The 2022 NCA Cold Brew Guide for Retailers is made possible through the support of our cold brew partner
Cold Brew Resources for Your Coffee Business
NCA's Cold Brew Toolkit is a suite of resources to help your coffee business brew, store, and serve cold brew coffee safely, whether you manufacture cold brew products or operate a retail facility like a coffee shop.
The Toolkit offers technical guidance and best practices to keep your customers safe, including:
- Product descriptions to help you sell accurately
- Food safety recommendations
- Shelf-life, storage, and handling testing
- Preparation for a health inspection
- Hazard analysis
- Regulatory compliance
- Decision tree for navigating (sometimes confusing) food safety considerations
The guidance offered in the resources on this page should be taken only as a guide; No two coffee businesses are alike, and NCA recommends consulting with your own food safety professionals to evaluate the risks and opportunities unique to your business.
The NCA Cold Brew Coffee Toolkit is an NCA member exclusive. Check to see if your organization is a member or learn more about joining the NCA!
Cold Brew FAQs
See the NCA Cold Brew Infographic
At its core, cold brew is a brewing method, not a serving method.
Here are answers to common questions about what “cold brew coffee” really means.
Is all iced or cold coffee considered “cold brew”?
No. Coffee brewed with hot water extraction methods, whether served hot or cold, is not cold brew. Cold brew is not simply a marketing term. It does not include coffee that was extracted with hot water and then chilled prior to serving. Instead, it refers to coffee extracted at ambient or cooler temperatures.
The resulting product can then be chilled or served over ice.
Is all cold brew coffee served as a cold beverage?
No. Cold brew refers to a brewing method, not a serving method. It can even be served warm: Historically in the US, concentrated cold brew coffee was diluted with boiling water and served primarily as a hot beverage (this was before iced coffee became popular). Cold brew is also an ingredient in many recipes.
How does cold brew extraction work?
Cold brewing extracts at a cooler temperature and generally for a longer time than conventional hot water extractions. This combination of lower temperature and longer contact time may produce a unique sensory and quality profile.
What are the sensory and flavor characteristics that result from the cold brew brewing method?
Flavor profiles of cold brew may vary significantly from coffees brewed at higher temperatures. The same beans brewed by cold or hot methods can taste the same or drastically different when evaluated side-by-side. Typical cold brew traits include less bitterness, smoother taste, and more delicate flavors.