New Food Products / R&D Trends

Product Focus: Cold-Processed Beverages

Cold-pressed beverages are coming on strong for processors.

The descriptor cold processed is not to be confused with raw or unpasteurized, as the former typically undergoes some type of kill step to destroy pathogens and reduce spoilage microorganisms, while the latter receives no such step. Cold processing is all about the extraction. With coffee, this is called cold brew, while with fruit and vegetable juices, it’s called cold press.

Cold-brew coffee is coffee brewed without heat. Cold brewing involves steeping beans in ambient- to cold-temperature water for an extended period of time. This extracts flavorful compounds and some of the caffeine from coffee beans while leaving behind acidic and bitter compounds that get extracted during traditional hot brewing.

Cold-pressed juices are made using a slow pulverizer with hydraulic press. A growing number of consumers are attracted to such juices because the press process does not generate heat like traditional juicing equipment. Without heat, vitamin, mineral and enzyme integrity is preserved.

With both coffee and juice, in order to commercially package product a kill step is necessary. There are many options, including flash pasteurization, which uses heat, as well as filtration or high-pressure processing, which are considered cold processes.

“Our research revealed the opportunity to pair the smooth taste of cold-brew coffee with our farm-fresh milk, creating a taste profile that is spot-on for both the cold-brew fan and those just discovering the trend,” says Ann Ocaña, chief marketing officer, Shamrock Farms, Phoenix, maker of Shamrock Farms Cold Brew Coffee & Milk.

Products to Watch

Coffee Plus Milk

Uncommon Coffee Roasters has been serving cold-brew coffee for almost a decade. The company recently teamed up with a local Michigan dairy to produce a line of ready-to-drink coffee beverages in 16-oz. gable-top cartons. The two dairy-based offerings are Cold Brew Coffee with Half & Half and Cold Brew Coffee with Chocolate Milk, each containing about 100 calories per 8-oz. serving. There’s also Cold Brew Coffee Straight, which is a smooth-bodied drink with notes of roasted walnut, caramel and creamy chocolate and a mere 3 calories.

High-Pressure Processed Juice

Evolution Fresh, a Starbucks Corp. brand, offers an extensive range of cold-pressed, high-pressure processed juice. This month the brand is rolling out Evolution Fresh Watermelon Juice. Anne Williams, vice president of marketing, says that developing a signature, cold-pressed source of hydration and refreshment has been a priority. “Watermelon juice replenishes without added sugars, artificial colors or flavors,” she says. “Replacing one of your daily water servings with the freshness of watermelon makes hydrating more of a treat, a treat that delivers 330mg of potassium per 8-oz. serving.”

Cold-Brew Concentrate

Zozozial Coffee recently debuted a cold-brew coffee concentrate consumers can blend with milk or dairy alternative and sweetener to meet personal taste preferences. The product comes in shelf-stable 250ml glass bottles. Recognizing an opportunity in the hospitality and foodservice industries, there’s also a bag-in-box version. To appeal to the grab-and-go consumer looking for a premium coffee beverage without the café line, there’s a ready-to-drink line that comes in natural, flavored and lightly sweetened varieties.