Last Updated on May 26, 2020 by Novotaste
Coffee is big business in the US. According to the NCAUSA—its largest domestic trade group—the total economic impact of the industry is over $225 billion USD. That’s a lot of beans! Of course there are a ton of ways in which people are consuming them these days, too. It’s not just a steaming cup of joe before you brave the morning commute (back when that was a thing). In fact, the hottest trends of the day aren’t hot at all. Here’s a look at how java-infused drinks are redefining themselves in 2020.
Cold brew is hardly anything new. But over the past few years, it has percolated into a $1.6 billion dollar ‘side business.’ In case weren’t aware of the actual process: as opposed to its iced and chilled counterparts, which are merely served at a lower temperature—cold brew is, as advertised: brewed cold. It requires steeping coarse grinds in chilled water for as long as two days. That results in a drink with less tannins and an almost-juicy sort of acidity.
And it makes for a splendid whiskey, too, it turns out. Just ask Paul Hletko, founder and master distiller of FEW Spirits in Chicago, Illinois. Late last year he introduced Cold Cut—a unique bourbon that’s cut to proof using cold brew coffee instead of water. “It expands the entire whiskey category,” Hletko contends. “The cold brew coffee rounds out the edges, adding nutty, chocolatey flavors to the sweet and spice of bourbon.”
Mr. Black gives cold brew the liqueur treatment, infusing its Australian wheat vodka with sugar and a proprietary blend of top-grade Arabica beans. The result is a 50-proof spirit that sings of perfectly roasted grind. Rich and intense, yet not overly sweet, it’s the kind of drink you want to sip on its own, over ice. Yet it happens to also work brilliantly in cocktail form.
Mixing the flavors of coffee and beer are commonplace these days, but Avery Brewing is doing it better than the rest. The Boulder, Colorado-based operation is perking up caffeine fiends with its Out Of Mind American dry stout. All of the rich, roasted barley flavors of the category are elongated in the presence of whole bean goodness. There’s also a pleasing bitterness in the finish, sensibly pulling the drink back from the edge of cloying sweetness.
Mad Bean Hard Coffee is tapping into the flavored malt beverage craze sweeping the nation. They promise a twist on the traditional Irish coffee: a 4.5% ABV can holding liquid brewed from 100% Arabica beans. Available in either Mocha or Vanilla varieties, there is a touch of added caramel sweetness in the mix. But the roasty, coffee tonalities shine bright in both.
Fire Dept. Coffee, a veteran-owned business out of Illinois, is turning the boozy coffee trend on its head. Instead of infusing alcohol with roasted beans, they are infusing the beans with the booze. Egan’s Irish Whiskey-Infused Fire Dept. Coffee is available online at firedeptcoffee.com for $19.99. It comes in 14 oz ground and whole bean bags and showcases the signature notes of its spirited adulterant: butterscotch, toffee, and barrel spice.
Of course by no means do you have to be a fan of spirits to enjoy the latest coffee trends. In fact, you don’t even need a coffee machine. Jot’s Ultra Coffee is a brand new product that allows java drinkers to enjoy their esteemed beverage in a flash. It’s an extract 20x stronger than regular coffee, requiring just one tablespoon added to hot or cold water, milk—whatever you prefer. And instantly you have the morning or mid-day boost you desire. A 200ml bottle retails for $24 and is enough to make 14 cups. It’s also available through a monthly subscription service offered on their website.