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Who Invented Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew has increasingly become more popular over the last decade. It is especially loved during summer for a refreshing dose of caffeine under hot weather. Today, you will find cold brew coffee being sold in chain stores and supermarkets globally in small cartons. Although the technologies employed in making cold brew have become more efficient, making cold brew is an old concept. Cold brew has been around for centuries. But who invented cold brew coffee? Read on for a detailed history of its origin.

cold brew coffee

What is Cold Brew?

Before looking into its history, it will help to describe cold brew in brief. Cold brew is a coffee drink prepared by steeping coarse ground coffee in cold water for at least 12 hours. After steeping as needed, you filter out the grounds and get a cold brew concentrate. The concentrate is diluted in various ways.

Cold brew is often confused with iced coffee. However, iced coffee is a coffee drink prepared by serving regular coffee over ice. Cold brew is special in that it has a richer flavor profile due to prolonged brewing. Thus, there is more concentration of caffeine, coffee sugars, and oils in cold brew than in a similar serving of regular black coffee. Despite its unique brewing method, cold brew offers similar benefits as regular coffee.


History of Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew is an old coffee brewing method that dates back to the 1600s in Kyoto, Japan. By then, the Japanese were brewing cold brew tea when Dutch traders introduced coffee that did not require fire to brew inside their ships. Due to the cold-brewing style used in Kyoto, cold brew is traditionally known as Kyoto-style coffee.

Initially, cold brew was prepared by steeping coffee grounds in cold water. Today, this Japanese-style coffee is prepared by allowing water to slowly drip drop by drop over ground coffee in glass apertures suspended in the form of a tower. Its brewing style makes it one of the most artistic coffee brewing methods.


How Cold Brew Rose in Popularity

The Kyoto-style cold brew was invented in Japan after the introduction of the Dutch cold brew to the Japanese. Later in the 1840s, an iced coffee known as Mazargan was introduced to help manage the desert heat. By the 1930s, Cubans invented the process of making cold brew.

In 1960, Todd Simpson invented a machine for making cold brew coffee known as the Toddy Brewing system. In the 1990s, American coffee shops started making cold brew coffee concentrate for use in blended drinks.

In the 2000s, innovative coffee shops adopted cold brew, with some introducing their own forms of cold brew such as nitro cold brew. In the 2010s, big coffee chains such as Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks started making cold brew. As a result, more people found it easier to access cold brew. That’s when its popularity started skyrocketing.


Why is Cold Brew Coffee Popular?

Cold brew coffee is popular based on its sweet and smooth taste. Brewing with hot water extracts coffee acids that make hot coffee taste bright. With cold brewing, there is less extraction of acids, hence more sweetness and mouthfeel. You can even dilute cold brew with cold milk for more richness and smoothness.

Also, cold brew is more stable than regular hot coffee, making it ideal for packaged coffees such as wholesale coffee or single-serve coffee bags. Besides, you can brew it in either small or large batches. It is easy to prepare at home and a cost-effective way of making coffee for a large crowd.



So who invented cold brew coffee? Cold brew coffee was invented by the Japanese. Its unique and simple brewing process makes it easy to brew at home. Also, its smooth and sweet taste makes it one of the most popular coffees, especially during summer. Although the technologies employed in making cold brew coffee continue evolving, they all involve steeping ground coffee in cold water for several hours.