Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Under Review: Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee

The Tetra Pak carton keeps Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee and other blends fresh until they are opened at which time refrigeration is required. Photos from Gorilla Coffee.


I first opened the box of Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee, I was intrigued to find folded burlap on top. Oooh!

Did the coffee makers send a fetching tote in which to carry my coffee? No such luck. It was a cut piece of a burlap sack used as padding. Clever, but since I then noticed the fibers it had shed onto my clothing, I quickly discarded the burlap and shifted my attention to the product underneath.

Roasted in Brooklyn, NY, Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee comes in an 11-ounce red and black Tetra Pak carton bearing a gorilla’s face and a New York City skyline. The shelf-stable packaging requires no refrigeration until after it has been opened. The coffee is a blend of two premium beans, Rwanda Kigeyo and Brazil Pedra Roxa, prepared by a cold brew process.

Ingredients: Water, coffee. So far, so good. 30 calories. 0.5g fat. 0mg sodium; 4g total carbohydrates, 20 percent of which is dietary fiber (5g). 2g protein. Could Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee be a low-fat, low-carb, low-cholesterol, low-sodium wonder food? No vitamins or other nutrients, Daralyn. Focus!

Clearly needing caffeine, I opted for a warm brew. After pouring the coffee into a mug and microwaving it for two minutes, I added enough milk to turn the black coffee a lovely medium brown – no sugar added – which is my go-to preparation.

Well … Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee is a full-bodied blend, lacking bitterness and carrying a distinct taste and aroma of molasses. Despite the overall smoothness, there is a certain “sharpness” in the aftertaste that I didn’t find appealing. Not a deal-breaker, but it would not be my preferred daily brew (that honor goes to a well-balanced French roast).

When 3:30 p.m. arrived and I found myself doing 360s in my desk chair and bouncing off the walls, literally, I discovered another characteristic of Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee. It’s strong! At least, much more of a concentrated brew than I am used to drinking, which at 5 or 6 ounces of water to the recommended 8 for most roasts, isn’t exactly weak.

Rwanda Kigeyo and Brazil Pedra Roxa are among the premium beans from which Gorilla coffees are made.

After two days of caffeine detoxification, my next foray with Gorilla was as an iced coffee. Here, it scored high marks for maintaining its flavor and aroma while immersed in a bath of ice and milk. That aforementioned aftertaste had vanished and only a rich java taste remained. Mindful of my earlier late-afternoon episode, I refrained from having a second cup, although I wanted one.

Convinced I’d learned the correct technique for making a warm Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee, on my third trial I added half of the container and more milk than usual. Tasty, but not the satisfying sensation I’d enjoyed as a cold beverage. I wanted my French roast back.

At $4 for a single container and $44 for a case of 12 on the Gorilla Coffee Web site, not including shipping and tax, Gorilla is an investment in taste for the discriminating coffee drinker.

Taking into account my varying experiences with Gorilla as both a cold and warm beverage, on a scale of 1 (yuck!) to 10 (heaven), I’m giving Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee a solid 8 – 7.5 if I factor in the high price tag.

Gorilla coffees can be consumed hot or cold.

I commend Gorilla for packaging a premium coffee for on-the-go convenience. When craving a cup of Joe, I’d gladly take one of those little red and black packages over being compelled to down your average deli brew or even a drip coffee served by the green-labeled, mermaid-logoed behemoth chain that shall remain nameless. I hope the company plans to expand its cold brew offering to other blends that might appeal to different palates.

Gorilla Cold Brew Pure Black Coffee is available via the company's Web site and in select stores around metro New York, including Whole Foods Markets and Union Market. Gorilla also has a storefront in Brooklyn, where one can sip a variety of roasts on site and purchase the Tetra Pak coffee, as well as beans.

Visit or 97 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY (718-230-3244) to learn more about Gorilla Coffee.


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