While this may seem like an obvious first step, not every coffee shop is offering cold brewed coffee. This may be for a variety of reasons:
- It seems complicated? - This could not be further from the truth. Cold brewing coffee is simple and easy, it just requires a bit of planning to manage the steeping times.
- It doesn’t taste good? - I'm always surprised when I hear this one because cold brew is the most approachable form of black coffee out there. It has a natural sweetness to it with less bitterness and less acidity than any other form of coffee. I just tell people to keep an open mind and keep experimenting!
- It’s not specialty coffee? - Even thought it's not really defined by SCA, specialty coffee is generally understood to be coffee that has been handled with the highest standards from farm to cup. As long as the cold brewer is using the highest quality coffee and dialing in the grind, temperature, agitation and duration; it is specialty coffee!
For whatever the reason they aren't offering cold brew yet, coffee shops should seriously consider putting it on their menus. As I mentioned before, cold brew is the entry-point to specialty coffee for many people, including myself.
The idea of using cold brew as a way to introduce new people into specialty coffee is the real reason why every shop should be serving cold brew. It is the least intimidating thing on the menu, perfect for newcomers to specialty coffee.
Cold brew also improves workflow in your shop.. It is made by the batch at non-peak times, served in seconds and keeps fresh far longer than any other type of coffee.
One of the best aspects of starting to serve cold brew at a coffee shop is how easy it is to get started. There are may systems to choose from but the one we recommend is our Alto Starter Kit. The kit includes everything needed for 50 batches of cold brew (except the coffee + water). With a 7 gallon capacity, each batch yields over 100 - 8oz servings!
Whatever method you choose, start serving cold brew as soon as possible! Once you've got your feet wet in cold brew, keep reading for 7 more ways to 'elevate the craft of cold brew'.