Cold brew coffee, both freshly brewed in-store or as a ready-to-drink (RTD) from the cold vault, is one of the hottest items in the beverage category all over the country, not only for summer, but all year round. Its popularity continues to grow year after year.
But does it belong in every store? The answer is it all depends on several considerations.
The first consideration should be customer demographics. Younger consumers have been the quickest to adopt cold brew. They like it because it is smoother and lower in acid than regular coffee, and it provides a greater and all-natural caffeine kick, making it an effective pick-me-up for afternoons and evenings as well as mornings.
You can also gauge the demand of cold brew in your market area by checking out whether competitors are carrying these beverages. If so, note if they are offering them from the cold vault and/or the dispensed area.
You can test customer demand for cold brew by adding a few national brands in several flavors to the cold vault. Brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’ bring with them name recognition which may encourage trial.
Another way to test customer interest is to work with suppliers to run a limited-time promotion introducing cold brew into the beverage mix. Think about special pricing and/or bundling opportunities.
Determine if you have space on the regular dispensed coffee bar for a cold brew brewer and/or dispenser. There are many options combining both in one piece of equipment. The size of commercial equipment can be as compact as 3.5 gallons and increase by up to 10 or more gallons, so you can make it in large batches. (The brewed coffee stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 10 days). If there is the space, some machines have multiple hoppers so you can offer several flavors at once.