No 30

Taking Advantage of the Cold Brew Phenomenon with Café de Colombia

June, 2016

TRENDS

Taking Advantage of the Cold Brew Phenomenon with Café de Colombia

The diversity of Colombian coffee origins is an advantage in this new category of rapid growth, as experimenting with beans from our different coffee regions and their performance in cold brews represents an opportunity for a wide range of unique flavors.

Cold brew coffee seems to be the next big category in the coffee industry. In this year’s Reco Symposium, one of the most broadly discussed topics was “Cold Brew: Category or Craze”, with a group of speakers including Stumptown’s Cold Brew VP and other connoisseurs who talked about this new phenomenon, which became most relevant two years ago.

To have a clear idea of how the term “cold brew” has grown, here is a Google Trends graph for this expression in countries with high levels of involvement in the category:

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Source: Google Trends Search


What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee usually refers to coffee that has been brewed without use of heat, different from traditional iced coffee, made of coffee with twice the usual dosage, applying hot water and then cooling it to make beverages. This relatively new method takes from 12 to 24 hours and produces a coffee drink of lower acidity; this means that it does not need to be sweetened afterwards.

Its origins can be traced back to Japan (with the Kyoto brewing method, for example), where the method was developed some years ago; specialist coffee shops perfected the device that produces the cold brew coffee we know today.

Cold brew coffee was first offered as an in-store product, but now some producers have been able to scale production, packaging and selling it as a RTD beverage with added value; it’s usually perceived by coffee aficionados as an artisanal drink, somewhat similar to what craft beer is in its own category.

Third-wave coffee shops have changed the way hot coffee is consumed, but now are also becoming important players in the RTD coffee category, which was worth about $ 2.5 billion in 2015 in the USA alone, according to Euromonitor.

Well-known brands like Stumptown and Blue Bottle Coffee have taken their bet one step forward and driven cold brew innovations such as nitro cold brew, which is cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen, giving it a creamier stout-like flavor if compared with beer.

Additionally cold brew has more caffeine than regular coffee, which makes it a highly functional beverage to be focused as well. As Mathis Martines, senior category manager for innovation and snacks at Kroger, stated, “When you talk about something that is hitting on all trends - fresh, crafty, functional - cold brew is the one hitting on all of them.”

Who is drinking cold brew?
According to the last NCA Trend Report, 15% of coffee drinkers in the US said they tried cold brew coffee in 2015 and 10% said they have tried nitrogen-infused cold brew, Millenials being the age group driving this trend.

This means that younger age groups have embraced innovation quicker than other generations; this may be due to this generation’s high focus on products that offer an experience.

Cold brew coffee is gaining traction in the US market (where the most renowned third-wave coffee shops have been offering it regularly and even started retailing it as a RTD product), in Australia, where closeness to Asia (a pioneering region in cold brew) and a well established coffee culture have led the category to be organically accepted, the UK and some Asian countries, specially Japan and South Korea.

Nevertheless this type of preparation is gaining importance globally at a fast pace and becoming an obligatory product in third-wave coffee shops around the globe.

Origin can be a key advantage

As cold brew coffee grows, there is a need to differentiate it from regular iced coffee. Luckily this type of brew is unique as it highlights sweet notes and reduces acidity of coffee, which makes it not only an ideal drink to enjoy without additives, but also to take advantage of the notes that occur naturally in coffees of different origins.

The diversity of origins of Colombian coffee is an advantage in this new category of rapid growth, as experimenting with beans from our different coffee regions and their performance in cold brews represents an opportunity for a wide range of unique flavors.

Origin may also offer wide opportunities in this category as consumers of younger generations are concerned not only about functional characteristics. Let’s remind that according to the NCA 2016 Trend Report, 61% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a coffee brand if it is labeled as single origin.

 


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