STATION Cold Brew: Toronto’s Coolest Cold Brew Company

Posted by Sarah Brown, June 17, 2016
Station Cold Brew

Photograph by Andreea Muscurel | LIKEMINDED

If you’re a coffee drinker in Toronto, chances are you’ve heard of STATION Cold Brew. Easily recognized by its craft amber bottle, Station’s superior cold brew has shaken up Toronto’s coffee scene with a new approach to cold coffee. At the forefront of the cool brew movement, Station impresses with versatility, offering a buzzy menu of cold brew cocktails, concentrates, nitro-on-tap, and one-of-a-kind coffee creations you won’t find at an ordinary coffee shop. Looking ahead to their upcoming Milkshake Party at The Drake Hotel, I stopped by Canada’s first cold coffee brewery to chat with Mitchell Stern, the marketing specialist behind Station Cold Brew Coffee Company.

Back in 2013, before Station became the locally-recognized brand it is today, founder Steve Ballantyne, drank his first cold brew in Brooklyn. It was here, in New York’s hippest borough, that Steve saw an opportunity to bring cold brew to Toronto. Teaming up with Mitch (marketing + strategy) and Mike Roy (the brewmaster), Station Cold Brew was born - with an iconic amber bottle and logo like a craft beer. Three years later, Station is now sold across the city any beyond; in cafes, juice bars, and Whole Foods, with plans to expand business to Ottawa + Vancouver this summer. Like always, new customers ask: “What’s the big deal with cold brew?”

Sitting outside Station’s new brewery in the Junction Triangle, Mitch hands me a cup of nitro cold brew that looks like a Guinness in a plastic cup. “People don’t know what it is,” says Mitch. Station steeps their coffee in cold water for 12-18 hours. The difference being, unlike regular hot coffee that uses heat to extract flavour, cold brew uses a temperature-controlled system. “We add roasted chicory too, which gives it a chocolate taste,” says Mitch. The flavour is clean and refreshing – the perfect summer drink, with a kick of caffeine. Sipping the last few gulps of my cold brew, Mitch tells me about the reaction from first-time cold brew drinkers.

Station Cold Brew

“We love it when people try cold brew for the first time. They understand why it’s different from your typical iced coffee; low acidity, low bitterness. The health angle is that people are drinking cold brew, black. You don’t need to add anything to make it better so you can spend your calories on something else!” says Mitch. And it’s true, people love it. Station is a brand people recognize, because it’s often sold alongside health-conscious beverages like kombucha and cold-pressed juices. It’s all-natural goodness.

Outside the shop, a steady flow of creative-types stroll along Campbell Ave, looking for coffee in the Junction’s newest coffee strip. Earlier this month, Hale Coffee opened a new roasting facility and café next to Station. “We’re building a community in the Junction. People can buy a cold brew from us or a growler to take home, or an espresso next door at Hale, where they can see the beans being roasted first hand,” explains Mitch. Curious about their coffee, I ask Mitch about their coffee beans. “We have a specialty coffee blend from Brazil and Ethiopia that’s directly traded,” adds Mitch. There’s a true partnership between Hale and Station, and it's only just the beginning.

Modern Irish

Photograph by Benjamin Dunlop

Looking forward to the 86’d Milkshake Party on Monday, I ask Mitch about their coffee cocktails. Without hesitation, Mitch tells me about the Modern Irish, a new-age Irish cocktail made with Jameson Irish whiskey, Station’s cold brew concentrate and shaved nutmeg. There’s even a Cold Brewtini, a recipe you can find on Station’s cold brew cocktail page. It's one of the handful of original recipes created by Station's brewmaster and mixologist, Mike Roy.

As more coffee drinker sway to the cool side, Station reigns supreme in a growing category. The taste is superior, which makes it so damn versatile. Full steam ahead, the gang at Station are looking ahead to a summer of sweet collaborations and business opportunities. As far as Mitch and Station are concerned, cold brew will continue to dominate Toronto's coffee scene; with the help of ongoing cold brew education.

Haven't tried cold brew yet? Join me, Ivy Knight and Station for Kahlúa + cold brew milkshakes at 86'd on Monday, June 20th.

Posted in: Community

Tags: 86D  Cold Brew Coffee  Mitchell Stern  Station Cold Brew  The Drake Hotel