August 22nd, 2013
01:02 PM ET
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Cold brew coffee is hardly a new innovation and neither are pre-packaged options. Canned and bottled coffee just makes sense for convenience's sake. Shelves are increasingly stocked with java-based beverages including sweet, flavored Frappuccinos, no-nonsense Italian espressos and the wealth of Japanese canned coffees that have been distributed since the 1960s.

Now bottled cold brew coffee, made by a longer and more expensive process, is taking off.

Cold brew coffee is brewed in room temperature water, rather than hot. This results a concentrate that is then combined with cold water and ice. This is a more involved process than making “iced coffee,” which is generally hot-brewed, cooled and poured over ice.

The brewing typically takes 12 or more hours to complete. Since extraction is simply the dissolving of coffee grounds, it makes sense that this different timing alters the final flavor. The longer extraction opens up new flavors that before, may have been masked by iced coffee’s acidity. The process yields something lighter in color and taste, and it may even seem sweeter.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters has distributed bottled cold brew across the U.S. since 2011. Their “Stubbies” are available in Stumptown locations, as well as in other specialty stores and larger retailers like Whole Foods Market.

In the past year, brewers across the board, including Birch, La Colombe and others, have begun bottling their versions. On the ground of these larger companies' success, Ports Coffee & Tea Co. is barreling forward. This unassuming New York shop released their first bottled brew just last month and with it, a pre-packaged latte.

“We’ve been making cold brew since the beginning,” said manager Urban Eisley, who has been with Ports since 2011. Eisley and his staff only select in-season coffees and fresh beans, and only produce enough bottles to keep their customers happy.

“It’s a small operation. It’s all hand-bottled, super small batches.” So, while this week, you may get an Ethiopia Chelba, next week will be the fresher, tried and tested option.

cold brew latte

But it’s the bottled "cold brew latte” - especially made with dairy milk, rather than nut milk - that has rarely been seen before. Reconstituting cold brew concentrate with milk, not water, produces an approachable, easy-to-drink latte.

"I see a cold brew latte becoming the standard," said Eisley. In line with Ports' observation that the bottling trend has picked up with surprising speed, they predict that the cold brew latte boom will inevitably follow, and they wanted to be there at the start.

Revolucion Coffee + Juice in San Antonio, Texas is also at the forefront of the nascent movement and recently introduced a cold brew latte, available with organic dairy and non-dairy options, as well as one sweetened with organic coconut palm sugar. A blog post touts the benefits of the lower-acid cold brew for people who have digestive issues, or just plain old drink a lot of coffee throughout the day.

And with easy-sipping cold brew lattes just a bottle top away, it's not hard to see why more coffee drinkers might crank up their consumption of this cool new caffè.

No cold brew shipping to you yet? Ross Beamish of Caffé Vita advised in this Eatocracy tutorial:

Start with a clean, dry French press (6 cup or larger) and add one half pound of coarsely ground coffee. (Conveniently, a French press grind works optimally.) Add 5 cups of cold, filtered water and stir gently. Cover the top of the press with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit (brew) for 8 hours.

After the brew time has completed, plunge the French press as normal. You’ll want to select a vessel to decant the coffee into, a mason jar with a lid works well. Pour the brewed coffee through a mesh strainer into the container and store in the fridge, the brew will keep well for up to a week.

To serve, dilute two parts cold filtered water to one part cold brew and serve on ice. You can dilute the cold brew with milk for a creamier product.

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Filed under: Coffee • Quizzes • Sip

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Victor

    Siga tomando la medicina que su psiquiatra le da.

    Keep taking the medicine your psychiatrist gives you.

    August 25, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  2. gstlab3

    I like it fresh ground and the pot size is kept small as coffee turns after about 15 20 minutes.,
    more grinding and more work but if you have ever had burnt or stale old coffee you know what I mean.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  3. palintwit

    Tea Part Patriots mix a little coffee with Everclear and drink it out of mason jars.

    August 24, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Thomas

      Will you please drop dead.

      August 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • Jerv

        No, would he please keep posting.

        Lighten up.

        August 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • overit

      @palintwit. It's people like you that have lowered the intellectual discourse in this country. It's hard to have a discussion with someone who resorts to name calling.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  4. SixDegrees

    Gawd. The latest addition to the Emperor's new wardrobe.

    August 24, 2013 at 8:51 am |
  5. James Ullman

    I've cold brewed my coffee for three years now and would never drink it any other way. I only drink iced coffee and mix the cold brew with equal parts non-fat milk and pour it over ice. For those of you who have never tried cold brew – give yourself a treat.

    August 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  6. Java chip

    to me iced coffee is best made fresh through a French press with a medium roast coffee, Arabica beans from Ethiopia or Kenya work nicely. Brew through a French press double strength then add ice. if you use African coffee try it with a slice of fresh orange its great takes all the acidity out of the coffee you can actually even mix orange juice with your coffee.

    August 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  7. next in line

    I'm the fifth person in line! When is coffee being served?

    I like to try this cold brewed coffee. I'm going to follow the recipe mentioned in the article. Thanks for sharing!

    August 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  8. jacamo

    i am the fourth person. i am so freaking excited!

    August 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  9. rhobere

    My girlfriend and I make cold-brewed iced coffee at home and I have to say, its the only way I'll ever drink iced coffee again. Rather than water or milk, I like to dilute it with a mixture made of half heavy cream and half sweetened condensed milk. it blows any starbucks coffee out of the water.

    August 23, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Coffee Lover

      How can you put all that extra stuff in your coffee and still call it coffee? If you're going to drink coffee, don't make a milkshake and call it drinking coffee.

      August 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
      • Edwin

        Good coffee can be enjoyed many different ways. I drink it black most of the time but sometimes the sweet tooth gets a hold of you! Try a cafe con leche sometime, you might enjoy it!

        August 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • inkybreath

        From Italy: "Life is to bitter to not put sugar in your coffee."

        August 25, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • inkybreath

          Though I am bitter about misspelling a word in my reply.

          August 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
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