Cold brew is enjoying its 15 minutes of fame right now. Yeah, I said it. It's a fad. Hot coffee will be there for us, though, waiting on the figurative and literal back burner at the gas station convenience store, watching, lurking, slowly turning stale. In the meantime, another major chain is capitalizing on millennials' and Gen Zers' newfound coffee habit. In a press release, 7-Eleven announced it's introducing its own cold brew iced coffee, and everyone's coffee obsession just entered new territory.
Their cold brew iced coffee is slow steeped and chilled, giving it optimal flavor and creamy smoothness, the press release says. They note it's a tad smoother and sweeter than other hot and iced coffees, but you still have the option to personalize your drink however your heart desires, with 7-Eleven's selection of syrups, creamers, and sweeteners. Don't forget those teeny, tiny marshmallows they have. I don't care what anyone says. Teeny, tiny marshmallows belong in cold brew. Teeny, tiny marshmallows belong everywhere. Don't argue with me on this.
If you think 7-Eleven's time-consuming brewing method means a heftier price tag, guess again. For a limited time, you can get a 16-ounce cold brew for just $0.99, and the regular price will be $1.69, according to 7-Eleven. That's, like, a fraction of what coffee shops would charge, which means you get to drink more. Yay!
What is it about cold brew we're so obsessed with? Senior category manager for cold beverages Jacob Barnes said in a statement, "For millennials and Gen Z-ers, it's a modern day soda or milkshake," noting the lengthy brewing process and unique grind size of the beans — loaning themselves to the smoothness and richness of the chilled beverage — give cold brew somewhat of a "craft appeal."
Millennials are forever on the hunt for something more genuine. Maybe that explains the appeal with cold brew. It takes anywhere between six and 24 hours to make, depending on the recipe, using room temperature or cold water. The result is a tamer flavor, more body, and less acidity. Admittedly, the whole process sounds much cooler than how I prepare my own coffee every morning, which involves watching the Keurig machine go to town while I pick my nose in my pajamas.
While getting it fresh from the local coffee shop (or convenience store) is a solid way to go, it isn't just traditional cold brew that's catching thirsty people's attention. As described in a New York Times article, unlike hot coffee, cold brew is stable, meaning the flavor won't change based on the temperature. This means it's easier to package and sell as a ready-to-drink item.
7-Eleven has been there, done that. Just a few weeks ago, Bustle reported on the convenience store's new self-chilling sparkling cold brew coffee, called Fizzics, which gets cold in 90 seconds when you twist the base. They spent 25 years developing it, and it's officially the first self-chilling can the U.S. public has ever seen.
Of course, 7-Eleven isn't the only place getting in on the cold brew action. That little coffee shop you've probably heard of, Starbucks, has their own versions. Personally, I was a huge fan of the toasted coconut cold brew.
It isn't just beverages, either. Cold brew desserts are also on the menu — like the Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee Ice Cream made in collaboration with dairy company Tillamook. You might recognize Tillamook from me eating it by the brick whilst standing in front of the refrigerator in my underwear. Yes, that Tillamook!
The cold brew craze doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon. According to Statista, U.S. sales in 2017 were $38.1 million, up from $8.28 million in 2015. People love their cold brew just a little bit.
In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be by my Keurig machine.