The Cold Brew Coffee Wave : Profitable Strategies for Coffee Shops

It is likely that you, along with all of your customers have heard about the Cold Brew Coffee wave happening in North America.  There are many profitable strategies for coffee shops to consider when approached cold coffee options.  In the dynamic world of coffee, cold beverages have taken centre stage, rapidly growing in popularity among consumers and coffee connoisseurs alike. With the global market value of cold brew coffee alone projected to reach a staggering $1.4 billion by 2023, it’s clear that the demand for chilled caffeinated refreshments is more than just a fleeting trend. This surge in preference for cold coffee drinks, including iced coffee, cold brew, iced lattes, and blended coffee beverages, has been especially prominent among younger demographics. 

Iced Mocha

The National Coffee Association's 2020 National Coffee Data Trends report reveals that about 20% of coffee drinkers enjoy gourmet coffee beverages daily, a category that encompasses an array of chilled coffee delights. This blog post explores the top cold coffee drinks gaining traction in the market, the benefits of offering an extensive cold beverage menu in your coffee shop, and even shares some easy recipes for coffee lovers to try at home. So, whether you’re a coffee shop owner seeking to capitalize on this trend or a coffee enthusiast curious about the cold coffee craze, read on to get your fill of all things cold brew.

The popularity of cold coffee drinks, including iced coffee and cold brew, has been steadily increasing over the years. In the U.S., for example, the National Coffee Association's 2020 National Coffee Data Trends report showed that cold coffee drinks' popularity was growing, especially among younger consumers. As of 2020, about 20% of coffee drinkers reported drinking gourmet coffee beverages (which include drinks like iced coffee and cold brew) on any given day.

Cold Coffee Beverage Statistics

This statistic shows the market value of cold-brew coffee worldwide from 2017 to 2023. By 2023 the global market value of cold-brew coffee is expected to reach 1.4 billion U.S. dollars.

  1. Iced Coffee: This is a classic and simple option, making it widely popular. This is brewed coffee that's cooled down and then poured over ice. Compared to cold brew, iced coffee has a more aromatic and bright flavor as it's brewed with hot water, but it can also taste more acidic.  
  2. Cold Brew: With its smooth taste and lower acidity, cold brew has surged in popularity in recent years. This is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in room-temperature water for an extended period of time, usually 12 hours or more, then straining it to get the final drink. The result is a coffee concentrate that is often diluted with water or milk.
  3. Blended Coffee Drinks: These are often sweet, dessert-like drinks. A common example is a frappuccino, which is a trademarked Starbucks drink that's made with iced coffee or espresso, milk, and blended with various flavors and often topped with whipped cream.

    blended coffee

  4. Iced Latte: This is a popular choice for those who prefer a creamier, milder coffee drink. This is made with espresso and chilled milk poured over ice. It's smoother and creamier compared to iced coffee.
  5. Nitro Cold Brew: While not as widely available as some other options, its unique creamy texture has gained it a following. This is cold brew coffee that has been infused with nitrogen gas, which is released through a pressurized valve with tiny holes, creating a frothy, creamy texture. It's served straight from the tap and drunk black without any added milk or sweeteners.
  6. Iced Americano: This is favored by those who prefer a stronger coffee taste in their iced drinks. This is made by pouring a shot or two of espresso over cold water and ice. The result is a bold, robust coffee flavor.
  7. Iced Mocha: A favorite among those with a sweet tooth, combining coffee, milk, and chocolate. This is made by mixing espresso, cold milk, and chocolate syrup together and serving it over ice. It's a sweet, chocolatey take on iced coffee.
  8. Iced Espresso: A more concentrated iced coffee option, popular with espresso lovers. This is made by pulling an espresso shot and then cooling it down over ice. It has a stronger, more concentrated flavor than regular iced coffee.

    iced cappuccino

  9. Iced Cappuccino: This is similar to an iced latte, but with more foam and often a sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon on top.
  10. Flash Brewed Coffee: While not as well-known, it's gaining popularity for its unique flavor profile. Also known as Japanese Iced Coffee, this method involves brewing hot coffee directly onto ice. The result is an iced coffee with bright, well-preserved flavors.

The Benefits of Offering an Extensive Cold Beverage Menu

Offering an extensive cold beverage menu in your coffee shop can unlock numerous benefits. Firstly, it can attract more customers. Some patrons prefer cold coffee, particularly in warmer climates or during the summer months. By providing a variety of cold options, you can cater to these preferences and broaden your customer base.

Moreover, a diverse menu appeals to a wide range of tastes. Whether a customer is partial to the smoothness of a cold brew or the sweetness of a blended coffee drink, having an array of options increases the likelihood of satisfying their palate.

In the highly competitive coffee shop industry, innovation and differentiation are crucial. An extensive cold beverage menu can set your shop apart, drawing customers in with unique or innovative drinks and creating a buzz around your brand.

Starbucks Frappuccino

Increased Average Transaction

From a revenue perspective, cold beverages often command higher price points due to their more complex preparation processes or ingredients, thus increasing your average ticket size. Additionally, cold coffee drinks, especially those that are sweet or blended, can extend your peak hours by being popular at different times of the day compared to traditional hot coffee.

Consistently offering new and exciting beverages can also promote customer loyalty, as customers are more likely to return to see what's new. An extensive cold beverage menu allows your shop to adapt to seasonal changes, offering a refreshing alternative to hot drinks during warmer months.

Lastly, for the health-conscious customer, cold beverages like cold brew are often seen as healthier options due to their lower acidity and potentially lower calorie counts, especially if consumed black or with minimal additives. Catering to this demographic can attract health-conscious customers, further enhancing your shop's appeal.

Cold Brew and Iced Coffee Recipes 


Iced Coffee:



  1. Brew coffee with water using your usual method (drip coffee maker, French press, etc.).
  2. Allow the coffee to cool to room temperature.
  3. Fill a glass with ice.
  4. Pour the cooled coffee over the ice.
  5. Add milk or creamer and sweetener if desired.

Cold Brew


Cold Brew:



  1. In a large jar, combine the ground coffee and water.
  2. Stir to make sure all the coffee is wet.
  3. Cover and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to a day.
  4. Strain the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean jar or pitcher.
  5. To serve, fill a glass with ice and dilute the cold brew concentrate with an equal amount of water. Add milk or creamer and sweetener if desired.

Flash Brewed coffee

Blended Coffee Drinks (Frappuccino):



  1. Brew coffee and let it cool.
  2. In a blender, combine the cooled coffee, milk, sugar, and ice.
  3. Blend until smooth and frothy.
  4. Pour into a glass and top with whipped cream, if desired.

Iced Latte:



  1. Brew a shot of espresso or make half a cup of very strong coffee.
  2. While your coffee is brewing, take a glass and fill it with ice.
  3. Pour cold milk into the glass.
  4. Pour the freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee into the glass.
  5. Add sweetener if desired and stir well.

Nitro Cold Brew:

Making nitro cold brew at home requires some special equipment. Specifically, you'll need a nitro cold brew maker or a whipped cream dispenser and nitro chargers. Here's a basic recipe:



  1. In a large jar, combine the ground coffee and water.
  2. Stir to make sure all the coffee is wet.
  3. Cover and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to a day.
  4. Strain the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean jar or pitcher.
  5. Pour the cold brew into the nitro cold brew maker or whipped cream dispenser.
  6. Insert the nitrogen cartridge according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  7. Dispense the nitro cold brew into a glass. It should have a frothy, creamy top similar to that of a pint of stout beer.

Please remember to adjust these recipes to your taste preference, and enjoy your homemade cold coffee drinks!

Nicaraguan Finca Limoncillo tasting at Analog Cafe!

Join us Thursday August 25th between 4pm-6pm as we kick off our Thursday coffee tastings at Analog Cafe at the Calgary Farmers Market!

This weekend we are tasting our fresh crop arrival Nicaraguan Finca Limoncillo Java coffee brewed three different ways: Single Origin Espresso, Cold Brew and on our Hario V60 Pour Over bar! Each method lends its own character to the coffee and brings forward a variety of flavors in the cup.

This will be a casual tasting and we will prepare samples of each method as people come to Analog. Please don't be shy and ask questions! We look forward to starting to offer regular tasting and classes at Analog Cafe each Thursday. Look forward to seeing you there!

Read more about Russ Prefontaine's trip to Nicaragua and the farm we are working with directly to bring this coffee to you.

Nicaraguan Java Natural coffee card Fratello Analog cafe