Coffee's future is in jeopardy. Coffee farmers aren't making enough to live on and prices are at an all time low. If things don't change farmers will no longer be able to produce coffee beans, putting your cup of coffee under threat. But there is something you can do to help…..
You might be one of the millions upon millions of people who enjoy a cup of morning coffee every day to start things off right. You may also need the mid-morning pick-me-up brew, or a coffee break with co-workers before, during or after lunch, or any other time during the day. Maybe you even enjoy a smooth cup of decaf in the evening after the long day is finished. Whether your coffee habit constitutes one drink a day or several, you are not alone in a routine that so many people find not only enjoyable but necessary to get through the day.
What’s your favorite coffee roast? Dark? Light? Somewhere in between? Here’s a “coffee 101” guide to coffee roasts from light to dark.
The degree to which coffee beans are roasted is one of the most important factors that determine the taste of the coffee in the cup. Before roasting, green coffee beans are soft, with a fresh “grassy” smell and little or no taste. The coffee roasting process transforms these raw beans into the distinctively aromatic, flavorful, crunchy beans that we recognize as coffee.
The popularity of coffee continues to rise and shows no signs of abating. You only need to look at your local high street or shopping center to see a new coffee shop appearing almost weekly. The increasing consumption of coffee brings with it environmental challenges but it is fair to say that the coffee industry is taking positive action to tackle these issues head on.
There was a brief window heading into the summer of 2015 when all kinds of food-focused publications were ready to declare cold brewed cocoa the next big drink trend. Then it really wasn’t.
We’re not totally sure who was first behind the cold brew cocoa buzz that year — a crown year for enlightenment in the cold coffee market among specialty coffee sellers — though one particularly memorable heralding came by way of Quartz, which did a big, splashy feature on the history of cocoa brewed cold.
In short, cold brew cocoa essentially follows the same principles and recipes as cold brew coffee, except instead of ground coffee that sits with filtered water at room- or refrigerated-temperatures for X amount of time, it is typically ground cacao nibs. The resulting beverage is not overly sweet and milk-laden like traditional hot cocoa, but more nuanced and subtle, while begging for use as a base for cocktail or mocktail type drinks.
Some high-end chocolatiers, coffee purveyors and tea shops have indeed been experimenting with cold brew cocoa for years, but a new market trends analysis from the market research firm Mintel suggests cold brew cocoa’s moment in the specialty beverage spotlight may actually be now — as opposed to two years ago — following a major release from Starbucks and increased attention on the potential health benefits of specialty drinks.
“The tea and coffee markets have each successfully made the jump from hot to cold drink, the former most recently with the cold brew and nitro coffee trends,” Mintel Global Food and Drinks Analyst Alex Beckett wrote in the analysis last week. “Now, cocoa may be braced to make a similar transition into the chilled drinks fixture.”
Beckett argues that Starbucks’ launch of a “Cold Brew Cocoa and Honey” bottled beverage this spring, though more of a traditional cold brew coffee with added ingredients, has helped propel consumer consciousness of the cold cocoa concept, while creating some mental separation between chocolate and cocoa as drinks ingredients.
The analysis also points to the potential yet largely unproven benefits of cocoa nibs as drinks ingredients. Cocoa is well-known to be high in theobromine, an alkaloid and stimulant that has been shown to dilate blood vessels and to potentially decrease blood pressure or positively affect mood, while also acting as a diuretic and stimulant that can have the same kind of potential negative effects associated with caffeine.
“At the heart of the relationship between health and chocolate is the cocoa content, and the higher the percentage of cocoa, the bigger the associated better-for-you benefits,” the analysis stated. “In Europe, there is significant consumer interest in seeing more chocolate which retains the nutrients of the cocoa beans. With this in mind, there could be opportunities for cold brew cocoa to communicate the level of cocoa content, or provenance of the cocoa. For various reasons, the cold brewed coffee boom is struggling to replicate its US success in Europe, but maybe the allure of chocolate will help cold brew cocoa find greater success.”