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May 4, 2012 07:23 AM

Chains that Cold-Brew their Iced Coffee?

I ordered an iced coffee this morning from my local Panera and was extremely surprised when the barista simply took a cup, filled it with ice and then poured hot coffee in it. Thinking she must be new, I asked the manager if this is really how they make iced coffee. It turns out it is. I asked if I could just have a hot coffee instead.

I was pretty surprised. I know Panera doesn't explicitly bill themselves as a coffee shop, but they do have an extensive coffee drink menu. I would think cold-brewing coffee would be standard practice. Now, I don't expect, say, Potbelly to offer cold-brewed but I just assumed that any chain with a full selection of coffee drinks would make a proper iced coffee. Otherwise, why bother putting it on the menu.

So, which chains do cold-brew their iced coffee? I know Seattle's Best does, anyplace else? (And, yes, I know my local cafe that roasts its own organic fair-trade beans does, too.)

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  1. I don't know what method McDonald's uses but it's my favorite compared to the others I've tried (Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts). No discernible bitterness.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Starbucks doesn't cold-brew. They brew hot coffee double-strength and then refrigerate it to be poured over ice.

        1. re: Boston_Otter

          You are correct on that one. I dont mind it but i wouldnt put it at the top of my list. I can add Caribou to the list of chains that cold-brew.

          1. re: iambecky

            Your Panera coffee sounds a lot like "Japanese" iced coffee. Same deal do you suppose?

        2. re: ipsedixit

          No...neither Starbucks nor Peet's cold brews. But Caribou, which the company that owns Peet's recently acquired, so maybe they'll start.

        3. Can't stand that method, it just dilutes the coffee and flavor.

          2 Replies
          1. re: treb

            Sorry for my ignorance but what is the real difference between the two methods? Is it mainly that the coffee tastes dilluted?

            1. re: blaquefood

              Cold-brewing is done overnight -- you basically mix coffee grounds with cold water and let it sit for 6-8 hours, then filter it. The concentrated coffee you get can be mixed with a little water or just poured over ice. It's much less acidic than coffee brewed with hot water. Some people feel that it makes the best tasting iced coffee... others feel that it's not intense enough.

            1. It's a Grind cold brews.

              Does anyone remember Diedrich? They were the ones that introduced me to cold-brewed coffee. Too bad they got acquired by Starbucks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Radical347

                Martin Deidrich now operates Kean Coffee in Newport Beach and Tustin, CA. Their cold brew is phenomenal!!