Cold Brew Coffee: At the Coffee Shop, at Home and on the Go

February 2018

Cold brew coffee is one of the most talked about aspects of the coffee world today. From its origins in coffee shops it has now jumped over to other areas, and is increasingly important in RTD and at-home brewing. Despite the buzz, the category remains immature, especially outside North America, and still has a great deal of room to grow if it is to transition successfully into a permanent part of the coffee-drinking landscape.

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Cold brew coffee

A method of coffee brewing that involves steeping coffee grounds in water without using heat, is rising in popularity. While its traces its origins to Japan, its current revival is centred on North America. From there, it is spreading around the world, although it is only mainstream in a handful of countries in Asia and North America.

Foodservice is where most consumers first encounter cold brew

This channel drives trends in the category, which later spill over into RTD and at home brewing. The adoption of cold brew by mass chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks has been particularly important in taking the category mainstream. If cold brew is to catch on in other regions, like Western Europe or Latin America, it will have to be coffee shops that shoulder most of the burden of educating consumers as to what cold brew is.

Cold brew is reaching an inflection point in better established markets

With mass brands entering the category and the novelty wearing off, cold brew will need to adapt to stay relevant. Some of the ways this could happen include new techniques, like nitro or targeting of energy drinks to win over consumers looking for functional energy benefits.

Key findings
What is cold brewed coffee?
North America is the category’s core, but it is slowly defusing
Cold brew development around the world
Considering the occasions for cold brew
Cold brew in coffee shops : raising the profile
Cold brew is a small, but growing segment of US RTD coffee
RTD and the coming battle with energy drinks
The at-home cold brew segment is the least understood
Europe remains well behind the US in cold brew development
Small but on the rise in Australia
Potential threats to the further expansion of cold brew
Potential future directions for the category


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