{ #WCW }: RACHEL DILLON – THE COLD BREW CHICK… talking alllll things as a coffee influencer, blogging, instagram, & of course: cold brew!

{ #WCW }: Rachel Dillon the Cold Brew Chick! || wcw is a monthly feature on lifestyle blog, essellesse, where shannon silver interviews other influencers to share all their secrets!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again & again & again

I love the internet.

It is seriously one of the coolest tools at our fingertips that we are just so lucky to have. It’s a place where people connect. At this point, I’m pretty sure I have more internet friends than in real life friends… and I love it.

Rachel & I met online. Instagram, if we’re being specific.

There are some people when I first “meet” them, whether it’s a post, or a story, I’m just hooked. & I was hooked when it came to Rachel.

Not only is she seriously one of the sweetest girls I’ve met online, she has one hell of a brand.

I LOVE a good niche. & these days, I find less and less of them. And I get it – we are consuming so much content all the time, that there are so many bases to cover.

Anyways, back to Rachel. THE COLD BREW CHICK. You guys know I love my cold brew. I am a huge coffee fan but I really love cold brew. It’s something I almost always order & have even tried my hand at making my own.

I also love learning of new cold brew companies & what’s going on in that world. Rachel has become my go to source with that. PS – Do you guys remember when she interviewed me on CBD cold brew? check it out here

From CBD cold brew, to piña colada cold brew, to shelf stable nitro… the options are endless & Rachel has blogged about it.  Also, LOVE this post on the best pumpkin spice coffee to use to make cold brew. Yes pls!

On top of knowing her stuff when it comes to cold brew, Rachel is VERY business savvy. You’ll see below – I love it. In fact, I learned so much from this interview alone & now it has me thinking of what direction to take things on this blog – love that!

Without further ado, meet Rachel – The Cold Brew Chick – & get ready to fall in LOVE.

Ready? OK!

Introduce Yourself & tell me about your blogging journey!

Hey there hi there! My name is Rachel Dillon and I am the “chick” behind Cold Brew Chick, a blog and podcast all about cold brew coffee.

I’ve been blogging back and forth ever since high school – first it was about my life and the struggles of being a 9th grader. Then it was about nutrition and fitness, then body positivity…so when I wanted to start a cold brew blog I was nervous!

I’d attempted and abandoned all previous blogging attempts; would this one be different? A year and a half later, I’m happy to say it absolutely is.

What started your love affair with cold brew?

I was pretty late to the coffee game! I didn’t start drinking till I was 19; I had just dropped out of theater school and was living with my parents. Everyday they made a pot of Starbucks Vanilla flavored black coffee. I tried a sip out of curiosity, and thus my coffee consumption began.

However a couple years later I noticed I would get acid reflux any time I drank hot coffee. It was a battle – drink the coffee and suffer heartburn afterwards, or don’t drink it and miss out on all the awesome benefits. I didn’t want to take Tums or other antacids, as the long term effects of regular usage can really mess up your stomach. So I suffered – until one day I saw this post on The Skinny Confidential. Cold brew? A trendy coffee drink? I was immediately intrigued.

Not much later, I saw Lauryn grabbing a nutella cold brew from a shop called Holsem Coffee. It looked trendy, delicious, and was only located 10 minutes away {<<< Rachel & Lauryn both live in San Diego}! I stopped by that weekend and tried a sip of their original Holsem cold brew. It was…..heaven. The best coffee I’d ever tasted. Rich, flavorful, strong – and the best part? No acid reflux! I was sold.

In your words, what makes the perfect cold brew?

I like my cold brew how I like my men – bold, smooth, and delicious.

Give me bold. I want it to speak its mind. Know its tastes. A nice body.

But it needs to play it smooth. There’s no need to be bitter. I want to love the experience, from beginning to end.

And of course, it must be enjoyable. Rich, just like my favorite chocolate. But complex. Leaving me curious…and wanting more.

To me, this is the perfect cold brew. A 5/5.

What are your insider tips for making cold brew at home?

For as simple a process as making cold brew is, I was surprised to learn how complex and technical people can get! There are a lot of opinions out there on how to make a cold brew, but here are my top three tips that are easy to implement and make a delicious difference:

A coarse grind is preferred, but you can use a finer grind. There are many reasons why coarse grind coffee is recommended for cold brew – it’s easier to filter and clean, it doesn’t extract as quickly so it works better for a longer brew time, and produces the most balanced cup. However, if you’re someone who does not own a coffee grinder or wants to make a cold brew with pre ground beans this can be tough to follow. You absolutely can use a finer grind coffee to make cold brew, but you’ll need to adjust a couple things! Don’t brew the cold brew as long, and consider filtering it an extra time so make sure you get all the grinds and sediment out of your brew.

Don’t use distilled water. A common mistake people make when brewing coffee and cold brew it to used purified water – heck I used to do this all the time! With coffee though, you want to use a water with minerals because they will pull different flavors from the beans. If your faucet water is not safe to drink and you purify your water, consider using a mineral supplement like Third Wave Water or purchasing bottled mineral water at the store.

Have fun! One of the beauties of cold brew is that it allows you to be more creative with coffee. Try brewing a batch with flavored coffee beans, or add some additional ingredients like vanilla beans or cacao nibs {<<< or coconut!!} to make an immersion cold brew. Dilute a cold brew concentrate with sparkling water, or use cold brew instead of espresso for your next cocktail {<<< LOVE THIS }

 The sky’s the limit when it comes to cold brew – have fun with it!

{ #WCW }: Rachel Dillon the Cold Brew Chick! || wcw is a monthly feature on lifestyle blog, essellesse, where shannon silver interviews other influencers to share all their secrets!
{ #WCW }: Rachel Dillon the Cold Brew Chick! || wcw is a monthly feature on lifestyle blog, essellesse, where shannon silver interviews other influencers to share all their secrets!

What are some of your long term & short term goals?

My long term goal is to be the #1 resource for all things cold brew – drinking it, making it, selling it. When people think of cold brew, I want them to think of Cold Brew Chick!  {<<< I already do! }

Short term, I’d love to establish a more consistent posting schedule and create more relationships with cold brew companies.

I’d also love to write a book!

Who / what inspires you and where do you find inspiration?

For a while I tried to find inspiration from other bloggers and influencers on social media – but instead of feeling uplifted, I found myself feeling down. I would see their content and “highlight reel” and start to compare with my own, even putting myself down for not being as good as theirs.

Now I find inspiration from my friends. Many of them are hustlers who are passionate about their dreams and goals. Seeing them work hard inspires me the most.

What are some of the challenges in blogging & instagram and how do you handle them?

Comparison. Feeling that no one cares about your content. Doubt. The constant balance of patience and wondering if you’re growing fast enough. And having a consistent Instagram feed! {<<< all of this is all so real – I deal with it too}

What are some of your tips for the ‘gram?

Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity.

And always look to see how you can be different from everyone else, or at least other people in your niche. It’s hard to do, and something I’m still learning and working on everyday.

While we are on the topic of Instagram, what’s your advice to other bloggers who want to grow their account?

I’m glad you brought this up!  When people think of growth, I think the first thing that comes to mind for many is “followers”. But a number cannot, not should it, define your value.

I have under 3000 followers on Instagram which in the world of influencers today is nothing. But that number doesn’t show people the emails I’ve gotten from around the world of people asking me for advice on cold brew, or the DMs thanking me for sharing about a coffee shop that a person visited and loved.

…And yet, when looking to collaborate with brands and companies that is the number they look at. It’s frustrating!

To me, growth not only applies to how much influence you have, but the growth of you as a blogger {<<< guys, this is so dead on}. Has the value of your content improved? Do more people reach out to you seeking tips or advice, or commenting on your posts? I think we’re slowly starting to shift engagement numbers versus followers.

Grow your skills, grow your knowledge, and your account growth will follow.

Last instagram question! What are your favourite photo editing apps?

I’ve dabbled with quite a few – VSCO, Afterlight, Lightroom, Color Story. Right now I’m just using Darkroom, and Facetune if I need to cover a blemish or whiten a background. I’m always changing my editing themes – currently, I’m doing a black and white style with pops of red and orange, so I have it set to completely take out blue and yellow tones.

VSCO is awesome, but all the different filters they have leave me overwhelmed! There’s a great IG account called @whatfiltrs that gives you the exact formula to replicate other famous celebrities and bloggers filter theme.

How do you see social media & blogs evolving and how do you plan to evolve with it?

I read somewhere the other day that people are consuming content differently. Instead of reading blog posts on a daily basis, they batch a bunch to check out on one day. I think that changes how you look at the analytics of your posts – one can not get a lot of engagement on the day it was posted, but overtime become one of your most popular pages!

Because a lot of what I do is mixed content (reviews, blog posts, podcast) I plan on pre-batching related posts together to make it easier for readers to consume the content they want.

{ chiming in to say that I never thought of it this way, but it makes sense & my analytics reflect this as well. it may be interesting for future bloggers to treat the blog like a full on magazine vs daily posts? like think of when you would get a monthly magazine, you know? }

{ #WCW }: Rachel Dillon the Cold Brew Chick! || wcw is a monthly feature on lifestyle blog, essellesse, where shannon silver interviews other influencers to share all their secrets!

Looking back, if you could do anything different in building your brand, what would it be?

Start sooner! {<<< CO SIGNING !!!! }

I dabbled with the idea for a couple months before I jumped the bullet. Now I wish I had just started when I had idea, instead of waiting to create the “perfect” brand. It’s cool to see the growth of brands, and while I sometimes cringe at my early content I love seeing the growth as well.

For new bloggers, what is your biggest tip?

Be as niche as you can possibly be.

I think a lot of new bloggers are scared to focus on a niche topic for a couple reasons – it will be harder to find and create content, harder to gain followers, more difficult to work with brands. Those are all fears I had in the beginning! However, the blogging and influencer space is so saturated that in order to stand out you have to be doing something no one else is.

Instead of a fitness blog, why not be the stretching girl? Instead of a food blog, why not be the kombucha babe? Instead of a fashion blog, why not be the jeans gal? To say “I’m going to be a lifestyle blogger” means your content is going to be side by side with other people that have been doing this a lot longer, thus have better content.

If you’re the only one covering a specific topic, you own the space – and who wouldn’t want that?

{ me again 🙂 more on this another day, but Rachel is dead on. This has actually been something I’ve struggled with a lot. I’m niching down a lot more now and everything is a LOT less overwhelming… four years later! Start small. What are you an expert at? Focus on that and add things in – TRUST ME, it will make life easier & will make it solely you. }

Who are some of your favourite bloggers to follow?

One of the first bloggers I ever followed was Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential, and I’ve been lucky to be her mentee over the past year. Even in the space of lifestyle, her content is always unique. {<<< I love Lauryn too, she’s seriously a badass blogger}

Once Upon a Pumpkin is the perfect example of a successful nice blog. Her focus is one thing – pumpkin! But from that she now has a successful platform and even launched a cookbook. It’s inspiring!

I love Margo and Me for the fashion and her Perisian vibe. So chic!

For food recipes, I love Ambitious Kitchen. Her brown butter Nutella stuffed salted chocolate chip cookies are my go-to for any special event.

Best piece of advice you have ever been given?

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.

Finally, advice for others who are looking to follow their dreams but not sure how?

I think Gary Vee said it best with “You’re gonna die”. Lol but seriously! We have one life. One! How do you want to live it?

Do you want to be on your deathbed thinking about all the regrets you have, or things you wish you could have done? If you have a dream, do and stop at nothing to make it come true.

And you know I have to 😉 favourite song??

This is the hardest question of them all! I have two.

“Avirl 14th” by Aphex Twin {<<< ob-sessed with Windowlicker by Aphex Twin !! an og fav }

“Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” By U2

But I also love Marian Hill, Leon Bridges, Journey, old school jazz, musical theater, and movie soundtracks.

Ummmm are you as obsessed as I am?

Seriously, Rachel is one super savvy blogger and I think she touched on points that are SUPER important. I want to reiterate the growth part & NEVER feel defined by your number.

I made a post here where I talked everything I learned at the Fohr conference in New York. It’s one of my most saved posts to this day which makes me happy as I hope it provides value – that was the intention.

THE biggest thing that was reiterated over and over and over at that conference {by mega influencers& people behind brands} is that NUMBERS. DO. NOT. MATTER. They do not define you. They do not make you better than anyone. They do not make you worse than anyone. THEY DO NOT MATTER. At the end of the day, your work ethic, your product, and like Rachel said, how you make people feel means more than ANY number.

I want to really reiterate that and sorry to get all Black Mirror on you guys, but I am kind of scared of the direction society is going holding worth to numbers. As an influencer, I think it’s VERY important to speak on this. Your worth is NOT defined by numbers. NEVER be mistaken. Use them as analytics – they are tools to help you grow, do NOT use them to define yourself or define your growth.

ANYWAYS, I’ll get off my soap box. Hope you guys love Rachel as much as I do.

Let me know your fav part of the interview & be sure to check Rachel out on Instagram. She’s seriously so fun.

What’s your fav cold brew?! Y’all know coconut is my jam.

ok talk soon! xx sls

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