By Danny Pinnell, SCAA
“Summer is just around the corner, which means that I start getting Facebook messages and reporters calling about iced coffee,” said Peter Giuliano at the beginning of this week’s coffee talk.
“I’ve worked for over a quarter-century in coffee, and I swear I’m going to be remembered for my position on iced coffee.”
One of the reasons Peter got so interested in iced coffee was because his time working for a coffee company in North Carolina, which, in the southeast region of the country, has the lowest per capita consumption of coffee. It is also the part of the country that has the hottest summers and where iced tea is the typical drink of choice.
Summer months were low and winter months were high in terms of consumption of coffee, and iced coffee has the potential to help level that out.
When in Japan, Peter had an aesthetic discovery, tasting iced coffee that he thought was worthy of being recognized as a specialty coffee beverage.
Before this discovery, the iced coffee system that he was familiar with was to put whatever coffee that was left over at the end of the day into a plastic jug, refrigerate it, and serve it iced the next morning. It was the leftovers of the previous day’s coffee, and there are a lot of reasons why that doesn’t taste very good.
His trip to Japan was the first time that he experienced coffee that was especially made – that was intended to be – iced coffee.
Peter made an instructional video with Counter Culture Coffee that demonstrates this method.
With that foundation set, he ventured on to talk about the sort of space that iced coffee occupies in the specialty coffee community right now.
In recent years, there has been this cold brew phenomenon – which is, from a technical sense, coffee that’s brewed with room temperature or colder water.
But there’s also a popular sense, which is coffee as a substitute for beer.
“If there’s one thing that people younger than 30 love, it’s walking around drinking something that’s not beer but looks like it’s beer,” said Peter. (As a millennial myself, I can’t truthfully say that I disagree with that).
Another thing that is big now in this cold coffee/beer thing is the addition of nitrogen-charged coffee, which a lot of places are beginning to have on tap. Guinness and Boddingtons are both nitrogen-charged beers, with creamier, smaller bubbles. This method works really well with coffees.
While cold-brewed methods of coffee may not anecdotally be seen as a category to baby boomers or even some Gen X-ers, it is definitely a category to millennials.
Peter concluded with his prediction that cold coffee, is not a flash in the pan, but a growing market segment that is increasing and unlikely to diminish at any time in the near future.