Baker-Gibboney makes most of cool beans

Jill Baker-Gibboney has been making coffee professionally since she was 16. Originally from western Pennsylvania, she moved to Cincinnati with her parents as a teenager.  

“I spent a lot of time saying that I was going to leave,” she says of her teenage ennui. But after having a child herself and moving over a decade ago to Northside, “I knew I was staying.”

Although she no longer lives in Northside proper (she thinks Cincinnati has a lot of “best kept secret” neighborhoods), Baker-Gibboney now slings a wholly different kind of cup of joe at farmers markets and small independent businesses around town.  

Her current endeavor is bottled iced coffee: Coffee Cold—named for the eponymous song by jazz composer/pianist Galt MacDermot.

With the help of her friend of nearly two decades, Chuck Pfahler of La Terza Artisan Roasterie, Baker-Gibboney wants to revolutionize the way Americans—or at least Cincinnatians—drink coffee.  

The cold-brewing process creates a slightly sweeter cup, Baker-Gibboney says.

“My hope is that folks will at least try it first without their normal doctoring of the cup,” she says. “What’s the point in demanding a better product if you’re still going to treat it the same as a bad one?”

Her reasoning is valid. Coffee brewing technology has improved by leaps and bounds, and independent roasters like La Terza use responsibly sourced beans that are single origin and locally roasted in small batches, so the coffee is as fresh and customized to taste as possible.  

The process of cold brewing adds to the intensity.

“When you ice a bean, you can taste everything,” says the coffee lover. “There’s no hiding behind temperature—every flavor, good or bad, is present.”

So far, the verdict has been sweet. After testing several batches at Hyde Park and Wyoming farmers markets, they’ve sold out of each case nearly every time.  

A mere week after the launch, the fledgling company was contacted by six different retailers about selling wholesale. Expect to see Coffee Cold on the shelves of area markets like Park + Vine, Picnic & Pantry and Clifton Natural Foods, as well as specialty shops that carry alcohol like the Listing Loon and local pubs like the Comet.

Although Coffee Cold is the first and only locally roasted/brewed/bottled iced coffee in the Tri-State, they’ll still have to contend with the hyper-sweet “frappe-latte-smoothies” of their corporate competitors.

From the sound of it, Coffee Cold will rely more on the depth of their beans than artificial flavors and sweeteners. “If you start with great beans, and you prepare them carefully, you don’t need anything at all,” Baker-Gibboney says.

By Maria Seda-Reeder
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