Well, I’ve always said that flavored coffee just wasn’t for me. I take my coffee basic: hot and black. Occasionally, I’ll get an iced version and add a little milk and half-and-half, but that’s about as wild as I get. I love good coffee, but I drink it rather boring. 

Of course, there’s always the exception that tests any rule. Case in point: Arkansas Black Apple Nitro Cold Brew from Fayetteville’s Mama Carmen’s. Does the name seem like a mouthful? You need to taste the finish product, then.

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So just what the heck is this stuff? It’s cold coffee that’s been infused with Arkansas Black Apples and hops, then run through the same sort of nitro tap system you’ll find in many bars—think Guinness here. I love nitro tap beers, because the smaller nitrogen bubbles give such a wonderful mouthfeel as opposed to the normal carbon dioxide; the result in using a nitro tap system for coffee is that this drink tastes a little like coffee with cream and a little like beer. Of course the flavor of the hops help that illusion along quite well, too.

The result is a tasty drink that has the flavor of apple without being overly sweet, drinks like a beer without being intoxicating—and serves as a nice, refreshing pick-me-up on a hot Arkansas morning. I tried it most recently on a muggy visit to the Bentonville Farmers Market (where Mama Carmen’s maintains a booth), and it was the perfect way to get a jump start to my day. So even if you’re a bit of a black coffee purist like me, step outside your comfort zone and give this cold brew a try. And if that doesn’t seem like something you want, just grab some regular coffee from Mama Carmen’s—they do a damn fine job on that, too.

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