As one of the fastest-growing beverage trends, cold brew coffee is seeing a considerable rise in popularity and is appearing more frequently in the mainstream market. Four in five consumers know what cold brew is, but only a third have tried it before (Mintel). According to Datassential, cold brew has had an impressive growth of 883% on quick-serve menus alone over the past four years, and by 2020, they estimate that 11.7% of all U.S. restaurants will list cold brew on the menu. With widespread accessibility and increasing expectations, cold brew provides valuable opportunities to enhance or help build a profitable beverage program and serve innovative cold brew creations.
Cold Brew Basics
Cold brew differs significantly from iced coffee; iced coffee is brewed hot and then chilled while cold brew requires a heatless brewing process that involves steeping the grounds in cold water for 12 to 14 hours. Steeping time will affect the strength of the cold brew; the longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor. Beyond traditional cold brew, operators are serving nitro cold brew, a specialty version made by pumping the coffee through a device that infuses it with nitrogen bubbles, resulting in an even creamier, foamy brew while delivering a craft-like experience. Time and dedication are key ingredients needed to extract quality flavors for making cold brew. This may seem like an operational drawback; however, numerous benefits make serving this increasingly popular brew well worth the effort.
Brewing Up Benefits
The soaring popularity of cold brew alone should spark motivation to add it to your restaurant’s beverage lineup. Several well-known chains such as Starbucks™, Peet’s Coffee™, Chick-fil-A®, and Dunkin’® are all raising the bar with uniquely distinct signature cold brew blends. It also has advantages from an operational standpoint. Cold brew is incredibly cost-effective, as it stays fresh for up to two weeks, allowing restaurants to brew in large quantities and refrigerate without concern of changes in flavor while storing.
Cold brew is becoming a top drink choice for its flavor profile that has a silkier mouthfeel, sweeter tastes, and less bitterness than traditional coffee. It’s perfect for merchandising as a healthier alternative; its mellow qualities allow more consumers to enjoy it black with no added sweeteners and fewer calories per cup. Cold brew also introduces functional attributes to the coffee category. According to the National Heartburn Alliance, roughly 75% of sufferers have linked traditional coffee to their discomfort and tend to gravitate towards cold brew varieties that have less acidity. With a less pungent profile than regular coffee, cold brew also has the potential to appeal to non-coffee drinkers and broaden your customer base.
Heat up Sales with Cold Brew
Cold brew has an artisan perception that adds a premium touch to specialty beverages and other menu items. Iced coffee drinks made with cold brew are seeing a rise in popularity, and 43% of iced coffee drinkers have stated a new preference for cold brew (Nielsen). Smoothies containing bananas, peanut butter, oat milk, and flaxseeds or a classic coffee milkshake are additional platforms for showcasing cold brew. Cold brew cocktails have a high-perceived value and have become the talk of the drink menu. Utilize cold brew in adult beverages like a white Russian, espresso martini, or a cold brew hot toddy. Take cold brew from the cup to the plate by incorporating it into desserts such as brownies, creamy cheesecakes, in dessert sauces, or affogato (Italian-based coffee dessert). Another engaging offering that presents this modern coffee trend with a nostalgic presentation is a frozen treat like cold brew shaved ice.
Maines ServiSolutions Can Help!
Deciding to incorporate cold brew into your beverage program is a step in the right direction to generate buzz around your beverages and boost profitability. Maines ServiSolutions and the Ellis® Cold Brew Coffee Program make it easy for your operation to brew, serve, and promote cold brew offerings. From one-on-one consultations to the filters, dispensers, and support for both traditional and nitro varieties, Maines can help you launch a thriving cold brew program that will excite customers and position your operation at the forefront of beverage trends.
Whether you’re looking to serve cold brew, Maines exclusive Highland Roast and Mezzaroma coffee blends, hot chocolate, or tea, Maines’ team of experts is ready to fit your operation with a customized beverage program consisting of state-of-the-art equipment, cost-effective solutions, and merchandising support and advice. The Maines team can help you discover how to market for success and, together, define the best way to integrate beverage sales into your business model.