What is Specialty Cold Brew?

April 02, 2018

What is Specialty Cold Brew?

We believe that specialty cold brew is the future:

Specialty Coffee + Cold Brew = Specialty Cold Brew

Brief Intro to Specialty Coffee

Specialty Coffee refers to the revolution over the past 10-15 years to elevate the craft of coffee.  The defining characteristics are innovation, focus on quality, community and a seed-to-cup mentality.

For decades, coffee remained relatively unchanged: sourced the same ways, roasted the same ways, and brewed the same ways—until a few farms, roasters and shops started to care.  They began to care about the higher quality, craftsmanship. innovation, community and the entire supply chain.
As the green coffee improved, the roasted coffee improved and the brewed coffee improved. This in turn led to higher prices in the café, higher prices to the roasters and ultimately higher prices to the farmers. Each group worked together to better understand each other’s needs and cooperate to command the higher prices associated with higher quality products. 

Originally this movement was not directed by any single person or organization, it was grown organically by a core group of people dedicated to elevating the craft of coffee.

Brief Intro to Cold Brew

Cold Brew refers to traditional methods of steeping coffee at room temperature for a long period of time.

There are many guides that go over the basics of cold brewing so we won’t get into it here, but the concept is very simple: brew coffee at lower temperatures for longer periods of time to bring out different qualities in the final cup.

Just like coffee before it, cold brew has remained unchanged for decades. The same old ingredients, brewed with the same old processes, using the same old equipment, and served in the same uninspiring way was commonplace up until the past few years. 

Introducing Specialty Cold Brew

Specialty Cold Brew occurs wherever the innovation, focus on quality, community and seed-to-cup mentality of specialty coffee is applied to elevate the craft of cold brew.

This is when we began to see the emergence of people trying out new roasts and blends of coffee to improve the core ingredients. They began experimenting with hot-blooming and other brewing processes to create more complex and complete extractions. People even began dreaming up new ways to serve cold brew by pressurizing it with nitrogen so it could be served on tap, tinkering with mocktails and offering bottles or growlers so people could enjoy cold brew at home.

This quiet revolution is starting in much the same way the specialty coffee movement got started: by people who care about quality, innovation, community and the entire process from seed-to-cup.

Shops that have shown a commitment to specialty cold brew have many things in common.  We have identified as many of the elements to elevate the craft of cold brew in your shop.