One of the first major undertakings of the Coffee Science Foundation will involve research into cold brew, which by most market research accounts has been the fastest-growing beverage subcategory in the coffee industry over the past decade.
It was just shy of four years ago when Coffee Science Foundation Executive Director Peter Giuliano introduced a series of speakers at a Re:Co symposium event in Atlanta who all addressed the question of whether or not cold brew was actually a beverage category or just a craze.
The prevailing sentiment was certainly “category,” although many people also agreed that the industry was behind in its collective understanding of the beverage in terms of sensory analysis, production parameters, consumer preferences, and more. Since then, the cold brew category has grown exponentially, with virtually all market research projecting continued popularity.
With financial support provided by Colorado-based home and commercial cold brewer maker Toddy, the Coffee Science Foundation project is under the name “Towards a Deeper Understanding of Cold Brew Coffee.”
According to the CSF, which launched last year as a supporting organization of the Specialty Coffee Association and serves as its research arm, the project is being designed to “define the parameters of the cold brewing method, including chemical and sensory analysis.”
Specifically, the project will involve two years of research; an exploration of cold brew extraction techniques, including variables such as temperature, time, extraction percentage and concentration; and a study of United States domestic and international consumer preferences. Following the research, the CSF hopes to disseminate its findings to media sources, while introducing a “coldbrewing handbook,” incorporating findings into SCA standards, and sharing results at industry events through lectures.
“For years we’ve known that cold brewing coffee produces a very different cup than traditional hot brewing methods but it has been difficult for anyone to explain how and why. We’re excited to support this project that will help to understand the science behind the brewing method and shed light on what makes cold brew unique from both a chemical as well as a sensory perspective,” Toddy President Julia Leach said in an announcement shared last week by the CSF. “Much of the research in the cold brew space over the past several years has been proprietary. We felt it was important for Toddy to take a leadership role in supporting research that will benefit the overall industry.”
Research on the project is scheduled to begin this calendar quarter. In addition to its cold brew research, the CSF is also in the midst of a four-year research project on espresso extraction, with financial backing from Simonelli Group.
[Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the Coffee Science Foundation’s association with the Specialty Coffee Association.]