Coffee innovations echoed beer trends at the National Restaurant Assocation Show, May 19 through 22 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Craft, cold-brew and nitrogen-infused coffee were on tap – literally and figuratively – throughout the three exhibit halls. We talked to a few exhibitors about quality, convenience and other factors fueling the craft coffee movement.
Vietnamese coffee on the go
California-based Copper Cow Coffee aims to enhance your grab-and-go or delivery options with Vietnamese-style coffee. Its biodegradable, single-serve pour-overs come with separate sweeted, condensed milk packets. “All you need is hot water,” says sales rep Lillian Mayer. “You don’t need to train a barista.”
Cold brew in a can
Oakland, Calif.-based Blue Bottle Coffee offers more grab-and-go options, including 8-ounce cans of cold-brew coffee. Its New Orleans-style iced coffee, made with milk and chicory, is packaged in a paper milk carton – just the like the ones from elementary school.
Hot coffee on draft
TradeCraft Outfitters distributes craft coffee from 30 independent roasters to restaurants, hotels, offices and institutional foodservice. In addition to espresso, draft latte and nitro coffee from its roasters, the Chicago-based company also showed off hot coffee on draft powered by “a secret of sensors and pumps,” says Danny Locash, senior director, new market development.
Kegarator cold brew
In the retail market, Chameleon Cold Brew is known for its 10-ounce bottles of coffee, in espresso, mocha, vanilla and other flavors. But like so much else in Texas, the Austin-based company goes big for food service. In addition to 5-gallon boxes (“like boxed wine, but for coffee,” says Chicago-area sales manager Rich Chatat), Chameleon offers kegerators for its nitro- and cold-brew coffees.
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