017.
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