Cold-brew coffees couldn’t be, well, hotter. This June, McDonald’s launched a new line of cold brews, the Cold Brew Frozen Coffee and the Cold Brew Frappé. Forbes reports that sales of refrigerated cold-brew coffee in the United States have grown more than 450 percent from 2015-17, with Mintel anticipating that sales in 2018 will exceed $38 million.
GlobalData, a London-based data and analytics firm, sees the growth of cold brew closely tied to its multi-generational appeal – from Gen Z to Baby Boomer – mainly due to its perceived health benefits, as well as its vibrant and unique flavor profile.
With the brewing process being cold in nature, it delivers a smoother end product that doesn’t require embellishment. Research done by GlobalData in the fourth quarter of 2017 showed 21 percent of consumers are interested and already purchasing beverages with cold-brew claims while another 27 percent said they are interested, but hadn’t yet purchased.
You know a trend’s gone mainstream when it hits chain restaurants and the convenience store sector. At the same time McDonald’s was launching its cold-brew, 7-Eleven introduced its own line to appeal to younger audiences.
What’s Old Is New Again
It’s not like cold brew is new. It’s been around for decades. But a resurgence in authentic and hand-crafted foods and beverages is definitely bringing this to the forefront again. Not to mention the blast of flavor. Cold brew has certainly extended the seasonal appeal of coffee, as consumption of hot brews tends to decline in warmer weather. We see several trends converging to drive the popularity of this product. One of those being the opportunity for mash-ups with unexpected flavors.
Our friends at Cambria Style published a beautiful cold brew feature that takes a deep dive into cold brews in the Summer 2018 issue, available on news stands now. The piece takes a look at an unlikely mix of coffee and beer.
The following by Amanda Lecky, with photography by Steve Henke, is shared with permission by Cambria Style.
Smooth and sweet, with an extra kick of caffeine, there’s much to love about cold-brewed coffee. But the best thing about this summer drink may be how well it mixes with other flavors, from cream (of course) to flavored syrups and more grown-up mixers. Think beyond whiskey to more unexpected pairings. “The rich, concentrated flavor of cold brew is the perfect complement to black beers like porter and stout, which have similar toasted coffee notes,” says Michael Agnew, a certified cicerone (think sommelier for beer) and beer educator from A Perfect Pint. Just don’t call it a cocktail: This rich and surprising mix of iced coffee and creamy stout is a whole new breed of indulgence. You can buy cold brew by the growler at many coffee houses, but it’s a cinch – and far less expensive – to make at home.
Irish Iced Coffee
Mix 2 oz. cold-brew coffee, 2 oz. Guinness stout, 2 oz. Irish whiskey, and 3/4 oz. simple syrup in a highball glass. Add ice. Pour 1/2 oz. heavy cream over the top. Sprinkle with freshly grated cinnamon.
“Porter and stout are the beers that mix best with coffee,” says Michael Agnew. “In fact, coffee beers – porters and stouts that have coffee beans roasted along with the grains during brewing – are a big trend in the craft-brewing world right now.” Don’t call these well-known beers dark beers, says Agnew: they’re actually black beers. So how do you choose the right one for your concoction? “You can match the bitterness of coffee with a bitter beer (a dry Irish stout like Guinness, for example) because the two flavors will actually tone each other down. Or, balance bitter with sweet by choosing a sweeter beer like an Imperial or sweet stout. Either way, you can’t go wrong!” says Agnew.
Make Your Own
If you like your cup smooth and bright, not bitter and acidic, you’ve found your match in cold brew. Here’s how to make it: Grind 3/4 cup of coffee beans very coarsely and place in a pitcher, large mason jar, or French press. Pour 4 cups of cool water over the coffee and stir well. (You can adjust the ratio of coffee to water, and the amounts of both, to suit your taste and the size of your brewing container). Wait 12-24 hours to allow the water to fully extract flavor from the coffee beans. Strain twice using a fine-mesh sieve, coffee filter or cheesecloth (if using a French press, simply depress the plunger). You now have a cold-brew concentrate, which you can dilute with water or milk.
If it’s a convenient cup of cold brew you crave, check out our upcoming Food Channel Find: Java House’s Authentic Cold Brew Pods.