What are the best takeaway coffee cups for cold brew?

Hayley Osbourne
February 10, 2023
An image of a coffee shop barista serving takeaway cold brew coffee in a recyclable plastic takeaway coffee cup in an article on which are the best takeaway coffee cups for cold brew

Renowned for its rich, sweet, and mellow flavour, cold brew has cemented itself as one of the most popular coffee serve styles. 

Notably, the cold brew coffee market is predicted to increase by $1.37 billion between 2020 and 2025 after the industry saw a year over year growth of 26.24% in 2021.

The increasing popularity of cold brew coffee can be credited to Millennials. Research shows the spending power of this particular generation has increased significantly around the world. 

As a result, predominant coffee brands, such as Starbucks and Costa have made their cold brew options more accessible. Both brands provide canned cold brew options to local supermarkets in addition to offering it at their cafes.

However, in a sector that is increasingly dominated by younger, environmentally conscious consumers, brands must determine the best way to serve cold brew coffee on the go. 

Find out which takeaway coffee cups will provide your cold brew consumers with the best drinking experience. 

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The growing popularity of cold brew coffee

The popularity of cold brew coffee can largely be attributed to its mild and mellow flavours. 

Traditionally, cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee in room-temperature water for up to 18 hours. Then, it is strained and chilled before being served as-is or over ice. 

This method of extraction often results in a full-bodied, mild, and far less acidic flavour profile. This can then be easily adapted to the consumer’s tastes by adding milk or sugar. 

More so, cold brew is a popular option as its premium marketing ability can make it more appealing to consumers. 

In addition to its flavour, cold brew has many supposed health benefits, which may include an increased metabolism. 

“Coffee culture”, predominantly with young people, is also gaining momentum, with cold brew coffee being targeted at younger consumers. 

As the extraction process reduces the acidity in the flavour, eliminating the need for added milk and sugar, cold brew is a popular alternative for health-conscious consumers. 

Data suggests r consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are more interested in cold brew, with 28% already consuming it, or showing an interest in doing so. This is 11% higher than those 35 years and older. 

As health and fitness are becoming a priority for younger generations, this could be a contributing factor to their heightened interest in cold brew coffee. 

An image of a barista holing a PLA takeaway coffee cup of cold brew coffee with condensation on side in an article on which are the best takeaway coffee cups for cold brew

The benefits of offering cold brew coffee

Offering cold brew coffee can offer both roasters and coffee shops several benefits. 

Appeals to a new target audience

Targeting a younger and more health-conscious audience can help coffee businesses expand their market base and boost brand awareness. 

Notably, health-conscious consumers may also avoid regular milk-based beverages due to concerns over fat and calorie content. For instance, a large latte made with whole milk equates to around 17.9 grams of fat

However cold brew without milk contains neither fat nor calories. This allows brands to appeal to a wave of customers who prefer fat-free, healthy beverage options.

Hot weather equals higher profits 

During the warmer months, the sales of cold beverages increase. Offering cold brew is an alternative for customers who prefer a milder flavour, a more premium option, or plain black coffee. 

Pre-made drinks are easier to provide

Cold brew can be made as a concentrate and can be served on ice, with milk, or in ready-to-drink (RTD) containers, such as cans or bottles. 

Many coffee shops serve it on tap and use it as a base for other drinks, similar to espresso. As it is “pre-made” baristas can serve more customers faster, as all they need to do is pour the cold brew into a cup. 

In addition to allowing baristas to shorten queues quickly, the convenience of cold brew appeals to consumers who are always “on-the-go”.

An image of a barista pouring cold brew coffee into a clear plastic PLA takeaway coffee cup in an article on which are the best takeaway coffee cups for cold brew

What is the best takeaway coffee cup for cold brew?

To meet global sustainability targets, several advancements have been made in the development of sustainable takeaway cups

This includes the introduction of kraft paper takeaway coffee cups, as well as those made from recyclable and compostable materials.

Notably, kraft paper cups are popular for hot takeaway coffee offerings, as they provide customers with a 100% recyclable product.  

However, serving cold brew coffee in a paper cup will be a challenge. First, as paper cups are primarily intended for hot drinks, they come with a lid. 

Each lid has a small opening for the mouthpiece, which helps keep the drink hot for as long as possible and minimises spills. 

Many consumers prefer to use a straw when drinking cold brew coffee – which the mouthpiece of a lid is unable to accommodate. 

The second challenge is condensation: which is likely to form in a cup filled with cold brew coffee. 

Unlined paper cups will absorb the water, which will weaken their structural integrity. This may cause the paper cup to feel unstable or even mushy in the consumer’s hands – effectively spoiling the drinking experience. 

As a result, cups made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polylactic acid (PLA) have become the most popular option for takeaway cold brew coffee.

PET is fully recyclable and known for its durability and affordability. Additionally, it is able to retain its structure in the face of condensation, as the material does not absorb water.

PLA, on the other hand, is one of the most highly produced bioplastics in the world. It is toxin-free, which has made it popular in the food and beverage industry.

PLA is made from the fermentation of carbohydrates from renewable resources such as maize, cornstarch, and sugarcane. 

The fermentation produces resin filaments that have similar characteristics to petroleum-based plastic. The filaments can then be shaped, moulded, and coloured to suit a range of needs.

A growing number of coffee consumers are showing a preference for sustainability practices and the use of recyclable and compostable takeaway cups.

Therefore, a clear PLA takeaway coffee cup may be the most effective cup for cold brew coffee offerings. 

It would not only be unaffected by condensation but also meet the consumer’s desire for environmentally friendly packaging.

MTPak Coffee offers roasters and coffee shops a range of takeaway coffee cups made from sustainable materials. 

For your cold brew coffee offerings, our plastic takeaway cups are made from recycled materials and can be fully customised with your branding. 

Once used, they are fully recyclable, helping brands contribute to a circular economy. Our recyclable plastic takeaway coffee cups are available in four sizes: 4 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz.

Furthermore, we offer a range of low minimum order quantity (MOQ) options, allowing you to order as little as 500 fully customised units in just five working days.

For more information on recyclable plastic takeaway coffee cups, contact our team

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Hayley Osbourne
Hayley Osbourne

Hayley is a writer for MTPak Coffee and is very passionate about her craft.

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