Cold Brew 101
Cold Brew is hot.
Cold brew also presents unique challenges for coffee roasters, since it adds an additional set of steps to the production process while still requiring you to roast and grind. This guide will walk you through how to set up cold brew products on RoasterTools, so that your operations team can have the right amount of coffee for your cold brew production.
Step by step instructions
Step 1 - Create bags for cold brew packaged sizes
In order to tie Cold Brew products to production, we need to shift the idea of a "bag" slightly and apply it to cold brew packaging types like a "keg" or "bottle".
In this walkthrough, we will focus on creating a "Keg" product for a mythical cold brew product called Ice Haus Cold Brew. You can use the same steps to create other packaging types, such as "Bottles" or different size kegs.
Your first step will be to visit Bags in the products menu, and create a new bag called "Keg". In the new bag screen, you will need to calculate the weight of roasted coffee to produce one unit of this keg, and enter it in the "Weight" field.
Below is an example of what this may look like if it took you 6 lbs of roasted coffee to produce one keg.
Please note: I do not recommend making this bag type as "default", which will make it active for all products that you create after this. In practice, it seems like this Keg bag is only active for a single coffee, such as a dedicated "Cold Brew Blend".
Step 2 - Activate "Keg" bag on your cold brew product
Pro Tip! We recommend that you develop a dedicated cold brew product, for your cold brew line, and not just slap the "keg" bag onto an existing product like your house blend.
Your cold brew efforts are a key sub-brand for your company, and probably deserve their own marketing. Creating a dedicated product, like our "Ice Haus Cold Brew", sets you up to leverage these marketing efforts by selling the same blend/product whole bean via your wholesale and retail channels.
Open your cold brew product, and scroll down to the new bag called "Keg". Activate the whole bean by clicking the checkbox, and add a wholesale price for the keg.
If you sell ground coffee, you will likely see a bunch of grinds for this new "keg" bag type. We recommend just using the Whole Bean or whatever grind is appropriate for your cold brew process, and leaving the other grinds inactive.
If you decide to sell this product only via the keg, unselect the other bag / grind options on the page.
Save the product at the bottom of the edit screen.
Step 3 - Use this "Ice Haus Cold Brew" product in your orders
You can now use this product in orders, just like any other coffee product you sell. You can simply search for "Keg" when adding products to your order, and it'll likely be the only option that comes up.
If you have unique discounts that apply to your cold brew products, you may want to create a "Product Group" that includes your kegs, bottles, etc. and apply discounts to the product group.
Step 4 - Roast to replace cold brew inventory
As you sell your kegs, bottles, and other cold brew inventory, we recommend that fulfill from existing stock (likely in a walk-in or some refrigerated space) and use the production run to start production on a replacement unit.
Ok, let's break this down. A customer orders a keg of your new cold brew. Congrats!
Rather than roasting for that order, then waiting for that cold brew to steep, flash chill or brew (using whatever method you use), we recommend that you deliver a keg from finished inventory.
Unlike coffee, there's no expectation of fresh-chilled cold brew. Yes, it needs to be fresh, but not same-day fresh. You can sell out of existing inventory for your cold brew operation while still being a roast to order shop otherwise. Obviously, you probably shouldn't deliver old product, but there's a window that's acceptable.
Your production run is still useful, as it adds in the coffee needed to replace that keg, and kick off the cold brew production process to bring your finished inventory back to some par level.
You do have a par level, right? A par level is your minimum acceptable amount for a particular product. If you typically sell 5 kegs a week and have never sold more than 8, you may want to have a par level of 7 kegs, so that you never completely run out, but will still turn that product pretty quickly.
As part of this rotation, you'll want to adopt FIFO (First In, First Out) for these finished inventory products. Basically, you're delivering your oldest keg in inventory every single time. If you manage it correctly, it'll still be a pretty fresh product that your customers will love.
Sell through RoasterTools using the tips above, and we will help you keep your roasted production in sync with your cold brew!