Cool and caffeinated
Story and Photography by McKenna Corson
No matter where you go on the globe, you’ll always find a cup of Joe.
Now whether that coffee is served atop cheese curds like in Finland, with the grounds like in Turkey, or in a clay mug simmered with a cinnamon stick and sweetened with unrefined cane sugar like in Mexico, depends on your location and taste buds.
Coffee is second only to oil as the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world, and it’s estimated almost 2½ billion cups of coffee are consumed each day, according to PBS.
And not all of those billion-plus cups of coffee are served in the same way – or at the same steaming hot temperature. Iced coffee allows people to get their caffeine fix and cool off, and it manages to grow in popularity each year.
If you go to Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or any local cafe in the United States and order an iced coffee, chances are you’ll receive just what the name implies: unsweetened, black coffee poured over ice cubes. But in Israel – a nation bordering coffee’s modern-day birthplace, the Arabian Peninsula – that same order will result in a different frosty beverage boasting a creamy, sweet taste.
“It’s similar to what a Starbucks’ Frappuccino is in the States,” says Charlie Eisenstat, co-owner of small-batch roastery Pour Coffee Co. in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. “It’s pretty much iced coffee blended with ice, milk and sugar – not overly complicated.”
Unlike his fellow Pour Coffee Co. co-owner, Anthony Lazzaro had known about the drink for years, having been to Israel numerous times since converting to Judaism with the marriage to his wife in 2006. However, before inventing Pour Coffee Co.’s version of the icy beverage, neither owner had ever tasted an Israeli iced coffee – yet.
“I’ve heard good things about it, and I was excited that we could learn how to make it here in Cleveland and put our own twist on it,” says Lazzaro, a resident of Moreland Hills and member of Park Synagogue in Pepper Pike and Cleveland Heights.
Eisenstat says coming up with the iced coffee creation was a pretty straightforward process, where he scanned the internet for pre-existing recipes and then devised opportunities for customization.
“It’s a very easy recipe to replicate, then we just blend it all together,” says Eisenstat, who attended the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, where he visited Israel as an eighth grader. “Really, anybody can make it.”
Eisenstat’s first tip when making the drink is to use the best and freshest ingredients. If possible, the milk and sugar should be organic or minimally processed.
He also recommends using cane sugar instead of Domino Sugar to avoid intense sweetness, and locally sourced whole milk from Hartzler Family Dairy, which can be purchased at Heinen’s and Whole Foods, or Wholesome Valley Farm, which can be purchased at Ohio City Provisions and Larder Delicatessen and Bakery, both in Cleveland. Nondairy milks are also an option.
The most important part of the drink is the coffee, Eisenstat says. Pour Coffee Co. used a Tanzania Kilimanjaro Peaberry coffee – roasted in-house – boasting notes of warm brown sugar and red grape acidity with a smooth vanilla finish. He recommends using African coffees for iced coffees for a more interesting, vibrant taste.
“No matter how you brew it, if you start with good coffee, you’re going to end up with good coffee,” says Eisenstat, a resident of Lakewood.
The drink can be made using cold brew coffee readily available at grocery stores, home-brewed coffee or even instant coffee. If you’re brewing coffee at home for the drink, make sure the coffee is ground to a coarse, table salt-like texture.
Pour Coffee Co.’s recipe starts by following a Japanese pour-over method to brew the coffee. The iced coffee recipe works by brewing a concentrated amount of coffee and then diluting it over ice, so it results in a similar concentration to brewed hot coffee – but at a much cooler temperature.
“The advantage of iced coffee over cold brew is you get the acidity that you do from regular hot coffee,” Eisenstat says. “Cold brew is great, it brings out a lot of alkaloids and chocolate-y flavors that people like, but it kind of loses some of the acidity to the coffee.”
Pour-overs also maintain a coffee’s flavor while preventing you from shocking the coffee, like if a diner took a carafe of coffee that had been brewed in the morning and then put it in the fridge at the end of the day.
Depending on personal preference, the Israeli iced coffee can be made with whatever flavorings preferred, like vanilla.
After sampling Pour Coffee Co.’s version of the Israeli iced coffee, black-coffee drinker Eisenstat and espresso aficionado Lazzaro discovered a new caffeinated drink perfect for the summer.
“Delicious,” both men agree, taking second sips of their frothy glasses.
Pour’s unexpected beginnings
Coffee and its delicious science have been a love of Eisenstat’s for years. The caffeine king first fell into the brain juice while attending law school, where he frequently studied in big-box coffee shops. In Washington, D.C. attending Georgetown University, he continued his cafe studies, spending time in specialty, locally-owned coffee shops, quickly falling in love with the cafe atmosphere.
It was at a cozy D.C. coffee shop where a barista encouraged Eisenstat to drink their coffee black instead of adding cream and sugar as he normally did.
“I didn’t think I would like it,” Eisenstat says. “But the coffee blew my mind. It stuck with me ever since.”
From that moment, coffee started to eclipse his other interests, including his passion for law. He completed law school and started his law career, and at the same time, experimented with java at home.
It wasn’t long until Eisenstat heeded the rocket fuel’s alluring call and left the world of law. In 2013, he opened a multi-roaster pour-over and espresso bar in downtown Cleveland named Pour Cleveland.
A year later, Lazzaro, also a lawyer, contacted Eisenstat about purchasing a La Marzocco espresso machine Eisenstat was selling at Pour Cleveland. Lazzaro, who owns employment law office Lazzaro Law Firm LLC in Moreland Hills, has been into traditional Italian espresso since high school. Lazzaro’s love for espresso runs deep – he even installed an espresso machine in his hotel room when he took the bar exam.
Eisenstat taught Lazzaro how to use the espresso machine, and the two immediately hit it off.
“I went from drinking traditional espresso to the type that Charlie was serving – more Nordic-type coffees, really flavorful coffees,” Lazzaro says. “I was just hooked, and I’ve never looked back.”
The two came together to open roastery Pour Coffee Co., after Eisenstat recognized a need for a good roastery, having sampled coffee after coffee sent to him from across the world. The duo’s roastery, which opened in fall 2019 at 807 Literary Road in Tremont, focuses on high quality, freshly harvested green coffee beans from Peru, Colombia and Tanzania that are mainly sourced from Nordic Approach in Oslo.
Eisenstat and Lazzaro both oversee the overall operations of the business, work with customers, obtain new customers and forge wholesale accounts. Eisenstat takes the lead on operating the roaster, and an assistant comes in several days a week to help with bagging, social media and other tasks.
A roller coaster of business
Just months after opening Pour Coffee Co., the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Unsure of what the downtime would do to his multi-roaster and espresso bar business, Eisenstat decided not to renew Pour Cleveland’s downtown lease when it expired at the end of 2020. Eisenstat still runs Pour Cleveland online, where customers can purchase a range of specially curated roasted coffees, subscriptions and merchandise.
Pour Cleveland’s closure did prove to be a bit of a challenge for Pour Coffee Co., as Pour Cleveland was its biggest source of customers, Lazzaro says. But the pandemic forced Eisenstat and Lazzaro to expand their thinking for the small batch roastery. They started diving into wholesale opportunities, supplying to area coffee shops, bakeries, offices and businesses like the Vegan Doughnut Company and Goodkind Coffee, both in Lakewood, and Luna Bakery & Cafe in Cleveland Heights and Moreland Hills. They started offering coffee subscriptions businesses and individuals could purchase.
Prior to COVID-19, Eisenstat would guide educational opportunities for partner businesses at the shop, teaching participants how to make perfectly crafted coffee beverages. The pandemic forced Eisenstat to temporarily stop lessons, but he hopes to resume them soon.
Pour Coffee Co. didn’t allow people to come into the store and buy coffee and equipment throughout the pandemic, but it is now open select hours for walk-in customers. All of Pour Coffee Co.’s coffee subscriptions, equipment and merchandise can be viewed at pour.com.
Like many locally owned businesses, Pour Coffee Co. had to endure a difficult year, but much to Eisenstat and Lazzaro’s happiness, the roastery continues to find growing success. Lazzaro says Pour Coffee Co. has outgrown its cozy Tremont location, so he and Eisenstat will be looking to move into a bigger space next year.
“Because of the pandemic, a lot of multi-roaster shops like Pour Cleveland closed,” Lazzaro says. “But we’re picking up some clients now; we’ve been not only steady but we’re actually growing. The coffee is delicious, customers love it, so I think it’s going to go really well.”
Israeli iced coffee Recipe
Yields about four servings
Ingredients for iced coffee:
- 700 grams of boiling water
- 200 grams of ice
- 42 grams of ground coffee
To make Israeli iced coffee:
- 700 grams of room temperature or chilled brewed coffee
- 2/3 cup of whole milk
- 25 grams of sugar
- 240 grams of ice
- Optional: whipped cream
- Hario V60, size 02, coffee dripper and paper filter
For regular iced coffee
Place Hario V60 dripper on top of a carafe. Fold V60 filter over the tab and place in the brew cone of the dripper.
Rinse filter by running boiling water (about 200 grams) through the filter. Once the water drains out into the carafe, dump out the water.
Add the 200 grams of ice into the carafe. With the dripper placed on top of the ice-filled carafe, add the ground coffee into the brew cone.
Take the remaining 500 grams of boiling water off of the heat and wait until it stops boiling, about 10 seconds. Pour 70 grams of the water on top of the coffee grounds, and then wait 30 seconds for the grounds to absorb the water. Pour in the remaining 430 grams of water in slow, concentric circles around the middle, finishing the pour after about one minute and 30 seconds.
If needed, give the dripper a few gentle taps to level the grounds and water. The brewed coffee should drip through after about two minutes and 30 seconds.
For Israeli-style iced coffee
Add all of the coffee made in the directions above, or 700 grams of any brewed coffee, into a blender. Add the milk, sugar and ice into the blender. Blend, and pulse a little to add froth. Pour into four glasses and top with whipped cream, if desired.
-Source: Pour Coffee Co.