It’s no secret that cold coffee remains one of the most popular beverage segments no matter the season, and Starbucks wants to take it a step further with a patent-pending process.
The global coffee giant says it has developed a new cold extraction process to produce a concentrated shot of cold-pressed espresso that will be used as a base for several menu offerings. The shot debuted at Starbucks’ Reserve Roastery in Seattle on September 12, and serves as the foundation for three new beverages:
Sparkling Cold-Pressed Americano: A shot of cold-pressed espresso poured over sparkling water, served on ice.
Cold-Pressed Ginger Fizz: ginger ale infused with a shot of cold-pressed espresso, poured over barrel-aged vanilla syrup and finished with grapefruit bitters
Cold-Pressed Americano Exploration Flight: A tasting flight featuring one cold-pressed Americano, one traditional Iced Americano, and one sparkling cold-pressed Americano
“From cold brew to Starbucks Draft, we have been building a cold coffee platform that not only appeals to our customers, but acknowledges that cold beverages are no longer just seasonal,” Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “This new technique … is the next step in our cold coffee journey and the perfect ingredient to design a menu of cold espresso or coffee options. We believe the opportunities are limitless.”
Designed by Starbucks’ research and development team, the cold-pressed technology uses an ascending flow filtration system that is pressurized by cold water. Starbucks says this inverted process allows for a release of flavor characteristics that results in a sweeter coffee flavor and smooth finish.
The patent-pending Aqua Temp Technology, which is trademarked, "allows the release of a sweeter coffee flavor and smooth finish, allowing the cold-pressed espresso to retain the intensity of the espresso flavor when paired with a variety of cold liquids," Starbucks said.
“Instead of 20 hours of slow-steeping, our process takes about an hour,” said Kieran Murphy, technical manager, process engineering, R&D, in a statement. “What we produce is a highly concentrated extract compared to what a traditional cold brew gives us. The extra strength is unique, and allows us to create beverages with more flexibility to experiment in new cold beverage territories.”
With the new espresso shot, Starbucks continues to invests in cold brew since the platform’s launch two years ago. In 2016, the company said it plans to quadruple its cold brew business by 2021 and its overall cold beverage mix to is expected to grow from 35 percent in 2013 to nearly 50 percent by 2021.
Since Starbucks introduced its draft Nitro Cold Brew a little more than a year ago at its Reserve Roastery in Seattle, the offering has expanded to nearly 1,000 company-operated stores across the U.S. By the end of 2017, Nitro Cold Brew is expected to be available in nearly 1,500 stores in 26 markets.