‘Not a traditional coffee shop’: Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew continues growth in Fairborn

The difference between cold brew and iced coffee is the way it’s made.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

James and Lynne Mowery, the husband and wife duo behind Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew, are proud of the many pivots they have made through their entrepreneurial journey that have helped them learn and grow. From starting their business during the pandemic to adding a second cold brew food truck last year, their entrepreneurial journey is far from over.

Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew was founded as an online business in late 2018 after the couple spent nearly a year exploring the cold brew coffee scene.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

They first tried cold brew in 2017 when they were at Deschutes Brewery in Virginia. They were there to demo a bike and the brewery was a sponsor of the event. They specifically remember trying a coffee porter that wasn’t infused during the brewing process. Instead, the brewery had mixed in ingredients like cold brew. Before they left, they were given the recipes for the cocktails and forgot all about them until several months later.

In Dec. 2017, they came across the recipes and James had to go to the store to get cold brew. At that time, they didn’t really know what cold brew was, but enjoyed the taste. James never liked coffee, so for him finding something he enjoyed other than water was a plus.

The difference between cold brew and iced coffee is the way it’s made. Cold brew coffee is usually made by steeping coffee in water for hours at cold or room temperature, as opposed to minutes at high temperatures. The slow process makes cold brew taste different from hot brewing the same type of coffee beans. James described the taste of cold brew as smoother and less bitter than iced coffee.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Retail store in Fairborn

Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew bought their brick-and-mortar location in Fairborn at 644 N. Broad St. in 2019 and had planned to open in March 2020. Due to the pandemic, they opened in August of that year.

“I think the hardest thing for us to get people to understand is that we’re not a traditional coffee shop,” Lynne said.

Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew is open on select days at their brick-and-mortar location. The retail space offers ready-to-drink cold brew coffee in pouches. They have created two bean blends with Seven Hills Coffee Roasters in Cincinnati: Introspection, a medium to light roast, and Connection, a medium to dark roast. They also have decaf and caffeinated options including Decafinition and Cafinition. These two blends come from Poppets Coffee, a roaster in Dayton.

They also offer Riverade (lemonade) and River Chilled Tea (black tea). James said they have plans to release green, hibiscus and yerba mate teas this year.

All cold brew, lemonade and tea are available in 750 milliliter, 1.5 liter or 5 liter pouches. At the retail store they do not offer mixed beverages.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“The thing I like about this location is you’re forced to try it straight,” Lynne said.

Customers are often surprised that they can drink the cold brew by itself when they taste it in store, she added.

Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew goes on wheels

The couple opened their first “coffee truck,” The BARge I, in 2021 to bring cold brew coffee, served still, nitro and as lattes, to events like festivals, food truck rallies or farmers markets. Two years later, they bought another food truck, The BARge II, that allows them to set up more quickly, do more events and expand their menu.

A lot of people tend to order nitro lattes from The BARge, the owners said. If you’re not a coffee drinker, the owners recommend trying the nitro lemonade. The nitro drinks are infused with nitrogen to create a frothier beverage.

The coffee truck will be at the Hunger Days Food Truck Rally at Hobson Freedom Park, 2910 Trebein Road in Fairborn, from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, followed by the Farmers Market at The Heights, 8625 Brandt Pike in Huber Heights, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

Future plans

In the future, Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew hopes to partner with other businesses to have their cold brew served by the pouch or in glasses. Their end goal would be to have a cold brew coffee shop with a drive-thru.

In the upcoming month, the couple said they hope to have a few announcements on their social media pages about several new offerings.

More details

For more information, visit 55rivers.com or Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew’s Facebook or Instagram pages. To see where The BARge will be next, visit 55riversbarge.com/events.

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