Jennifer has handled the public relations for Dandelion since 2013, and she’s an avid drinker of coffee in the cafe. For this piece, she spoke with Voga Coffee’s co-founder and CEO Eli Salomon who, along with Josh Avins, CTO and scientist behind the technology, and Jason Sarley, co-founder and Chief Coffee Officer, are the creators of the Ground Control vacuum coffee machine.
If you’ve been in our café on Valencia Street recently, you’ve probably seen a very futuristic-looking machine topped with hand-blown glass bulbs. It’s a new coffee machine called Ground Control® Cyclops from the innovative folks at Oakland-based Voga Coffee. We’re the first café in the world to have this machine, and it just won the Specialty Coffee Association 2018 Best New Product award. We’re thrilled to be serving both brewed coffee and brewed cacao nib coffee with Ritual’s beans.
Why add another machine in our café, and how did we meet the team from Voga? Eli Salomon of Ground Control was testing the machine near our Alabama Street factory, and he asked if he could experiment with brewing some of our cacao nibs. How could we say no? When we finally got to taste our nibs brewed with delicious Ritual coffee, we had an “aha!” moment where we were blown away by the taste. The cacao nib coffee is smooth, nutty, and full-flavored coffee without any kind of bitter aftertaste. Todd, Dandelion’s co-founder and CEO, exclaimed: “How could we not have a machine that brews the most delicious coffee made with our nibs?”
Since launching the brewed coffee and the cacao nib brewed coffee at the end of May, 2018, the feedback has been very positive. People love it! Cacao nib coffee makes you less jittery than regular coffee, and it has a more uplifting buzz. Along with the normal caffeine kick, it must be the theobromine from the nibs that helps give your mood a boost.
How does the Cyclops work? Salomon explains, “Traditionally, it’s been impossible to brew cacao nibs, because their high-fat content clogs brewing filters. When we first spoke with Dandelion, our team suggested the possibility of using Ground Control’s high vacuum brewing process to overcome this hurdle that has plagued the chocolate world for hundreds of years. After Voga ran a few brewing experiments, it became clear that our innovative, patented brewing approach was exactly what was needed to coax the delicate, beautiful flavor of Dandelion’s impeccably sourced single-origin cacao. It was through this effort that the world’s first cacao brewer was discovered.”
He adds, “In addition to brewing a delicious cacao-based beverage, Ground Control’s unique multi-stage brewing method extracts multiple layers of flavor from coffee or cacao, resulting in a delicate, multi-dimensional cup. Drinkers of Ground Control brewed beverages have marveled at their smooth, clean cup profile and the significantly pronounced sweetness that soars from the cup. Ground Control’s unique, carefully controlled process not only eliminates harsh bitterness but also presents delicate, nuanced flavors that would otherwise be obscured.”
Currently, we’re offering a Ritual single-origin brewed coffee from Guatemala as well as the cacao nib coffee with our Camino Verde, Ecuador nibs. We look forward to having you come by to try it. Let us know what you think!