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Banjo cold brew coffee kicks in the nitro

Story by Lane Edmondson

Back in the dark ages when I fell in love with coffee, nobody drank the cold-brewed stuff. It was strictly a home-based enterprise born of convenience, as most cold-brewing techniques produce a very concentrated result: You could keep it in the refrigerator all week, add water and heat one cup at a time. Cold brewing produces a less acidic drink, which appeals to people with gastric issues, but back in the day, java purists found it a muddy, weak facsimile of the real thing.

Now, cold-brewing has gone through a sea change. You can scarcely leave the house without someone offering you a clean-tasting, bold cup – usually served cold — compared to the anemic brown water of yesterday.

This is all part of the plan for Atlanta’s Banjo Coffee. Based and brewing in Avondale Estates, Majestic Banjo International began serving its zesty, full-bodied coffees at area farmers markets in 2015. Owners Billy and Chasidy Atchison and Sebastian Kegel opened a cozy brick-and-mortar coffee shop last year where they brew shade-grown, organic, fair-trade beans from Café Campesino in Americus.

Unlike days of yore, these cold, refreshing cups are not watered down before serving. Visitors can also order traditionally brewed (i.e., hot) coffee drinks along with on-tap Banjo specialties like Nitro, Matcha Green Tea Nitro, and locally produced Golda Kombucha served in Banjo’s signature Mason jars.

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With the Nitro varieties, Banjo embraces the national trend of pumping nitrogen into a keg of cold brew and serving it from a tap. The resulting java has a silky kick and a lovely, frothy head like a freshly tapped beer. Fans swear the nitrogen speeds up one’s caffeine absorption rate, but the science doesn’t agree.

You can check in with Banjo’s catering and office delivery side to set up a visit from the “mobile fleet” of carts with taps of cold brew or Nitro. In addition, Banjo’s brews are available at area Whole Foods and Kroger. Look for 12-ounce and quart-sized glass bottles — in the cold drink section, of course.

38 N. Avondale Road. 404-748-1837. banjocoffee.com

Insider tip

Banjo’s coffeehouse offers eats from the likes of Pine Street Market, Ratio: Bake Shop and Atlanta Fresh Creamery. In mid-August, it introduced its first hand-crafted soda, a ruby concoction of muscadines, ginger, lemon and lime.

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