Cold Brew Coffee Waking Up Summer Menus

The cold brew coffee trend is gaining serious momentum.

Market research company Technavio recently released a report predicting the cold brew trend’s trajectory — 57% by 2025 — after 26% YoY growth in 2021. The research analyzed more than 10 retail companies leading the market and cited millennial interest in the category, along with mergers and acquisitions expanding companies’ portfolios.

Cold brew is made from steeping coffee grounds in cold water for 12-24 hours, extracting flavor slower than brewing with heat and minimizing acidity and bitterness. The method uses less water (5:1 ratio) than iced coffee (8:1) or pour over (16:1), according to Peet’s Coffee, and the higher concentration of coffee can make the drink feel heavier.

It can also stand up to flavors better than a light brew, as Serious Eats points out, and perfecting flavor with the technique takes experimentation. The last decade has yielded nitro brew, a nitrogen infusion emulating kegged beer often served on tap, and ever-evolving flavors like Starbucks’ new Chocolate Cream Cold Brew.

Over the past decade, the increasing number of new and innovative product launches has invigorated the cold brew coffee market.

Starbucks also offers Caramel Dolce and Coconut Chocolate cans, Stumptown serves Chocolate and Horchata, and Peet’s Coffee offers a Brown Sugar Cold Brew Oat Latte. Bob Evans even released a Sweet Cream Cold Brew Coffee in February, Chew Boom reported.

“Cold brew has been embraced by people in all age groups and even non-coffee drinkers,” Mike McKim tells The Food Institute. The founder of Cuvee Coffee in Austin, Texas, pioneered nitro cold brew, and is now offering Nitro Hemp Oil Coffee and more variations. “For us, adding flavors was based on the number of requests we’ve had for vanilla and chocolate and/or a sweet option. It’s given me the opportunity to play around with a lot of flavor combinations and right now, banana cold brew is at the top of my list of personal favorites.”


Retail and wholesaler Rise Brewing Co. cans nitro cold brews with four flavors — Original Black and Oat Milk Latte, Mocha and Vanilla — distributed at major retailers across the country. High Brew cans Dark Chocolate Mocha, Double Espresso and Mexican Vanilla cold brew, alongside Bourbon Vanilla and Toasted Coconut nitro lattes. Lucky Jack jars cold brew concentrates with black, caramel, mocha and vanilla flavors available in addition to its range of canned nitro cold brews.

Delta announced this week it will serve Explorer Cold Brew Company’s ethically sourced Ethiopian coffee that’s fair-trade and supports Charity: Water. The 2 ounces of cold brew concentrate are to be combined with 6 ounces of water in-flight.

Specialty and third wave coffee brands from Illy and Lavazza to Joe Coffee Company and La Colombe are canning cold brew; Blue Bottle and Gregory’s offer cold brew kits (the former with a virtual class, the latter also selling boxed cold brew); and Bluestone Lane makes a cold brew float with vanilla ice cream.

In New York City, Irving Farm’s cold brew flavor of the moment is cherry; in St. Paul, Minnesota, Bootstrap Coffee features cinnamon roll; and in Portland, Oregon, Good Coffee makes a tamarind date soda with cold brew and sparkling water.

New Orleans and Vietnamese coffees are among the trends: Playa Bowls uses New Orleans-style chicory coffee concentrate for Playola and Coconut cold brews, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf incorporates sweetened condensed milk in its Vietnamese cold brew coffee.

Of relevance as coffee prices soar (Bloomberg, Feb, 9), refrigerated cold brew retains fresh flavor for up to two weeks, Blue Bottle Coffee told Martha Stewart.

And finally, a first LTO of the season: Hawaii-born Bad Ass Coffee is serving Beach Bonfire Cold Lava Cold Brew at its 30 U.S. locations through August, QSR (June 15) reported. The LTO comprises Hawaiian Blend cold brew, macadamia nut syrup, and toasted marshmallow foam from milk and syrup manifesting as Cold Lava.