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NCA Cold Brew FAQ

From the NCA Cold Brew Toolkit

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. 

Check out our webinar to learn more about the cold brew coffee market, live on June 26, 2019 with Technomic market research. Registration free for NCA members!

NCA Cold Brew FAQ

The following Cold Brew FAQs are based on the NCA Cold Brew Toolkit

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, more delicate flavors. 

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