The Origins of Cold Brew

Ice cold perfection. 

Ice cold perfection. 

First, the origins of Cold Brew for Kopi. I think it is now evident to all who come across The Kopi Trading Company, that we are a Cold Brew coffee company. 

This decision to expand beyond beans was born of a collision of factors: of taste, of convenience, of trends. It is a move that has breathed new life into the company and we’re now riding the momentum of the Summer to see where we stand on the shelves of the city. With this drastic new step however, we have somewhat redefined our product before we redefined our identify. We had to ask ourselves again:

Who is The Kopi Trading Company? 

I have to admit that I cringe when people raise this question. I find myself reliving a flood of “identity” related discussions and essays in high school English. I suppose though, it’s hackneyed because it’s important. It is our beloved elevator pitch, our marketing deck, our sales-pitch-on-loop. 

We had to look at what motivated us to make this change in the first place. I like to joke that bottling coffee was a natural step to please my busy (read: lazy) friends, too rushed and cramped for a coffee brew station. The deeper reason however, is that we found a natural resonance between the bean, the method, and the market. Something about the often chocolate, cinnamon, nutty notes of our beans really made for a killer cold brew - and it showed wherever we went. I found my own refrigerator filled with mason jars of brew, crowding out the rest of my food pyramid. 

And so we went for it. With the same ignorance-is-bliss attitude that we had at the start. Soon however, we found that our modest success ran deeper than a gut instinct. Looking more into the origins of cold brew, we found that it actually may have its roots in - you guessed it -  Indonesia. 

More precisely perhaps, it seems to be that the Japanese started this brew method first. In fact, it was introduced to Japan through Dutch traders looking to peddle more Indonesian beans, some of the first crops of coffee outside the Middle East and Africa. These beans had inspired a new field of brew. 

It’s hard to pinpoint if this is the first Cold Brew coffee ever, but this possibility stunned us. Have we inadvertently fashioned ourselves after the original hipsters circa 17th century? We had traveled around full circle, landing on our original mission: to introduce Indonesian coffee to a broader audience. The implication was clear: 

Cold Brew, instead of taking us further from our mission, was actually bringing us closer.  

P.S. Stay tuned as the Kopi Team takes a dive into coffee history, specifically Cold Brew history!