Elemental Beverage wants to create a new drink category with the Snapchill machine, one that maintains the freshness of a hot coffee or hot tea without losing any flavor in the cooling process.
Founder Dave Dussault found that traditional cold formats like cold brew and iced coffee didn’t work for him, because he believes they all lose something in taste. In the the 16-20 hours it takes to make cold brew, and icing coffee overnight, freshness is lost. Ice dilutes the flavor and loses the heat needed to pull out the aromatics in coffee.
Dussault utilized his background as a mechanical engineer in thermodynamics, “knowing the technologies he was working with had the potential to ‘take ice out of the equation’ and potentially provide a fresher and more flavorful coffee experience.”
He developed several prototypes for what eventually became the Snapchiller machine, “which offers rapid beverage chilling and highly precise temperature control as low as -10ºF.”
Elemental said that the thermodynamics and heat exchange technology captures the essence of hot brewed coffee at its peak without oxidation, dilution or additives. At full capacity it can handle 16oz at a time, weighing about 50lbs as a countertop appliance.
Enhancing a new flavor experience
About a year ago, Dussault and Elemental premiered the second Snapchiller prototype, and this spring the company was re-branded to kick off the official launch of the final version. They plan to ship out machines that have been pre-ordered starting in Q1 2020. A handful of locations in Boston are using the Snapchiller already.
Dussault thinks it’s important to get the Snapchiller out in the cafe, bar and restaurant scene so consumers can experience the effects firsthand, because it is difficult to describe.
Jon Chen, CEO of Elemental Beverage, agreed and told BeverageDaily “You need to experience it before you’re going to understand the value of the platform.”
Chen and Dussault consider this to be a wholly new category and technology for hot beverages that “conserve the freshness in a different way.” It can be batch brewed and chilled, or used single serve with mugs and cups.
“When you chill coffee below ice cold, you actually open up the flavors and they become more enhanced and you have a totally different flavor experience,” Chen said.
Tea has similar applications and can be cooled with the machine, as well as alcohol. Chen described it as ‘operational efficiency,’ because the Snapchiller can eliminate the need for ice and keep drinks cool without shaking or mixing.
Watermelon, peanut butter and raspberry jam coffee
To showcase the effects of the Snapchiller and in an effort to get more consumers to taste the benefits, Elemental sells its own line of canned coffee on its website. It’s a limited line that they hope to change out seasonally.
“We wanted to show off a variety of both flavor profiles and different processing methods,” Chen said.
“That’s what we’re introducing to the world, opening up a different variety and possibility in coffee.”
The three current varieties of the coffee are single-origin and sourced from Kayanza, Burundi; San Alejo, Colombia; and Kolla Bolcha, Ethiopia. Chen said that the Founders selection of beans runs about $450/lb, the Flagship RTD coffees are between $4-$5/lb and the rate of average coffee is about $1/lb.
He described the Ethiopian coffee as fruity and watermelon-forward, the Colombian has a peanut butter taste, and the Burundi option is complex like a port wine with a raspberry jam flavor.
Chen said that Elemental is already running out of inventory of the first three coffees, and plans to introduce at least one new flagship flavor in the fall with limited edition options. The company might also look into a tea product next year.