6) Encourage Cold Brewing at Home

For the people who do not want to haul a growler back and forth but still want cold brew at home, encourage them to try cold brewing at home.  Put a bag of specially roasted cold brew blend (Step 1) or be ready to recommend the single origins you featured in Step 2.

Every shop already sells bags of their roasted coffee to customers who want to brew their favorite hot coffee at home.  Many specialty shops even offer pour-over devices, extra filters, grinders, scales, kettles, etc. to help their customers get the most out of the roasted coffee.  Finally, any shop that sells coffee and the equipment to make it should be training their baristas to be able to know and communicate the nuances of each piece of equipment.  

The right scale, grinder, kettle, brewer, filter and timer can end up being a significant investment for the customer, in the range of hundreds of dollars.  This doesn’t even begin to address the intimidating nature of the hand brewing process and the huge learning curve required to get it right.  It’s no wonder that home brewing items do not move very fast at a coffee shop.

Now consider the simplicity of instructing a customer through the process of cold brewing: 

Take a bag of coffee off the shelf and a box of Alto Personal Filters or a Alto Home Kit and ask them if they’ve ever brewed tea with a tea bag?  The methods are so similar: full immersion, over a period of time, and a certain temperature.  When the brewing is complete, they simply remove and toss the entire filter making cleanup a matter of seconds.  

There are many other home brewers on the market but many of them have the same limitations as their commercial counterparts: papery taste, torn filters, unabsorbed bitter oils, difficult to clean, etc.  It would be up to each individual shop which cold brew system they would want to promote and recommend to give their customers the best possible specialty cold brewing experience at home.

Regardless of the home cold brew equipment selected, it is a great entry point for introducing specialty coffee at home when compared to the cost, complexity and inconsistency of hot brewing. One way to help aspiring home baristas make the best possible cold brew possible is to grind their beans coarse for your customers who may not have access to the proper grinder at home.  There is a good amount of debate on the act of pre-grinding coffee for a customer and some shops refuse to do it at all. Any customer who has a small capacity blade grinder will drive themselves crazy grinding in multiple batches and tasting the over/under extracted cold brew resulting from inconsistent grind size.

People shy away from things that they cannot afford, do not understand and cannot master; so anything that makes specialty coffee more approachable to your customers is a step in the right direction.  As mentioned in the introduction, cold brew is many people’s entry-point into specialty coffee (especially black coffee) and expanding that entry-point to more people only serves to grow the demand for specialty coffee overall.

Customers buying bags of cold specific coffee beans and specialty cold brewing equipment will also increase the average ticket price.  Once people see how easy it is to brew at home, it should not surprise a shop if certain customers begin to add a bag or two of cold brew beans to their normal order on a weekly basis.  Giving people more ways to enjoy your coffee benefits everyone.