The roastmaster for New Orleans-based PJ’s Coffee was never interested in the coffee business until he took a part-time job to help pay for college and was promptly introduced to his first French press.
Now Felton M. Jones Jr. oversees a six-person roasting operation that supplies some 55 PJ’s locations in Louisiana and Mississippi (plus one location in Mississippi and one in New Jersey). In a recent interview with the New Orleans Times Picayune, Jones remains fairly tight-lipped about his professional roasting techniques, but freely shares his tastes for beans and preferences when brewing at home.
The 41-year-old does shed some light on PJ’s method for creating its cold coffee concentrate:
“It’s a long, 18- to 24-hour steeping process. It’s a meticulous process. The benefits are, No. 1, the acidity just goes away. A lot of coffee drinkers come to enjoy cold drip not just because they like it cold versus hot, but because their bodies don’t react to it in the same way. People who suffer from acid reflux love cold drip.
“It brews at room temperature. Think of a bucket and a huge coffee filter. And that coffee filter is filled with five pounds of coarsely ground coffee. Because you’re letting it steep for so long, that’s the reason why it’s coarse.
“The PJ’s way for hot coffee is to use eight-ounces of ground coffee to yield one gallon of brewed coffee. For cold drip, that five pounds of ground coffee will only yield about two and a half gallons of brewed coffee. So it’s much more intense. There is a little bit of water dilution that takes place as well, but they do that behind the scenes, that’s part of the propriety recipe.
“At the counter level, it’s 50-50 diluted concentrate and milk over ice, and that’s what makes a perfect cup of iced coffee.”
Read the full interview here.