CHICAGO – While coffee shops had previously been viewed as a “third place” to hang out and meet friends over a cup of hot java, shops are evolving to offer more cold beverages along with drive-through and mobile ordering options.
The coronavirus pandemic, after all, changed consumer consumption habits.
Baristas, coffee producers, and coffee shop owners gathered at the Coffee Fest Chicago event June 24-25 to check out the latest in coffee and related products, as well as learn how to increase sales.
Offering more cold drinks is a major revenue-enhancing opportunity for coffee shops and cafes, as demand for cold coffee continues to grow.
Among all U.S. adults, 16% had consumed a cold coffee in the past day, up 23% since January 2021 and up 60% since January 2014, according to the National Coffee Data Trends Fall 2021 National Coffee Trends report. Among coffee drinkers, 24% of past-day coffee drinkers consumed a cold coffee, up 50% since January 2021.
At Starbucks North America, 3 out of 4 (74%) beverages ordered was a cold beverage in Q3 2021, 13 percentage points higher than in the previous quarter. At the Chicago event, exhibitors offered a wide array of products and equipment for cold drinks including for cold brew coffee, and teas.
Cold brew coffee, made through a process in which ground coffee is submerged in cold or room temperature water for several hours, has moved from being found only in specialty coffee shops to a mainstream product available at Dunkin’ and as a RTD (ready-to-drink) beverage at grocery and convenience stores.
At the Chicago show, Toddy, LLC demonstrated its Toddy Cold Brew System that baristas have been using for more than 50 years. Micro Matic sampled nitro cold brew coffee on tap using its nitro cold brew coffee dispensing equipment that infuses nitrogen into cold brew coffee to produce creamy foam. Milwaukee-based coffee roaster Colectivo brought its Cold Brew draft trailer to serve cold brew coffee on tap and showcase its Session Cold Brew Cans that have been brewed in-house for over 18 hours.
Exhibitors also used cold brew coffee as a base for indulgent cold beverages. R. Torre & Company, for instance, created a Torani Salted Egg Custard Cold Brew using its new Torani Puremade Salted Egg Yolk Syrup, cold brew, and Torani Puremade French Vanilla Syrup. Monin Gourmet Flavorings, meanwhile, sampled S’more Iced Coffee made with its Monin Toasted Marshmallow Syrup, Monin Dark Chocolate Sauce, Monin Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, and milk.
Cold tea served in coffee shops and cafes is evolving beyond traditional iced teas brewed with black tea, as consumers look for healthy beverages that excite the palate.
Maya Tea Company, which began as a chai tea company, showcased its Nomad Botanical Sodas and Maya Tea Shots in Chicago, as tea concentrates to be pumped into soda water or cold water to create tea sodas and flavored iced teas, respectively.
Manish Shah, owner of Maya Tea said: “Today’s consumers are asking for healthy, delicious and fast. That’s a lot of pressure on cafes and restaurants to achieve all three. By making Nomad Botanical Sodas and Maya Tea Shots, we are able to create beverages that have excellent taste, the health benefits of tea and speed of service.”
For health seekers on-the-go, Rise Brewing Co expanded beyond its line of RTD canned Nitro Cold Brew Coffees to introduce London Fog Nitro Oat Milk Earl Grey Tea as a creamy, dairy-free oat milk latte with black tea and no added sugar.
Meanwhile, to capitalize on the growing demand for bubble tea in the U.S., Milkadamia showed a prototype of its macadamia nut milk-based Milk Tea as a clean label milk tea.
“There aren’t a lot of vegan options for bubble tea,” noted Brett Sardo, EVP, International & Foodservice at Milkadamia. “Because we have such a neutral flavor with macadamia nuts, we can create a bubble tea that amplifies the tea flavor.”
Virginia Lee is a food, drinks & beauty trends explorer and market researcher. She has advised companies on innovation and market entry opportunities in consumer packaged goods at Euromonitor International, Brightfield Group, and Innova Market Insights. Connect with Virginia on Twitter and Instagram at @VirginiaALee.