Variety Fuels Retailers’ Cold Coffee Offerings

Iced Coffee
Photograph: Shutterstock

Today’s discerning consumers have a strong understanding of the flavors and attributes of various styles of hot and cold coffee and tea. That creates an opportunity for operators seeking to compete with cafes and restaurants for food and beverage purchases throughout the day.


Cold or iced coffee has become the second most-consumed variety of coffee or tea, trailing only traditional hot coffee, according to Technomic’s 2018 Beverage Consumer Trend Report. The report found that iced coffee is among the fastest-growing beverages in convenience stores, with sales growing 31% from 2016 to 2018, as more and more retailers offer expanded coffee programs that compete with other foodservice venues.


“At coffee cafes in particular, cold or iced coffee is now consumed by more consumers than hot specialty coffee and is also the beverage most likely to be ordered as a snack at this segment, indicating broad appeal across a variety of dayparts and occasions,” the Technomic report says.


Operators need to offer a range of freshly brewed hot and cold coffee and tea beverages because different consumers seek out their favorite coffee and tea beverages throughout the day.


Chairil McClain, Director of Product Management for BUNN ® said the time is ripe for operators to consider expanding their cold coffee and tea offerings with freshly brewed options.


Iced coffee appeals to consumers who may enjoy the bright, acidic taste of hot coffee, she said. Cold brew offers a smoother taste, but it lacks some of the aromatics that are retained in iced coffee, and nitro coffee adds a creaminess that allows consumers to forgo adding milk to their coffee if they prefer to avoid dairy products.


“Consumers are more mindful about the foods they eat, and operators want to bring those shoppers in,” said McClain. “Many convenience stores have become destinations—not just for gas but for food and beverages. They are competing with cafes and restaurants.”


Convenience-store operators can level the playing field with foodservice destinations when it comes to cold coffee if they have the right equipment. Multi-use brewers from BUNN—like the Infusion Series® Standard and Platinum models, the ITCB and the IC3—allow operators to easily upgrade their cold coffee and tea program with options to suit a variety of beverage strategies.


The Infusion Series brewers allow operators to make fresh, smaller batches of hot or iced coffee. It has both a Standard and Platinum version, the latter of which includes a touchscreen user interface to access programming menus and retrieving recipes for Hot and Iced Coffee. It also has a separate Pre-Infusion “Bloom” time for added control in the extraction process. Lastly, it has BUNN’s proven SmartWAVE technology which can further aide in perfecting uniformity of extraction by increasing turbulence in the coffee funnel. The IC3, meanwhile, is specifically used for iced coffee in larger batches. And the ITCB—Iced Tea and Coffee Brewer—allows operators to offer both hot and iced coffee and tea.


“They are all great brewing platforms,” said McClain. “There is a lot of great technology in them, and you can really hone in and unlock a lot of the nuances of the coffee, depending on the brewer.”


And for cold brew and nitro coffees, BUNN continues to offer its Nitron® Cold Draft line of dispensers.


Sixty percent of consumers are aware of cold brew but are not drinking it regularly, McClain said, indicating a “huge opportunity” for operators to capture some of those customers.


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This post is sponsored by BUNN

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