Cold Brew Teas Gain Ground

Photo by Christine Kapperman

The cold-brew tea trend does not show signs of slowing down. Mainstream coffee retailers like Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, and Dunkin’ Brands began selling cold-brew coffee in recent years and cold-brew tea is close behind as it gains visibility in the retail sphere and popularity among consumers.

Ito En is one prominent tea company that recognizes the benefits of cold-brew tea and has recently brought the Japanese tradition of Mizudashi, “cold brewing,” to its product lines.

“We’ve been in a coffee culture,” said Rona Tison, senior vice president of Ito En (North America). “Tea drinkers are really on the rise. Cold brew made sense in the same way coffee experienced it. It seemed timely for us.” The appeal of cold-brew tea is that, as with cold-brew coffee, the process produces a more subtle, less bitter flavor as a result of cold water extracting fewer tannins from the tea leaves than when using hot water. Cold-brew tea also contains less caffeine and more antioxidants than hot-brewed tea.

As consumers move away from sugary beverages like soda and sweet juices, there is a growing appreciation for a more pure taste of tea, Tison said. “People got into tea because it’s healthy. Now it’s beyond that; now they want to have the ultimate tea experience. With cold brew you get such a beautiful taste, without the bitterness, astringency or caffeine. It brings out the taste of the tea leaf.”

With more products on the market, consumers are developing a more refined palate and appreciate the quality of cold-brew tea.

Cold-brew teas have not only made an impact on the U.S. market, they are also becoming popular in Great Britain. Cafes throughout the U.K. are putting cold-brew teas on their menus. The Kenko Tea Bar, which is located at the gateway to east London, for instance, offers cold-brew oolong, Darjeeling, rooibos and matcha.

Here are some notable cold-brew teas that recently made their mark on the ready-to-drink tea market.

ITO EN debuted two new cold-brew teas at Natural Products Expo West: Matcha LOVE Cold Brew and TEAS’ TEA Organic Cold Brew.

FogDog introduced two flavors of cold-brew tea earlier this year at the Winter Fancy Food Show. Its Golden Oolong and Scarlet Red teas were well-received.

Caveman Coffee Co. unveiled a caffeine-free Nitro Hibiscus Cold Brew Tea in March.

Evolution Fresh also announced three new cold-brew tea and juice blends in March.

  • Blueberry Mint Cooler: green tea, blueberry juice and watermelon.
  • Raspberry Citrus Cooler: green tea, raspberry and watermelon.
  • Tropical Hibiscus Cooler: hibiscus tea with pineapple juice and hints of watermelon and citrus.

Learn more at World Tea Expo.

What: What’s in the Cup: Hot vs. Cold Brewed
When: 8:30-10 a.m. Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Where: N237