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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

Cold-Brewed Coffee: It’s Hip, Cool and Very Profitable

Instead of asking what’s hot in the coffee world, it’s more appropriate to ask what’s cool!  Coffee connoisseurs throughout the world are raising their mugs filled with cold-brew coffee.

There are so many options in the coffee world these days.  Just about every respectable restaurant serves a variation of espresso and cappuccino.  French roast is now the expected premium roast along with a multitude of strengths and style from a growing number of countries.

You could go crazy trying to satisfy everyone’s taste, but with cold-brew you are tapping into a potential gold mine of both flavor and profit.

Like its name, cold-brew is brewed cold as compared to iced coffee, which is hot coffee served over ice. The coffee grounds steep in water for about 24 hours producing a very concentrated liquid. Baristas then dilute the coffee with up to 50 percent water, and serve it cool.

Consumers are loving cold-brew coffee for a number of reasons:cold brew

  • Because the coffee is not subjected to the intense heat of boiling water, the bitterness isn’t extracted and the final brew contains lower acidity. The result is a smoother cup of coffee that is actually sweeter than brewed coffee.
  • Because it is not hot coffee poured over ice, cold-brewed coffee is never diluted or watery. Cold-brew allows you to choose your desired dilution. Since it’s already cold or at room temperature, the addition of ice or added water is entirely optional.
  • While caffeine is more soluble and extracts more easily at higher temperatures, cold-brew’s high bean-to-water ratio and longer brew time give it more buzz. Add milk or cream to temper intensity, and if you like, your favorite sweetener packet; pink, yellow, blue or green.

Remember, the last thing people taste at your restaurant is coffee; so it had better be good.  And coffee drinkers are notorious tasters who like to try new types of caffeine drinks.

Like many trendy items, you can get more for a cup or glass of cold-brewed coffee than basic iced coffee.  Starbucks®, for instance, charges $3.25 for a “grande” cold-brew vs. $2.65 for an iced coffee.

That makes a cup of cold-brewed coffee a potentially big profit item … and that is the hippest thing you can have on the menu.

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