“The wandering bear is my spirit animal,” says Wandering Bear cofounder Ben Gordon as he welcomes the FreshDirect team to his small factory in Queens. “I always knew I wanted to start a company called Wandering Bear, I just didn’t know what it was I was going to sell.” Thankfully for iced coffee fans that “what” turned out to be cold brew.
Ben and his co-founder, Matt Bachmann, met at Columbia Business School a few years ago and bonded over their mutual love of coffee. Last June, while still in school, the pair founded Wandering Bear and set up shop in Long Island City (the boys have now graduated).
Our visit to WB couldn’t have been more convenient—they’re just over the road from our office—and as Ben leads us through the corridors of the factory building in which they lease a small room the size of a studio apartment, he tells us about how he first began making cold brew back home in Detroit. “There was a lot of trial and error in the early days,” he says. “It’s not like we can just call up another cold brew company and be like, ‘Hey, how’d you make yours?’”
Ben and Matt designed the machine that makes the coffee themselves, and had it custom-built in Texas. It’s a drum roughly the size of a Mini, and inside it water and coarsely ground coffee (sourced from Colombia) are blended. Each batch takes roughly 18 hours to make and produces 800 gallons of cold brew.
Realizing there was an opportunity on their doorstep, one day last fall Ben and Matt dropped by our office with samples. We were hooked immediately, and since then the startup has grown from strength to strength. In the scheme of things, Wandering Bear is still only a cub, but it won’t be long until they’re the jungle VIP.
New to cold brew? Try it today and add it to your basket here.