February 17

Tap Into Profits

joetap_CTIt is clear that cold brew coffee is beyond trending. The ques­tion now is not whether or not to offer cold brew but how to profit from it. For those brewing in-store, there are a plethora of brewing and dispense methods avail­able in print and online. In short, this is most of what you need to know in less than a hundred words.

Step 1. Purchase a brewing system from Toddy, Brewista, Filtron, etc. and follow the direc­tions.

Step 2. Experiment with different coffees, grinds, brew times and filtra­tion. The Internet is chock full of helpful arti­cles, guides and Youtube videos to help you. You will even find some secrets to making nitro cold brew.

Step 3. Do some research and learn how to install/convert an under counter refrig­er­ator to a kegerator or purchase a new kegerator for cold brew coffee dispense. It looks hard but it isn’t.

Step 4 Do in-store marketing and sell your product.

Let’s look at the product side first. Brewing your own in-store is enjoy­able and is a great revenue stream. From a busi­ness perspec­tive however, you may consider not brewing your own for a lot of reasons. In-store brewing can actu­ally be more costly versus buying a concen­trate. Brewing your own means labor costs and long brew time (12−20 hours), refrig­er­ated storage of low ratio concen­trate (1:1) and low yield costs (cost per drink being close to $1 per drink) are all consid­er­a­tions that many busi­ness owners miss. Many commer­cial cold brew concen­trate makers offer concen­trates that cost far less per ounce than what it costs to brew your own. Additionally, more cold brew can be stored since they have a higher concen­tra­tion. A bottle or bag-in-box with an 8:1 concen­tra­tion takes up a frac­tion of the space that in-store brewed cold brew does at 1:1. Some are even shelf stable and don’t require refrig­er­a­tion until opened.

Now it’s time to ensure that your cold brew sells. Whether you brew your own or buy a concen­trate, your coffee needs to appeal to your customers. Flat or “still” cold brew sells moder­ately well. However, stores that sell both still and nitro are seeing explo­sive growth of nitro over still. Nitro on tap has led the way in making cold brew some­thing more than just cold coffee – it is, without a doubt, the most talked about and prof­itable cate­gory and defines this “white space”. More and more customers (espe­cially millen­nials) are looking for premi­u­mized cold coffee bever­ages. In coffee retail, as well as conve­nience stores and QSR (quick service restau­rants) nitro does it better than any other method of serving cold brew… as long as you don’t run out.

So why is nitro so impor­tant to consider? It sells. Nitrogenating cold brew adds texture without compro­mising flavor. In fact, nitro adds an element of creami­ness and perceived sweet­ness without adding any ingre­di­ents except gas. Additionally, nitro has virtu­ally no added prep time as compared to many iced drinks like frappes, iced lattes and smoothies. For busi­ness owners, the real profit comes from speed of service. Nitro coffee is deliv­ered on tap and takes approx­i­mately 10–12 seconds to pour. Compare that to the minute plus drink prep time for most iced drinks. A busy traffic line can move pretty quickly when pouring nitro coffee on tap. A differ­en­ti­ating menu item like nitro cold brew creates marketability as well as prof­itability. Again, as long as you have a contin­uous stream of nitro cold brew, busi­ness is good.

While some smaller shops have been exper­i­menting with forced nitro­genating, this method is labo­rious and limiting. The cold brew itself takes a full day to brew and then the cold brew is placed in a keg at high pres­sure for up to 3 days to nitro­genate. There are issues with dispense with force nitro­gena­tion – heavy nitro in the begin­ning and progres­sively lower nitro pours without constant adjust­ment to the system. There are some systems that allow for instant nitro infu­sion. This solves the problem of waiting for a keg to infuse with nitrogen as well as worry free oper­a­tion. These systems require a keg of ready to drink cold brew as well as tanks of nitrogen. One new tech­nology is the JoeTap CT (the CT is short for coun­tertop) and is the evolu­tion of the orig­inal JoeTap. This coun­tertop model allows bag-in-box (BIB) concen­trates to be used with mixing ratios up to 16:1. The concen­trate is mixed with water imme­di­ately before the point of dispense. The JoeTap CT comes with on board nitrogen gener­a­tion alle­vi­ating the need for nitrogen tanks. Easy BIB changes means a small foot­print and no down­time for the oper­ator. It is as simple as using a post-mix BIB soda system – change the BIB, pour more cold brew coffee drinks.

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