2) Cold Brew Variety

The first step to elevating the craft of cold brew in any coffee shop, is serving cold brew as discussed in Step 1: Serve Cold Brew.  Once a space has been carved out on the menu for a single cold brew offering, coffee shops should consider offering more variety.  Many shops offer several filter coffee options that vary based on country of origin, roast level or even extraction method (batch vs. pour over).  The reason they do this is to more accurately be able to pair the flavor profiles with the tastes of their prospective customers. This makes it more likely that a customer can walk in a get the exact cup of coffee they are looking for.

Why not offer this same level of choice for cold brew?

Because cold brew is so easy to make and store, there is no reason to not offer a few variations of cold brew.  Different roast profiles may suit different perspective customers who typically prefer to order based on the light/medium/dark designations. Perhaps an even more interesting route would be to offer cold brew from a variety of regions either as single origins or as different blends:

  1. Specific Cold Brew Blend/s
  2. Specific Cold Brew Roast Profiles
  3. Specific Cold Brew SO/s

Offering more variety boosts the level of options available to any given cold brew drinker, and opens up the possibility for further menu expansion through the use of flights.

Use Flights to Showcase this Variety

Flights are most commonly found in wine and beer-tasting rooms as a way to sample a variety of options and more easily compare one to another for selection of a drink for that day or even a drink to take home.  In a coffee shop, flights are rarely offered between hot coffee options because of difficulty in preparing smaller amounts, but cold brew is perfect for this approach.

Flights that highlight differences between your cold brew offerings

In addition to creating flights around a variety of cold brewing options, another intriguing idea is to offer flights that compare the various preparation methods to each other using the same original coffee beans.

Flights that highlight a single coffee prepared multiple ways: filter, espresso, cb

This idea could go a long way towards educating customers on the wide variety of possibilities available to coffee drinkers and open up an espresso drinker to filter coffee or a filter coffee drinker to cold brew.  

One obstacle to testing so many variations of cold brew is the typical batch sizes (3-7 gallons). If this is a concern for your shop, consider Alto Personal Filters for testing with smaller batches.  Smaller batches let shops brew and tweak different recipes and test on a smaller scale similar to sample roasters standing in for commercial roasters for smaller batches.

Any (or all) of these offerings will distinguish your shop as an authority in not only cold brew but also coffee in general. Ordering blind off of the menu can be intimidating at times because people don’t always know what they want if they’ve never tried any of options.  Offering more variety and allowing customers to taste samples of the various options can go a long way towards making cold brew (and specialty coffee in general) more approachable. 

These offerings also command a higher price for the higher value/price. In the same way that offering a variety of single origin filter coffee commands a higher price point, there is a higher perceived value to multiple specialty cold brew options. The idea is to help people explore coffee and find new things that excite them about coffee and a particular coffee shop.  Offering more variety is a great next step towards elevating the craft of cold brew in any coffee shop.