What’s Brewing in the UK?

Cold Brew coffee has been slower to take off in the UK than in the US – is that down to our innate resistance to leaving the well-trodden path of tradition (if it is not broke, don’t fix it), or a reluctance to take a chance on something different?

Some in Britain still believe that Cold Brew is just coffee that has gone cold. Of course, they could not be further from the truth. Part of the challenge is that the UK is still very much an espresso-based coffee culture. American filter coffee is only served in the tourist centers of London. Cold brew itself only showed up a handful of years ago in independent specialty cafes.

Even with the progress of our innovative entrepreneurs it can be noted that the pallet here is decidedly more agreeable at a lower TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). Despite our espresso habit there is something about cold brew that is favored when it is not as strong.

Whatever the reason, it is indisputable that, prior to the Covid 19 pandemic, Cold Brew coffee was starting to see some traction with major retailers and coffee shops. A major push was underway to get Cold Brew out in the marketplace. However, this initial rush left little room for quality or consistency, or shelf life. Some fly-by-night operations were brewing in empty garages that bared a striking resemblance to a haunted house rather than a sterile food facility.

When Coffee Nitro first started, we were the only brewers in an actual BRC certified facility with proper filtration and packaging equipment. We’ve seen it all, from filling by hand and crown capping with no cold storage for holding to brewing straight from buckets in the corner. Thankfully, much progress has been made over the years and quality and hygiene have been on the rise. BIB (bag in box) is now leading the way for trade with various cans and single-serve options following close behind.

At Coffee Nitro, we know the process of producing this wonderfully balanced delicate drink involves careful attention to and understanding of the relationships between your blend of beans, grind size, grams per liter, brew times, TDS, filtration, and filling methods. Every stage is vital, for example, the grind size. Goldilocks understood about things having to be ‘just right.’ That grind size is so very important; too small and low yield, too big, and you don’t get the flavor – but have the size ‘just right’ and get the perfect taste and yield.

Have no doubt – Cold Brew will bounce back in a big way when life resumes. The core product keeps on giving, and from trade to retail, you can expect excellent opportunities to appear worldwide. Our own experience certainly bears this out. Having introduced a sensational dispense system to coffee shops, we see a rising demand for Cold Brew in London. Recently we have seen a larger demand for cans as consumers seek to repeat their pleasant coffee experience more flexibly and conveniently.

There are so many innovative and irresistible options to explore and delight the consumer. So, all in all, there is more to Cold Brew than meets the eye.

by James Nash

Suggested Reading