The Cold Brew Coffee Trend
Cold brew coffee is coarsely ground coffee soaked in room temperature water from 8-24 hours. Think of “sun tea”. What one gets from soaking coffee in room temperature water is a more stable flavor profile. This is because of how long it takes the oils, acids and sugars extract from the cool water treatment.
Hot brewed coffee instantly extracts the oils, acids and sugars from the ground coffee resulting in a hot, acidic flavor. If you wait until hot coffee cools, you get a better sense of the actual flavor profile of the coffee rather than just, hot black coffee.
Cold brew has lower acid levels when brewing in room temperature water which yields a much smoother flavor profile when a consumer drinks a glass. The lower acidity, coupled with the lack of preservatives, calories, and chemicals makes cold brew a good replacement for health conscious consumers. The combination of smooth flavor profile, accompanied by the market trends of healthier human habits, has resulted in cold brew shooting to the moon of popularity and market penetration.
What the market says about the cold brew phenomenon
Cold brew coffee market grew 580% from 2011 to 2016 according to research from Mintel. The question to ask is why did it grow by such great lengths.
Cold brew coffee can be served in many forms, which aids its growth and popularity. One can have cold brew coffee “still” which is just over ice with no injection of gas or they can have it right out of a tap system, much like a Guinness Beer. The coffee is pushed through a keg system via Nitrogen Gas and a restrictor tap, giving it a foamy texture and very naturally milky smooth profile flavor. This is known as nitro cold brew.
We have also all seen the influx the RTD (Ready to Drink) Cold Brew in bottles or cans in our local grocery shelves increase to a point of absurdity. The reason for this is because grocers have large amounts of space for new products to replace the unhealthy artificial drink sector. The industry is right on cue with the delivery of shelf stable cold brew items. What becomes of 75% of these brands is yet to be seen– as not every producer takes care to get that perfect cold brew ratio. And, no one likes watery, bitter coffee.
The trend confirms consumers are leaning towards drinking healthier drinks, like cold brew coffee, rather than the standard hot coffee or other artificially flavored drinks. Expect the cold brew market to continue to penetrate and benefit existing markets and businesses where drinks can be served. Large companies (including even McDonalds) are fast adapting to these cold brew trends. Many of them have released, or bought up existing brands to stay relevant within the new growth sector.
Now that we have scientific evidence backing the benefits of the coffee, people will continue to shed old artificially flavored drinking routines and adopt healthier cold brew and hot coffee alternatives. So choose what you like, hot or cold and go for it.