Kaleidoscope Craft Brew Coffee Chris and Elizabeth Thele

The Theles both fell in love with coffee before meeting and falling in love with each other. 

If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ve probably sipped cold brew – but what about craft-brew coffee? True to its name, craft-brew coffee is brewed using methods borrowed from the craft beer industry. Chris and Elizabeth Thele, founders of Kaleidoscope Craft Brew Coffee in Belleville, Illinois, fell in love with coffee on opposite ends of the world – Chris in Australia and Elizabeth in Haiti – before meeting and getting married.

After much research and trial and error, they developed their own proprietary technique for brewing coffee: They expertly roast their high-quality beans and use beer tanks, filters and other equipment borrowed from both coffee extracting and beer brewing processes to create the right temperature, pressure, movement and gases that contribute their cold coffee’s rich flavor and silky-smooth mouthfeel. Kaleidoscope products are available in St. Louis-area stores, served on draft from its two brew trucks (sometimes found at area farmers’ markets or rented for events) and are currently infiltrating an increasing number of local restaurants and bars. The brand is growing quickly, taking the city’s caffeine craze in an exciting new direction.

Why create cold coffee as opposed to beans, grounds or hot coffee? We found a space to operate in: This is the cold-coffee age, [and] we felt like there was still a lot of room for growth. We put our energy into figuring out how we could [brew] in a way that is craft by nature and how we could give the folks drinking our coffee a genuine craft experience. That’s what we’re here for. –Chris Thele

Why did you decide to brew coffee like a craft beer? We wanted to approach coffee extraction with a high level of innovation and controllability and those kinds of things that would allow us to make something that is truly tasty and the absolute best [product] that we can personally create – that’s what craft brewing does. It’s [an approach] that allows us to influence and adjust the extraction of the coffee bean and create a beverage that you can drink. –C.T.

What do you want people to get from drinking a Kaleidoscope coffee? It’s not an old-school cup of coffee; we want to raise that bar in the coffee experience. –Elizabeth Thele We’re trying to give [customers] something that is really unique, but super enjoyable. We want everyone who picks up a [Kaleidoscope] craft-brew coffee to have a “brighten your day” kind of experience. –C.T.

Kaleidoscope Craft Brew Coffee, craftbrewcoffee.com