What Is This Cold-brew Coffee Everyone is Drinking?

What Is This Cold-brew Coffee Everyone is Drinking?


Cold-brew coffee is sweeping the nation and for good reason. Cold-brew coffee leaves the heat out of the equation, using cold water and time to bring out the best taste of the coffee bean. The process of making cold-brew coffee and the science behind it is simple, effective, and by all accounts, delicious.

Coffee has been around for thousands of years. Way back in early civilization coffee beans were eaten as a berry. In the early 1700s, Europeans created one of the first coffee filter systems called a ‘biggens’. The coffee was drunk with the grounds still in the liquid. In 1908, Melitta Bentz, a housewife from Germany, came up with the idea of using a paper filter for drip-style coffee.

Where It All Started

Before the best coffee subscription boxes had a variety of cold/regular brews brought to your door on a monthly basis with all the comforts of Amazon Prime – a chemical engineer from Cornell made an important discovery about coffee. Using high temperatures during the brewing process actually caused the coffee bean to release flavors which weren’t as tasty as they should be. This engineer, Todd Simpson, developed the Toddy cold-brew system following his discovery in 1964. It was during a trip to Guatemala where he was served room temperature concentrate alongside a pot of boiling water. He soon went on to develop his own brewing system, the Toddy brewing system, still being sold today.

When a coffee bean is roasted and brewed, several compounds are released including fatty acids and oils. These compounds are soluble at high temperatures. Using the cold-brew process eliminates the need for these high temperatures during brewing so only the best tasting compounds are extracted.

The bitter oils and acids remain in the bean. These compounds are what can be detected floating on top of a cup of hot brewed coffee. It is these oils and acids which produce the strong bite black coffee has and why many coffee drinkers require coffee creamer to be added to their drink.

When cold-brewing coffee, the resulting cup of joe offers a nicely balanced and very smooth taste. Cold-brew coffee can be served hot (heat only after brewing) or poured over ice for a refreshing drink. Cold-brew coffee is not iced coffee, as many people believe, but rather uses a no-heat brewing process.

How to Make Cold-brew Coffee

The process of cold-brewing coffee is rather simple. Coffee beans should be freshly ground. Using a pound of medium to coarse coffee grounds, you only need to add nine cups of room temperature water to the grounds and let them set for at least 12 hours. The optimum steep time is 24 hours, which will produce a very strongly flavored and caffeinated concentrate. Once the brew process is complete, the grounds need to be filtered out. Use a simple coffee filter and a sieve to remove grounds before drinking. Make sure to use high quality beans and grind them on a medium to coarse setting. If the beans are too finely ground, they can produce bitter coffee due to over extraction.

Most cold-brew coffees are more concentrated than the traditional hot-brew methods. They may also container higher amounts of caffeine – up to double the amount of a regular cup. Diluting the coffee concentrate is recommended, using additional water, milk, or creamer.

Because of the simplistic way cold-brew coffee is made, many forward-thinking entrepreneurs are starting their own cold-brew coffee business. They brew at home and bottle the coffee drink to sell in local or regional markets. Some are even pursuing a larger national market with distribution channels.

Benefits of Cold-Brew Coffee

The cold-brew coffee trend is likely here to stay and for good reason. Cold-brew coffee has many benefits for amateur and die-hard coffee drinkers alike including:

  • Lower Acid Content – In today’s society, there is a large number of people suffering from digestive issues including heartburn and reflux. Normally, coffee beverages are too acidic for those suffering from such ailments to drink. Cold-brew coffee offers an effective solution. The cold-brew process creates a much smoother coffee drink without the excess oils and acids, which can trigger health problems. In fact, Todd Simpson’s initial ideas about cold-brew coffee were due to his own mother’s inability to drink coffee.
  • Zero Technology – Another benefit of making cold-brew coffee is its simplicity. It’s a very low-tech coffee with no electricity required. All that is needed is a plastic jug, a coffee filter, and a sieve. Cold-brew coffee can be made anywhere without a lot of hassle. There are machines on the market which make straining the grounds and storing the brew convenient but they are not necessary for a good cup of cold-brew.
  • Concentrated Effort – When cold-brew coffee is made, it will be in a concentrated form. This can extend your coffee stock considerably. The concentrated mixture can stretch your finances too. Experts recommend adding three parts additional water to one part of the concentrate, so you’ll have a lot of concentrate to use for your continuous drinking pleasure. The concentrate typically remains fresh for up to a week when refrigerated.
  • Better Tasting – With less acid in the cup, cold-brew coffee is said to taste much better as the tongue can recognize more flavors of the bean. Coffee produces undertones of nuts, fruits, and even chocolate, which can be more prominent in cold-brew cups.
  • No Chemical Change – Since the coffee brew has never been heated, the chemical composition of the drink hasn’t been changed. Whenever you drink the coffee, the taste will remain the same. Flavor stays locked in so there will not be a day-old coffee taste in your brew.
  • Money-Saving Options – Making a batch of cold-brew coffee in the evening will ensure you have a fresh, delicious cup of cold or iced coffee ready to go in the morning. You can keep more money in your pocket and save time by skipping the lines at the expensive coffee convenience shops.
  • Versatile Beverage – There are a lot of recipes which can tolerate cold-brew coffee where traditional coffee won’t work. Due to the high acid content in regular coffee, it is ignored in many recipes. Cold-brew coffee is often used in baking or as a marinade in meals needing a touch of coffee flavor.

Coffee in general has been shown to offer health benefits, including better liver function and lower incidence of Type 2 diabetes. New studies are even suggesting drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Coffee contains antioxidants, which are necessary for promoting good health.

Making a Cold-Brew Business

There is an increase in the cold-brew coffee companies sprouting up around the country. As cold-brew coffee is simple to make, many are bottling their own brews and attempting to break in to the ultra-competitive beverage market. Independent brewers are serving coffee in unique glass bottles, boxes, and cans, each trying to attract the interest of consumers.

For those with a passion for coffee, starting a cold-brew coffee business may be a worthwhile venture. Whether you sell strictly cold-brew coffee beverages through retail outlets or start a coffee shop of your own, the cold-brew coffee business is here to stay and poised to make entrepreneurs a tidy profit.

Check with your local and state offices concerning the regulations for producing and bottling cold-brew coffee from home before starting to sell your product. Choose distinct glass or plastic bottle designs, which will showcase your product well. As consumers have a lot of choices to make in the cold-brew coffee aisle, having a distinctive look to your coffee container will help pique the interest of shoppers. Your logo, labeling, and overall packaging design can have a big impact on your ability to get your beverage noticed.

BottleStore.com specializes in a wide variety of bottles in plastic and glass, perfect for housing your cold-brew coffee product. From Boston Round in single serve sizes to bulk glass jars for brewing, there are many options to make your coffee product stand out from the rest.


Jonathan @ BottleStore
Jonathan @ BottleStore
Jonathan is the Online Marketing Manger of BottleStore and it's parent - The O.Berk Company. In addition to making BottleStore work and run smoothly, Jonathan also enjoys passing on packaging knowledge to help solve customer pain points. He is the chief architect of Packaging Crash Course - a packaging resource hub for rigid glass and plastic packaging site.


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