4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Harry Ryan stirs up the coffee world

“You want to have a fresh, hot, quality brew.”

Harry with his new brew
Harry with his new brew

“As a customer,” says Harry Ryan, “what’s your concern when you go to buy a cup of coffee?”

He answers his own question.

“You want to have a fresh, hot, quality brew.”

Harry is one of the three Ryan Brothers, along with Carmine and Tom, who started in 1994 with coffee carts in La Jolla and Old Town. Today, they have seven brick and mortar outlets, and a reputation as innovators in the coffee world.

“As a producer,” continues Harry, “my concerns are: when was it brewed, has it been sitting too long in the urn, if they grew it right, did they grind it too soon before they brewed it, is it dried out, are the urns clean, on and on.

“The beer industry has a brewmaster. The brewmaster brews. And they do it well, because they don’t want to throw out, they don’t want to have mistakes. If you throw that [crucial job] over to a multitude of hourly workers, as happens in the coffee world, the chances of bad brews goes way up.”

Harry’s invention. Keeps coffee fresh.

But it’s the wastage that gets Harry really exercised. “Let’s look at Starbucks for instance. They have a brew standard. They brew every 30 minutes, is what I’ve been told. Same in the hotel industry, and whatever’s not consumed is dumped.”

He contrasts this with the beer industry, the wine industry. “They’re not dumping. You’re paying premium. In our [coffee] industry, we don’t really want to say how much they’re throwing out, because the customer’s paying for it all.”

What to do? Enter Harry Ryan, inventor.

“My method solves that. Because what I do is I keg all my coffees. I use cooler temps to get better extraction, then I keg it, I nitrogen gas flush it — like beer, except it’s nitrogen — but then I put it through my patented hot draft technique, which is a tankless heat coil, so, as the coffee comes up, it gets heated on demand.”

He’s tinkering with a chrome box on a little tower. “Hot Draft,” says the sign. “US Patent 10,092,132.”

“This is where my heat coil is,” he says, “and look what you get. It pours like a Guinness.”

He’s right. It comes out creamy, incredibly smooth-looking. It turns out he has made a batch of coffee, stored it in an oxygen-free tank, and only heats my cupful as he pours it.

“Think about it: That keg does not need refrigerating, because there’s no oxidation going on. Also, and this is just as big, every ounce of the coffee is going to be used. Taste that! No cream, no sugar. That’s my heaven. Stored in room temp. It’s not sitting there heated. I could store it for a year, it’d come out as fresh as the day I brewed it.”

Ryan Brothers’ historic building on Main Street

So why aren’t the big boys like Starbucks using the same methods? “I’ve taken out a lot of patents.”

I’d always remembered Ryan Brothers’ coffee place in Barrio Logan because inside, they have an Indonesian rickshaw to remind them of their childhood which they spent over there. And also a bar top at which outlaw Jesse James drank, though probably not coffee.

As you wait to have your coffee, you have to ask yourself: is Harry Ryan about to stir up the coffee world?

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The healthy doubt of Park Hill Church

Doubt belongs in the journey of faith, just as hunger belongs in your pursuit of food
Next Article

Elizabeth Bishop: peer of Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath

She wished to be judged on the basis of her talent, not the fact that she was a woman
Harry with his new brew
Harry with his new brew

“As a customer,” says Harry Ryan, “what’s your concern when you go to buy a cup of coffee?”

He answers his own question.

“You want to have a fresh, hot, quality brew.”

Harry is one of the three Ryan Brothers, along with Carmine and Tom, who started in 1994 with coffee carts in La Jolla and Old Town. Today, they have seven brick and mortar outlets, and a reputation as innovators in the coffee world.

“As a producer,” continues Harry, “my concerns are: when was it brewed, has it been sitting too long in the urn, if they grew it right, did they grind it too soon before they brewed it, is it dried out, are the urns clean, on and on.

“The beer industry has a brewmaster. The brewmaster brews. And they do it well, because they don’t want to throw out, they don’t want to have mistakes. If you throw that [crucial job] over to a multitude of hourly workers, as happens in the coffee world, the chances of bad brews goes way up.”

Harry’s invention. Keeps coffee fresh.

But it’s the wastage that gets Harry really exercised. “Let’s look at Starbucks for instance. They have a brew standard. They brew every 30 minutes, is what I’ve been told. Same in the hotel industry, and whatever’s not consumed is dumped.”

He contrasts this with the beer industry, the wine industry. “They’re not dumping. You’re paying premium. In our [coffee] industry, we don’t really want to say how much they’re throwing out, because the customer’s paying for it all.”

What to do? Enter Harry Ryan, inventor.

“My method solves that. Because what I do is I keg all my coffees. I use cooler temps to get better extraction, then I keg it, I nitrogen gas flush it — like beer, except it’s nitrogen — but then I put it through my patented hot draft technique, which is a tankless heat coil, so, as the coffee comes up, it gets heated on demand.”

He’s tinkering with a chrome box on a little tower. “Hot Draft,” says the sign. “US Patent 10,092,132.”

“This is where my heat coil is,” he says, “and look what you get. It pours like a Guinness.”

He’s right. It comes out creamy, incredibly smooth-looking. It turns out he has made a batch of coffee, stored it in an oxygen-free tank, and only heats my cupful as he pours it.

“Think about it: That keg does not need refrigerating, because there’s no oxidation going on. Also, and this is just as big, every ounce of the coffee is going to be used. Taste that! No cream, no sugar. That’s my heaven. Stored in room temp. It’s not sitting there heated. I could store it for a year, it’d come out as fresh as the day I brewed it.”

Ryan Brothers’ historic building on Main Street

So why aren’t the big boys like Starbucks using the same methods? “I’ve taken out a lot of patents.”

I’d always remembered Ryan Brothers’ coffee place in Barrio Logan because inside, they have an Indonesian rickshaw to remind them of their childhood which they spent over there. And also a bar top at which outlaw Jesse James drank, though probably not coffee.

As you wait to have your coffee, you have to ask yourself: is Harry Ryan about to stir up the coffee world?

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Sheet music as tool of colonialism

Oxford itself is a product of Western Civilization
Next Article

From the mind of Luc Besson

District B13 introduced American audiences to parkour
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close