As sweltering temperatures continue to bake most of the nation this summer, it seems more and more of us are trying to chill down with a brisk glass of iced coffee.
The cold caffeinated beverage is selling like hot cakes. But it’s not just been during this heat spell. This is a trend that’s been brewing for a while, and one of the reasons is the quality of the drink has improved significantly over the last few years with the introduction of new cold brewing methods and cold brew coffee blends.
In 2010, restaurants served about 500 million orders of iced, frozen, or “slushie” coffee drinks, according to market research firm NPD. That’s up about 25 percent over what was poured in 2006—pretty impressive during an economic downturn when purchases of discretionary items like these usually taper off.
Home consumption of cold coffee has heated up, too, with new single-cup brewing systems from companies like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and special cold brew coffee varieties such as the new Iced Coffee ready-brew sold under the Starbucks Via brand leading the charge. These new coffee formulations aim to resolve the mixed results coffee lovers experienced in the past from making ice coffee with cold or stale leftover coffee or from pouring fresh hot coffee over ice and getting a weak-flavored, over-watery drink.
With Starbucks Via iced coffee, launched last week, consumers are instructed to pour the packet into a 16-ounce bottle of cold water for a quick and convenient drink.
There’s even a bottled cold brew out now, made by Stumptown Coffee Roasters, called Stubbies due to the squat bottles it comes in. Stubbies can be found in Stumptown coffee shops in Portland, Ore., and in New York.
Broiling hot summer, ice cold coffee…sounds like the perfect storm is brewing, and everyone is buying.
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