Cold brew coffee — in which coffee grounds are steeped in cool water for an extended period of time — has never been hotter. For the past handful of years cold brew was available by the cup at small, exacting coffee shops in urban areas. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, out of Portland, and Blue Bottle, out of San Francisco, have been serving the beverage at all of their locations for years. But then last year Starbucks released cold brew nationwide. This had a domino effect on the rest of the coffee industry: Dunkin' Donuts started serving cold brew this year; Caribou and Starbucks now bottle it; and today, Peet's Coffee (which recently bought Stumptown and Chicago's Intelligentsia) announced it will begin offering cold brew as well. The demand for cold brew, which is purported to have a smoother taste and almost sweet finish, has been linked to increased demand for coffee beans, and may be one reason why the price of coffee — while lower than it was a decade ago — is on the rise.
I'm sitting at a Starbucks in Philadelphia right now. It's mid-morning and 86 degrees F outside, and I can hear delegates who are attending the Democratic National Convention giving the barista their orders. About half are fluffy, sweetened Frappuccinos and iced lattes and the other half are a split between iced coffee and cold brew. Will cold brew take over? I'm skeptical, but it's a trend worth watching.
In other news:
— The late, great Hunter S. Thompson did not do anything by halves, including breakfast. Here's what happened when one writer ate breakfast like Thompson, including "four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef hash with diced chiles, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of Key lime pie, two margaritas, and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert..."
— Finally, what it takes to make a traditional croissant: