Understanding Jot’s Concentrated “Ultra Coffee”

A scoop-sized serving of 20x strength coffee yields endless options and far less waste

Unlike cold brew, which is generally made at double- or triple-strength from soaking coarse coffee grounds in cold water for upwards of 24 hours, Jot‘s newly launched concentrate—which they refer to as “Ultra Coffee“—is brewed quickly and bottled at 20 times the strength. It can be turned into a delectable iced drink or a fine cup of hot coffee simply by following the preparation instructions: the potent elixir is doled out in tablespoon-sized portions in order to avoid the jitters. But, it’s the brand’s overarching philosophy that could inspire change across the industry—all while still spotlighting and supporting smaller producers, and showcasing the flavors of their beans.

There’s no question that the pioneers of the coffee industry’s current wave have made significant strides in sustainability, transparency in sourcing, and presentation of layered flavors. But, to address systemic sustainability issues, coffee producers may need to consider alternative means of delivery—hence Jot’s inception. We discussed Jot’s launch, the brand’s processes and how they’ve approached sustainability as the bare minimum with co-founder Palo Hawken.

Can you explain the process of brewing coffee at 20x? How do the rich, precise flavors remain?

Brewing coffee at 20x is tricky. Even espresso, the closest analog to Ultra Coffee, is not quite 20x—it’s usually around 14-16x, and it requires quite a lot of precision equipment and technique. A well-made espresso also results in a significant amount of aeration of the liquid coffee (crema), and pressurized steam (hotter than boiler temperature), which adds to the experience when consumed on the spot, but will degrade and oxidize that espresso quickly if stored to consume later. By contrast, Jot achieves 20x by decreasing the speed of extraction while modulating and controlling temperature and dissolved oxygen. Heat and oxygen are the two biggest enemies of fresh coffee, and we have found a way to extract efficiently, while managing those “enemies” to the degree needed to maintain rich, nuanced clarity of flavor over many weeks of storage and use.

What does concentrating and appropriately dosing coffee do for its applications? Is this ultimately less wasteful? 

We believe that distributing coffee in this form can significantly decrease the waste associated with other consumer and food service coffee-making systems. Some examples of coffee waste scenarios that Jot would help eliminate are:

Wasted grounds: the vast majority of spent coffee grounds from home coffee-making are simply sent to the landfill. By contrast, Jot composts 100% of its spent grounds to create soil amenders for improving local farming.

Wasted beans: roasted coffee and fresh ground coffee have very short shelf-lives. How many pounds of perfect coffee make the long journey to the pantry of a home or office, only to go stale or be tossed before brewing? What is the corresponding level of retail shrink (going out of code before it is sold and tossed)? Every bean we buy and roast is transformed into Ultra Coffee and put into bottles.

Wasted brewed coffee: how many pots of coffee are brewed in homes, in office buildings, restaurants and cafes (and airplanes!) that are only partially consumed, with the remainder thrown out at the end of a shift or the end of a day? Jot’s unique advantage is that you make only what you need and exactly when you need it. You can even scale back to half a cup any time, and nothing’s lost or wasted.

Pods and other single-serve packaging waste: for each recyclable glass bottle Jot sells, 14 cups of coffee are delivered to the consumer. When contrasted with the explosive growth of the single-serve coffee making craze, there is a huge potential benefit of both the quality of the coffee consumed, and the incredible reduction of packaging waste.

Can you elaborate on Jot’s inception? Was it created to solve these issues or with the experience front of mind?

Jot was conceived while looking to develop novel ways to brew coffee more efficiently for industry. This search led Andrew Gordon and me to make a few observations about current state-of-the-art industrial coffee brewing. When those observations were turned into hypotheses that could be tested, we were so happy with the results that we stopped making coffee at home in any other way in favor of using just a tablespoon of this magic liquid. When it became clear that our curious friends and family were doing the same, and abandoning their home coffee rituals in favor of Jot, we knew this had to be offered to the world, and Jot was born.

What are your favorite ways to use it? Is it also a useful ingredient in recipes where a coffee flavor comes through?

One of the beauties of this level of concentration is that it does not disrupt the delicate ratios of culinary recipes: mocha frosting, mocha-chip cookies (just add Jot to dough), coffee cake, coffee “blender ice-cream,” and many other kitchen uses. My brother is a chef and makes marinades for his steaks with Jot. Home-brewed coffee simply adds too much water and not enough intensity of flavor. Resorting to instant coffee sacrifices the goal of spectacular flavor and aroma.

I like putting one tablespoon of Jot into two ounces of half and half for an intense keto “Jot-shot.” But, if you like hot coffee, something similar with steamed milk or half and half would really showcase the favors.

Images courtesy of Jot