Starbucks certainly hasn’t been shy about trying to keep their coffee cred with a focus on independent coffee house trends. They released rare small batch, single-origin coffee at their new Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle, as well as a bean delivery service. They recently added the hip Flat White to their core menu. And now, the coffee giant is bringing cold brew to its mass audience.
So what’s wrong with all those iced coffees that the ‘Bucks is already selling? Well, it just isn’t actually cold brew. Cold brew is a method brewed with cold water over long periods of time. They brew their normal iced coffee using hot water then cooling it. “Iced coffee and espresso beverages have a stronger, roastier flavor with a bit of nuttiness that comes from brewing with hot water,” Michelle Sundquist, a member of Starbucks’ research and development team, said in a statement. “
The expansion into cold brew isn’t as easy as it may sound. A Starbucks spokesperson told us they had outfit the 2800 locations that will serve cold brew with an NSF-certified Toddy Brewer just for the cold stuff.
Also tricky, the Toddy brewers only hold 14 liters of water and need 20 hours to complete the cold brewing process. With these limitations only about 40 grande-sized cups worth of cold brew extract will be available in stores each day. If it’s gone, you’re out of luck.
Starbucks’ take on cold brew has already been tested in the Boston and San Francisco markets. It will hit the rest of the stores on March 31, just in time for us to remember that only a few weeks ago we had a deep seated hatred of anything and everything cold.