Beyond the Pitch
Off The Beaten Path Gives Cold Brew Coffee a Nitro Upgrade
Steve Johnson, a serial entrepreneur whose most recent adventure is Off the Beaten Path Coffee, has always loved inventing. He is a fifth-generation cattle farmer who has founded multiple businesses. Ironically, he has never been a fan of regular coffee.
Four years ago, this entrepreneurial farmer-inventor began serious mountain biking for his health. Johnson took to the sport. The more he biked, the more he connected with other mountain bikers. He made close friends and from them learned about cold-brewed coffee.
The most basic method of cold-brewing coffee is to place coffee grounds in cheese cloth, cover the bundle with cold water, and steep it for hours, even a day. The coffee can then be served from a pitcher flat, over ice, or heated.
Ever the inventor, Johnson envisioned a cold brewing method that would make coffee (and tea) taste even better. He experimented with available technology and then took it further with a patent-pending process that produces a smoother, more consistent product, retaining the excellent characteristics (and the caffeine) of the coffee or tea.
Johnson also created a system to nitrogenate cold-brewed coffee and serve it from a keg-connected tap. Off The Beaten Path’s nitro coffee can be served quickly and quietly, or with flair and foam.
“We start out with very, very high quality beans and leaves for an extraordinarily good local supplier. After that, the magic is in the way we cold brew,” Johnson said. “It’s cold brewed and never touches heat, ever. We put it in a keg and nitrogenate it to drive out the oxygen which would cause the flavor to break down. It’s low or no calorie.”
Patented-pending Process and Highest Quality Beans and Leaves Make Excellent Brews
In 2016, Johnson moved into the Food Fort, which is supported by statewide SBA lender and economic development 501(c)(3) ECDI. Food Fort’s comprehensive services for food entrepreneurs include access to a fully licensed commercial kitchen, food safety certification courses, and business development support.
“We continued to experiment with flavors and grew to having an office and our first coffee bar at the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center (DEC), where I got connected with Rev1,” Johnson said. “I had heard that Rev1 was a cool place, and I thought maybe they need a coffee bar there.”
Last year, Johnson brought a system into Rev1 Labs for Startup Week, gaining feedback on multiple beverages from multiple coffee drinkers. (Full Disclosure: Residents do tell us Rev1 Labs is a cool place, and we now have Off The Beaten Path Coffee on tap.)
Off The Beaten Path Coffee Continues to Grow the Brand.
“I have learned in life that you better work on what you are good at and find other people who are really good at what you are not,” said Johnson. I’ve been blessed with a really wide variety of people, from a former Ken
tucky moonshiner who advised me on brewing techniques to the people across the startup space in Ohio who are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs like me succeed.”
Off The Beaten Path’s delicious products are available in restaurants, bars, and events across Ohio. The coffee is sold in cans online, and Off The Beaten Path Coffee also provides systems for business and executive dining as well as for executive and business break rooms. The corporate C-suites, break rooms, and staff kitchens at numerous central Ohio corporations have enthusiastically welcomed and appreciate that Off The Beaten Path Coffee makes their facilities more enjoyable places to work.
“When I started Off The Beaten Path Coffee, I wanted to start a different business where I could see the different result in people’s faces. Along the way, I have met totally benevolent people, without whom we wouldn’t be talking about zip today,” Johnson said.
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