Cold Coffee is Getting Hot


  For the Dutch traders sailing to Japan in the early 1600s their first sip of cold coffee must have been eye-opening ­– literally and figuratively. Up until that point, coffee was considered a hot drink in most of the world. In Japan, the Dutch had discovered a way of brewing coffee with cold water that produced a more flavorful, less bitter beverage packing a substantial caffeinated punch. It also made it easier to carry aboard their ships where an open flame required for cooking was strictly forbidden.

Fast forward a few hundred years. Cold coffee, also known as cold brew is no longer the purview of European trading merchants sailing the high seas. It’s a big business ­­– and getting bigger.

While history shows cold coffee has been around since the Dutch first started trading in Japan, it wasn’t until the 1990s that cold coffee gained a foothold in the U.S. market. It found favor mostly in the south, thanks in part to New Orleans-style iced coffee, but it spread rapidly from there. Today, we find ourselves amid a full-on cold coffee revolution. The drink has quickly become a best seller for local specialty coffee shops and the largest international food and beverage brands alike. It no longer occupies a niche corner in the world of coffee, with a recent market research report, the global cold-brew coffee market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.0% from 2021 to 2028. This indicates a significant opportunity for those looking to enter the cold coffee market, as the demand for ready-to-drink cold coffee continues to rise worldwide.

“It is most certainly not a fad,” said Fred Nixon, Northeast Sales Manager for Deutsche Beverage Technology, the custom-designed equipment supplier and manufacturer of coffee brewing equipment. “It is one of our fastest-growing business lines.”



To be clear, we’re not talking about iced coffee here. Iced coffee is simply traditionally brewed coffee that’s allowed to cool and then poured over ice. Cold-brewed coffee, on the other hand, is made from cool or ambient water using a slow steeping process that typically takes anywhere from 8 to 20 hours to complete. But cold coffee is more than just low-and-slow coffee. The longer brewing process brings out a deeper, more complex flavor profile that comes without the acidic glow of hot coffee.

While the coffee industry’s all-out embrace of cold coffee is still unfolding, its modern-day roots were firmly established in 2015 when Starbucks introduced its version of the drink in select stores in a handful of regions. It wasn’t long before cold brew found its way to every Starbucks location. Other brands followed suit. Today, as the New York Times wrote “you can find cold brew at a coffee shop where everything is meticulously crafted by hand and at a Dunkin’ Donuts.”


For those who’ve yet to get in on the cold coffee movement, this is where Deutsche Beverage Technology comes in. While some small artisanal coffee shops will craft small batches of cold coffee in the traditional Kyoto style (the way the Dutch sailors of the 17th century did), most cold coffee producers are on the hunt for a more efficient, and easily scalable, system. It’s one thing to create demand for a product that takes a bit of time to produce, it’s another to keep up with that demand in a consistent manner.

“If somebody wants to get in on the still-growing cold coffee market, we have the equipment and expertise to help people do that,” said Nixon. “It can be a smaller mom-and-pop shop that wants to start with a 150-gallon system to bigger operations that want to brew 500 – 3000 of gallons at a time and put in a canning line for their cold coffee.”

Nixon said Deutsche has commissioned cold coffee system installations from Hawaii to Dubai, and the market continues on an upward trajectory.

“We’re seeing cold coffee being sold on airplanes, on college campuses, and in office buildings,” Nixon said. “And more and more, it seems people want it to be craft and artisan. The cold coffee boom is continuing.”

If you’re interested in learning more about cold coffee and the equipment needed to produce it, the SCA Coffee Show is an excellent destination. Deutsche Beverage and Process will be presenting its products and services, offering invaluable insights into the rapidly growing world of cold coffee.

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