The transition from music business to restaurant industry is not an usual one—take Justin Timberlake, for example, who opened N.Y.C. eatery Southern Hospitality BBQ in 2007, or the Atlanta-based Watershed on Peachtree owned by Indigo Girls band member Emily Saliers. But until recently, we'd never heard of a rock star doubling as the founder of a coffee company.
Shannon Leto, older brother to Jared Leto and co-founder of the band Thirty Seconds to Mars, is taking on everyone's favorite pick-me-up with his online company Black Fuel Trading Co., which officially launched in the spring of 2015.
"It started as a young boy in Louisiana: the smell of my grandfather’s chicory coffee brewing in the kitchen was always a warm, familiar daily feeling," Leto says of his love for java. "The passion grew during my 14 years touring the world with Thirty Seconds to Mars. I spent a lot of time sampling and tasting different coffee, everywhere from Parisian cafes to Costa Rican plantations."
For a refreshing summer beverage, Leto likes to use his beans to make a cup of cold brew, which he hits with a splash of almond milk—"Califia Farms is my favorite brand," he says. Read on below for directions on making your own delicious cold brew.
Cold Brew Coffee
1/2 to 1 cup whole coffee beans (depending on how strong you want the cold brew concentrate) ($18; blackfuel.com)
3 cups cold water, preferably filtered
Ice, to taste
Milk, to taste
1. Grind the coffee beans until they are coarse enough to be filtered by the French press, yet fine enough to infuse well.
2. Pour the ground coffee into the French press and top with 3 cups of water.
3. Gently stir the coffee with the water until just well blended (don’t over-stir).
4. Put on French press lid, but do not press down the plunger.
5. Steep the coffee by letting it sit overnight (12-16 hours).
6. The next morning, only plunge the French press slightly to allow the grounds to separate the coffee. Do not plunge fully, as it may release the bitter flavors left in the grounds.
7. Pour the cold brew concentrate into a pitcher or glass of ice and dilute 1-to-1 with water (or to desired strength).
8. Enjoy black, or with your favorite milk and/or sweetener.