Cold Coffee: Hot Trend
Cold brewed coffee, or is it cold brew? Maybe iced coffee? Which is it?
Coffee consumption is obviously important to Americans. We drink around 400 million cups per day. While most coffee consumed is hot by nature, about 25% of the typical specialty coffee café menu is comprised of cold coffee beverages1. And cold brewed coffee has been on the rise in recent years as one of the hottest trends in coffee.
What is cold brew and why is it so popular?
To better understand what cold brewed coffee is, I think it’s worth noting how hot coffee is brewed. Your typical cup of Joe (or as my son says, Jones) is prepared by pouring hot water (200+ degrees) over ground coffee, extracting dissolvable solids (the brown stuff = flavor) into water. Obviously, there is much more to the physics and chemistry of making great coffee. Watch out for coffee classes at Reverie where you can dig a lot deeper.
Cold brewed coffee isn’t a new idea. I found references as far back as the 1600s, where Japanese Kyoto-style coffee was brewed in tall, elaborate towers as it is today. Sales of cold brewed coffee soared 580% between 2011 and 20162, making it one of the most popular trends in our industry.
Until this year, the official product category for cold brewed coffee didn’t exist. The National Coffee Association created guidelines3 for what cold brewed coffee is and how it’s prepared. To make cold brewed coffee, you trade hot for ambient temperature water. And you saturate the ground coffee in the water for 12 to 24 hours instead of just a few minutes. Cold brewing creates a concentrated coffee product full of flavor, but lacking in the aroma you get in a hot cup of coffee. By diluting the concentrated coffee, you create a versatile beverage, most popularly served over ice as an iced coffee.
I’m a hot-coffee-all-morning kind of guy, but I can’t resist a cold brewed coffee over ice after lunch. My favorite is our Reverie Penny Cold Brewed Coffee, which is made from Boneshaker Espresso, our flagship espresso roast. It retains the essence of our delicious espresso (think chocolate and caramel), only in a lighter package. It’s tea-like and refreshing and too easy to enjoy.
Cold Brew in Wichita
Around Wichita, you can find all kinds of cold brewed coffees by our specialty coffee shops. You can sweeten it up with flavor additions such as vanilla, hazelnut or maple spice, or lighten it up by adding milk or half and half. Espresso to Go Go, which has two cafes in Downtown Wichita, uses a Tanzania Peaberry coffee roasted by The Spice Merchant. ETGG uses cold brew to make a hot coffee by adding hot water to the concentrate.
So there’s the scoop on cold brewed coffee. Go get some. Buy a bottle. Even though it may be trending, cold brewed coffee seems to be sticking around as a menu leader.