Cold brew coffee: The future is chill

Today’s world is a jumble of people on-the-go, and caffeine is in high demand. In recent years, the third wave coffee movement has been spreading, and it has been bringing better coffee, especially in the form of cold brew.

Third wave coffee shops are the kind of place you would imagine with a sort of minimalist style and a young, thin man behind the counter sporting thick-rimmed glasses, a high-and-tight haircut (or long untamed locks), and quite often a thick beard. These cafés pride themselves in the artisanal qualities of their drinks and their attention to detail. Cold brew is a delicious product of this attention to detail, where even the smallest nuance of a coffee bean is taken into consideration.

“I really enjoy [cold brew]” says Cañada student Chris Cisneros. “I think it’s so popular because it’s one of those things that’s artisan and people can brew themselves and it’s bringing a sense of tradition.”

Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee is one of the pioneers of bringing cold brew into popularity, and Conner Burns, the General Manager of the Blue Bottle store in Palo Alto, says, “The flavor [of cold brew] is definitely different, it’s much more superior. It’s actually brewed for that purpose, as opposed to being an amalgamation of things that end every push-pot of coffee.”

What he means by this is that cold brew brings out the subtle flavors of coffee that regular hot drip coffee could never do.

“I appreciate what it has done for the coffee movement. You’re adding another brew method that more people could experience and understand how serious and complex coffee could be,” said Burns. “I think the third wave coffee movement is really making places like Starbucks nervous.”

But, in the case of a large company such as Peet’s coffee, it is embracing the third wave’s coffee culture. They switched their iced coffee to cold brew early this year and they also bought Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters last month. Stumptown is known for their cold brew and the bottles it comes in, similar to the bottles that the Jamaican beer company Red Stripe is known for.

Almost immediately after the buy, Ángel González of the Seattle times said, “The move shows how the roasters that helped popularize gourmet coffee and espresso drinks in the U.S. endeavor to keep up with increasingly discerning palates.”

Peet’s Coffee was established in the 1960s by Albert Peet in Berkley as a third wave style coffee company, and now that the company is buying a roaster like Stumptown, they are continuing to strive for continuing to make higher-quality coffee available to a wider audience.

“I think it’s a really good business venture for Peet’s, because Peet’s has a huge following,” said Sam Dornik, a barista from new café in Redwood City called Bliss.

Dornik agrees that it was a smart move for Peet’s to buy Stumptown, and he thinks more coffee drinkers will follow the cold brew trend.

“The general public kinda keeps going with the trends, and Peet’s and Starbucks have already switched their iced coffee over to cold brew, so I think it’s going to keep going from there,” he said.

Another Redwood City cafe called Back Yard Coffee has served Stumptown for the past few years, and they also serve beer on tap. Recently, Stumptown released a cold brew drink infused with Nitrous Oxide, and Back Yard decided to serve it on tap along with the few craft beers and ciders.

The nitrous infused cold brew is very flavorful, and Joseph De Los Reyes of Back Yard certainly enjoys it.

“I really like the cold brew we have on tap that’s infused with nitrous,” he said. “I think it’s really smooth and creamy and I like that a lot.”

He also said he prefers to drink coffee this way because of the smooth-ness compared to the taste of hot brewed coffee.

Foothill student Cris Perez admires Stumptown’s selection of cold brew drinks.

“There’s nitro, chocolate, regular black, cold brew with milk, winter cheer (cold brew with eggnog)” said Perez. “Cold brew is easy to drink unlike other coffee which is usually more bitter; it’s more like drinking chocolate”.

Cold brew has been popping up everywhere recently and with its popularity growing quickly, the smooth, easy-to-drink coffee seems to be on a fast track to everyone’s cups.