Meet the Press

10.2.2013

By Kaitlyn Goalen

A new crew of juicers has mastered the unthinkable: taste.

Photography By Thomas C. Card

Juice shops were once considered a punch line, dubious wheatgrass emporiums catering to a fringe of health freaks. Now they’re a hugely popular segment of the culinary landscape, with suppliers popping up in cities across the country. The major distinction of this new wave of juicers: Their drinks are actually delicious.

The shift stems partly from cold-pressing. Traditional juicing machines have drills that bore into the flesh of ingredients to extract the juice, and as they heat up so does the juice, ridding it of a percentage of its nutrients and taste. With the cold-pressing method, on the other hand, the ingredient is given a quick buzz in a machine akin to a food processor before the pulp is placed in porous bags and subjected to thousands of pounds of pressure. The resulting juice retains nearly all of the vitamins and nutrients of its original form.

But the real potential that cold-pressing has unlocked is higher-quality flavor. Entrepreneurs with kitchen backgrounds are now making the jump into the juice game, crafting cold-pressed marvels like watermelon-tomato and jicama, pineapple, and kale that are both healthy and palate-pleasing. The San Francisco shop Project Juice offers raw, organic combinations that toe the line between sweet and savory, like its new collaborative blends with local chef Blair Warsham; one is Thai-inspired, made with toasted coconut water, Thai chile, and pineapple.

In another life, Amanda Chantal Bacon was a line cook at L.A.’s Lucques restaurant and a food editor at the Los Angeles Times. Now she’s a full-time juice queen at hip Venice shop Moon Juice, where those previous experiences shine through in every bottle she sells (try her sweet, tropical carrot, lime, and coconut juice). Meanwhile, in Chicago, Krissy Sciarra, a former chef and fitness professional, has married her twin passions to launch Harvest Juicery, a local delivery service that drops off blends like fennel, orange, and mint right at customers’ doors.

For Sciarra, the transition to juices was simple. “I’m buying from the same farmers I did when I was a chef,” she says, “and just basing my juices on flavor combinations I love to cook with.”

Tags: Liquidity
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