It's Getting Colder


The leaves are turning crisp, the days are feeling shorter, and your coffee is down right cold. In recent years, coffee trends have shown an increase in year-round iced coffee demand. Dunkin' Donuts conducted their own survey of 500 coffee drinkers in 2011 where they reported nearly 80% of their customers were drinking more iced coffee than the previous year. Today you can read feature articles on the advent of what is becoming known as "cold-brew" coffee. Cold-brew differs from iced in that coffee grounds are steeped in room temperature or cold water for several hours. Iced coffee is brewed hot, then quickly cooled.

Alexis Madrigal, deputy editor of The Atlantic recently covered specialty coffee roaster, Blue Bottle, and their path to scale through the ready-to-drink iced coffee phenomenon in "The Future of Iced Coffee". Madrigal notes the parallel to Starbucks' success in bringing lattes mainstream and Blue Bottle's iced coffee.

"The Starbucks latte, as it developed, became to its espresso+milk European ancestors what Panda Express is to high Sichuan cuisine: deracinated, but irresistible." - Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic

Madrigal may be right in that Blue Bottle and their New Orleans Iced Coffee has been the "standard-bearer of the post-latte coffee revival". You can find their drinks in most Whole Food Markets today. Even lifestyle mogul, Martha Stewart has aligned her brand with Ulivjava, another ready-to-drink iced coffee drink.

Expect the market to grow and the variety of ice coffee blends to increase. According to the market research firm, Mintel, ice coffee introductions in the U.S. grew 78% between 2012 and 2013. Luckily, when it comes time to bundle up in a wintry blizzard, you can remind yourself of hot summer days by sipping a cool java blend through a straw.

Photo (cc) by Blue Bottle and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.