'Must Have' Beverages All Gone Cold

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Cold press juices and cold brew coffee are the ‘in’ beverages now. What are these, and why are they trending? By Emma Wright, beverage analyst, Canadean

A health trend that was started by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Richie has now become the ‘must have’ juice drink of consumers. The processing methods of this juice aligns it with consumer demands for natural ingredients, no artificial additives, and it also extends product shelf-life. But what exactly is cold press juice and how is it processed?

Cold Press Juice Processing

Cold press juice is simply juice that is kept fresh using high pressure processing (HPP). That is, pressure equal to five times that found at the deepest depths of the ocean is applied to the bottles after the juice has been filled.

Conventionally, pasteurisation has been the method used to preserve liquids. This method was discovered in 1894 by Louis Pasteur when he realised heating wine and beer enough killed bacteria. Similarly, with juice, intensely heating it for a short period of time through pasteurisation can kill off all the bacteria, thereby prolonging shelf-life.

Recently, another method has been introduced to preserve liquids as well. Microwaves are used to evenly heat the juice to a uniform temperature to kill off all bacteria; this can therefore be much more accurately controlled than traditional convection pasteurisation.

Unlike these heating methods however, HPP involves placing the filled bottles into a (typically) steel container filled with water. Pumps then subject the bottles to intense pressure which kills all bacteria. This method is said to work better with fruit beverages as the bacteria spores cannot live in places with a high acidity.

Pros & Cons Of HPP

With the high pressure, cold press juice has a longer shelf-life than traditional unpasteurised juice, which has been known to be able to still be contaminated by harmful bacteria, even after heating, like all fresh foods.

Further, HPP also retains all the original nutrients in the juice; due to the heat involved in pasteurisation, nutrients can be typically removed or reduced. Also, the covalent bonds within the product remain unaffected, giving the end product the same taste as when the juice was first made.

However, HPP is a more costly process than pasteurisation, resulting in brands being sold at a premium price to retain cost margins. This can discourage consumers, especially those with a lower income, to purchase these products.

Positively Cold Pressed

Cold press juice is made by grinding, or masticating, the fruit and vegetables into a pulp and then extracting the water from the pulp to make juice, rather than the typical juicing method of tearing the fruit and vegetables apart. Since consumers are attracted to ‘no added sugar’ or ‘no preservatives’ claims, this is a major selling point for this super premium juice.

However, consumers need to be aware that these juices still contain a high amount of naturally occurring sugars. In fact, a UK cold press juice company of the same name states on their website: “To secure your 80 mg recommended daily intake of vitamin C, you’ll need to drink less of our Valencian Orange Juice and so consume less sugar!”

Still, the lack of heat required to prepare and process the juice does not spoil the fruit or vegetable flavours and therefore allows it to remain popular with consumers.

With HPP, a greater quantity of produce is also able to be squeezed into every bottle, and some brands even boast of having two kilograms of fruit and vegetables in a 500 ml bottle. Other typical juice brands would not get anywhere near this amount due to the different method(s) of juicing used.

To date, cold press juice is sought out and in cities such as New York, a ‘cold press crawl’ exists, where consumers go from one juice bar to another sampling all they have to offer in the cold press variety—much like a bar crawl, just a lot healthier. Juice cleanses or detoxes have also become incredibly fashionable through companies such as Plenish and OnJuice, which offer a box of juices for a set number of days to flush the body of toxins and aid with weight loss. These regimes are charged at a premium due to the nature of the product sent as well as the guidance the consumer receives as to how and when to consume the juices.

There is however, no scientific evidence that can support the health benefit claims as the different ways in which fruit and vegetables are treated affect the way we absorb the nutrients. But this still does not prevent consumers from jumping on the juice cleanse wagon and is a category segment supported by many different celebrities. The market is set to continue to register impressive growth in the future.

Cold Brew Coffee

Another new trend launching into the drinks market in a big way is cold brew coffee— a segment that is starting to capitalise on the new ways consumers are looking to drink their coffee. This relatively new brewing method produces coffee by steeping the coffee beans in cold water for between 12 and 48 hours without heat. As such, the compounds from the beans are released in a different way, resulting in a drink with a smoother finish and less acid.

Cold brew coffee can however contain twice the amount of caffeine as a regular hot coffee or an energy drink, according to Chameleon Cold brew based in Austin, Texas. This is due to the longer brewing process and the higher coffee to water ratio.

This new drink also has the benefit of easily being made in the home by purchasing a cold brew system and following the instructions. You can get a simple French press or a more eccentric cold brew tower that drips the coffee into a container below once it has been filtered. For commercial producers, there are very similar products that are much larger, enabling one to produce a lot more coffee at a time.

This new product is competing with iced or ready to drink coffee, which is generally brewed at double strength to make up for the dilution when served with ice. This is a quick process that makes the drink bitterer due to the fast extraction of flavour from the beans.

This trend is growing as consumers become increasingly engaged in how the drink is produced and the taste appeals to coffee connoisseurs. There are now kits being sold for consumers to be able to make their own cold brews at home, similar to the trend of people buying juicers to make their own green super juices at home for their mornings. As interest in this new cold coffee spreads, there is certain to be growth in the years ahead as consumers latch onto fresh and innovative trends that make their beverage consumption more exciting.