Cold brew has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. In response to this, many coffee businesses are refining their cold coffee offerings to stay ahead of the curve.

As part of this, some are pivoting away from traditional brewing methods to find faster, better, and more efficient ways to expand their menu. But knowing which of these newer commercial cold brew makers to use is easier said than done.

So – how do you find the right commercial cold brew equipment? Which features should you look for? And how does it all work?

To learn more about how to identify the best devices for your business, we spoke to Catherine Banwell, Operations Manager at Rubiaceae Consulting. Read on to find out what she had to say.

A barista preparing commercial cold brew equipment for service

How the best commercial cold brew equipment guarantees speed and efficiency

Cold brew is one of the biggest drivers of growth across the entire coffee supply chain. It is especially popular among millennials and Generation Z, but irrespective of demographic, everything is looking for one thing above all else in their cold coffee: quality.

“Customers of all generations are becoming more discerning about their cold brew,” Catherine explains. “They are looking for a depth of flavour that watery iced coffee or pre-mixed cold brew simply fails to deliver.”

However, the extended brew time (up to 24 hours) associated with traditional preparation methods makes it challenging to deliver at the scale many businesses require. This means that during a sudden surge in demand, you can run out of cold brew without a quick way to restock. 

“A quicker brewing time enables businesses to be far more efficient with regards to stock management,” Catherine adds. “This means they are able to make better quality cold brew more consistently.”
In recent years, better and faster commercial cold brew equipment alternatives have emerged on the market. For example, Hardtank devices can be used to prepare a batch of cold brew in just 45 minutes while still guaranteeing extraction levels of around 22%. This is possible because the equipment employs a unique recirculation method that continually pushes water through the ground coffee.

The user interface of a cold brew machine

What about workflow?

We’ve discussed the importance of quality and speed. But there is another significant element: the quality of the design and its ease of use for your staff. 

While historically, cold brew vessels have been simple and focused on immersion brewing in a large vessel, newer alternatives are emerging on the market. Some of these have built-in dispenser taps and storage kegs, for instance. This means you can conveniently store and serve cold brew from the same device, giving your staff more time to focus on what matters: delivering excellent customer service.

Additionally, cold brew equipment is becoming easier to use than ever. For example, Hardtank equipment uses a touchscreen interface for precise recipe selection. This guarantees consistently high quality between batches – no matter what you’re serving.

“In any business, the equipment used should be robust and easy to use,” Catherine adds. “Some hospitality businesses have large staff teams or high turnover, so equipment needs to be intuitive.

“With Hardtank, no staff time is wasted making cold brew, and the automated cleaning cycle makes cleaning it a breeze,” Catherine says. “Automation also ensures hygiene procedures are easy to follow – so staff training is effortless.”

Commercial cold brew equipment in use

Looking beyond coffee

We’ve looked at the importance of usability and workflow alongside speed and efficiency – but what about versatility? 

For many hospitality businesses, just adding cold brew coffee to your menu isn’t enough to satisfy the demands of today’s coffee consumers. This means that the best commercial cold brew equipment will be able to prepare other cold steeped beverages, such as cold brew tea and cascara. This allows you to capture a broader base of potential customers without sacrificing speed. 

“Shorter brewing time means that businesses don’t have to stop at cold brew coffee,” Catherine says. “If it’s a sunny afternoon and they still have the footfall, they can quickly prepare a delicious and refreshing pomegranate and hibiscus iced tea, for instance.”

But it doesn’t stop at tea and cascara, either; Hardtank cold brew equipment can also be used to infuse spirits and even make cocktails. 

“You simply fill the infusion basket with your ingredients and add your choice of cocktail liquid to the chamber,” Catherine says. “No shaking required, just press a button, and your end result will be a taste sensation.”

This gives businesses the ability to quickly pivot to meet different customer demands throughout the day without the need for multiple bulky cold brew machines.

The Baby Hardtank device with its inner workings exposed

How do you find the best commercial cold brew equipment?

We’ve discussed the qualities of the best commercial cold brew equipment, but how do you find the ideal device for your business? 

“To ensure both speed in production and a quality product, businesses need to look for innovation,” Catherine says. “Hardtank products have won numerous awards in recent years, including the SCA 2021 and 2022 Awards for Best New Products.”

Hardtank’s range of devices enables you to brew consistent, high-quality cold coffee faster than traditional methods – while also giving you the versatility to prepare a range of other beverages. 

  • Hardtank 20: Our classic device, capable of brewing up to 250 litres of cold brew in a single day.
  • Hardtank 1T: This is identical to our classic model, fitted with a handy dispenser tap for ease of service. 
  • Hardtank 2T: Just like the Hardtank 1T but with two taps to streamline workflow further.
  • Baby Hardtank: A countertop compact Hardtank model, guaranteeing the same excellent quality and speed at a fraction of the size. 

Learn more about the technology behind our equipment here. Alternatively, sign up for our newsletter for updates from our team. 

Hardtank cold brew coffee maker