The History, Origin and Advancement Of Cold Brew Coffee

Though most of the world knows cold brew very recently, its glorious past got rooted almost five (5) centuries ago. The innovation, circulation, history of cold brew coffee and its development will surprise any coffee enthusiast.

Although today’s cold brew and its popularity were not as high as they are now. It had something special from its start. For this reason, whenever people got a chance to be acquainted with it, cold brew coffee could draw public attention quickly.

Being invented five (5) hundred years ago in Japan, cold brew coffee could spread to limited areas till the 20th century. At the very beginning of the 21st century, cold brew coffee could manage a broad seat in the vast coffee market. Various travelers and cultural transactions have made the advancement of cold brew worldwide. Now it is part and parcel of daily life for people from many regions of the world.

In the later sections, we will cover cold brew’s origin, arguments on inventors, its expansions, causes of spread, essential aspects, and historical backgrounds. Let’s open the veil. 

Origin and history of cold brew coffee

If we go back in search of cold brew coffee, this will take us at least five (5) centuries ago. Actually, the history is longer than five centuries. We just found considerable documents till the 1600s. Most probably, the invention is earlier than we think. But the records are obscure enough to be incredible. 

So, credible sources should be our concern. Our later discussions will be on credible sources.

The invention of cold-brew coffee

It is proven that the history of cold brew lies in the city of Kyoto, Japan, at the very beginning of the seventeenth century. After being invented in Japan, cold brew coffee was circulated worldwide. There are some events before the 17th century in which cold coffee’s origin is traced. Unfortunately, no sources have enough credibility. 

According to some sources, Arabia is the birthplace of cold brew coffee and some sources claim that China is the motherland of cold brew coffee. But none of the sources are fairly reliable enough. 

Kyoto-style coffee

Japan has developed a rich and unique coffee brewing with cold water in Kyoto city. Getting a base in Kyoto, this sort of Japanese cold brew coffee was named Kyoto coffee. This Kyoto coffee making has a great artistic view. The whole coffee-making process completes in a tower. 

The top part of the tower holds a water jar with a canal with an on/off valve. The tower’s middle has a coffee ground containing a jar with a narrow pipe below. The tower has a jar in the bottom part that takes the final coffee liquid.  

If you run the valve, this will allow water to go into the coffee ground-bearing jar. Then the water will run through the grounds and finally reach the serving jar. 

The debate between the Japanese or the Dutch

There is great documentation on cold brew coffee’s origin by the Dutch. When the Dutch sailors would cross the sea, take coffee and make it with cold water. Thus we can assume that they have practiced this cold brew making in their home also. The Dutch had a good relationship with the Japanese. They would stop in Japan and do their business. 

According to hearsay, at that time, the Japanese learned the technique of making cold brew coffee from the Dutch. They have taken the basics of cold brew-making formulas and mixed it up in their own ways. 

Though both Japan and Netherlands are very strong in demand for cold brew inventions, the Dutch (the inhabitants of the Netherlands) fall behind. The most reliable records were found on behalf of the Japanese. Nowadays, a theory or something else needs to be pure and trustable on the basis of documents to get a foundation. In this regard, no original documents are found to be credible. 

The cold brew inventor debate is unfinishable. Though the world has recognized the Japanese as the inventor of cold brew, the Dutch have the credit too. If there would have proper documentation in favor of the Dutch, the world would have recognized the Dutch as the cold brew inventor.

Advancement of cold brew coffee from Japan to the rest world

The then communication system was not like today. So the spread of cold brew coffee could hardly achieve remarkable progress. But modern communication had helped much to spread the cold brew coffee. 

People travel from one country to another across the sea for trade purposes. Trade has not happened there only; there happened cultural exchange too. Through these cultural exchanges, cold brew coffee entered Europe, America and other regions of the world. 

Cold brew in America

Only in the mid-2000s the cold brew coffee got a remarkable figure in the USA. After that, its expansion has got a notable acceleration. Now it is one of the top beverages in the USA. The inauguration of cold brew coffee dates back to the colonial period. 

The origin of cold brew coffee is highly traceable in the 1960s and later decades and took almost 40 years to get a popular shape. The Hippies and some health-concerned food enthusiasts discovered cold brew coffee. Then they spread it out throughout the entire country. 

In the 1990s, cold brew coffee got a huge expansion in America by the Japanese. At that time they opened shops and made cold brew available for all. This was mainly for business purposes from the Japanese side, but it was a chance for people to get a new experience with coffee. Thus they started the activities in the rest of the world and these parts get a chance to enjoy a new drink – cold brew coffee.

Cold brew in Europe

The European cold brew coffee history is obscure. Most probably the hot countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece are the main patrons of cold brew coffee in Europe. Cold brew coffee did not receive a huge expansion in Europe until a few decades ago. Only in the 21st century, cold brew coffee has got a remarkable figure in Europe though it entered in later decades of the 20th century. 

France is the pioneer of cold brew coffee introduction in Europe. During the colonial period of France in Algeria, the French soldiers would be served coffee made with cold water. While working in the desert the soldiers loved it much. Then they took the recipe in France and some even opened coffee shops. 

According to one source, cold brew could spread in Europe. Another source said cold brew coffee was introduced in Eastern European countries first. Credible sources are also limited here.

Cold brew coffee’s spread in Latin America

It is not so long ago when Latin America experienced cold brew coffee, rather it is only recently. There is no specific date when Latin America started to consume cold brew coffee exactly. But the first decade of the 21st century is the most obvious time when cold brew got an expansion in Latin America. 

Trade, cultural exchanges with Japan and America and modern marketing have aided cold brew coffee in achieving this expansion.

Expansion of cold brew coffee in Asia

According to credible sources, Asia is the birthplace of cold brew coffee. But it has managed only a narrow path in the entire Asia. Most of the Asian countries have got an introduction to cold brew coffee in the 21st century. This is because fewer trade and cultural transactions were held between Japan and its neighbors.

Cold brew history in Japan will amaze you. The five-century-old history could connect considerably fewer people to cold brew coffee till the middle of the 20th century. After the 1950s, an extended number of Japanese got cold brew to experience.

India is a great lover of cold brew coffee and has changed cold brew coffee a lot and made it its own with some subsidiary modifications. China is also a great consumer of cold brew coffee. Other countries of Asia are also notable consumers of cold brew coffee. Basically, almost all countries are experiencing cold brew coffee currently. 

Advancements in the cold brew making

Modern cold-brew coffee is the most artistic form of cold-brewed coffee. Nitro cold brew is the latest sensation of cold brew. Most people like this sort of cold brew more than others. Various additives are added to cold-brew coffee to make it tastier. Sometimes the health value of cold brew coffee is ignored rather than taste is preferred. 

Now cold brew coffee making and preserving is so easy which was not possible in the past. Here is a chart of how cold brew has progressed over time.

Elements of cold brewCold brew of earlier stageCold brew of modern times
MakerThere was no cold brew maker.Various cold-brew coffee makers are available.
GrinderThere was no grinder.You can choose a grinder from a lot.
AdditivesThere were almost no additives.A lot of additives are accessible.
WaterNormal water.Normal room temperature water.
Ground sizeCoffee grounds were not uniform due to the lack of a grinder.Getting uniform ground is very easy now due to the availability of sophisticated grinders.
PreservationNo special preservation method was developed then.You can preserve it for a remarkable duration.
SpecializationThere was no specialization in the old days’ coffee beans.The best beans are sorted for cold brew now.
ProductionSmaller level production was available.Large-scale production is very common now.
Chart: Cold brew coffee progress table

American Toddy cold brew coffee

Toddy Simpson, an American, went to Peru in 1964. Here he saw a coffee type that is brewed with cold water. He tasted it and loved it very much. After testing this coffee, Toddy liked it so much. From his wish to make this coffee at home, he tried it after coming home. Thus he invented the American Toddy cold brew coffee. 

He wanted to make a coffee that produces low acid and removes bitterness. After many attempts, he could make his dream coffee. Later, his coffee became so popular in the USA that he became one of the top coffee sellers. 

Factors behind cold brew’s quicker advancement

Today cold brew coffee is very popular worldwide. Actually, this popularity didn’t come overnight, rather it has got a huge advancement in a quicker time. There are some facts behind this imaginary expansion of cold brew coffee.

Modern brewing strategy

With the passage of time, the marketing strategy of the world has changed a lot. This includes more strategic development targeting a wide range of people worldwide.  The large-scale producers of cold brew coffee have been drawing consumers’ attention through various campaigns and promotions through TV ads, billboards, banners, etc.

All these mediums of promotion can spread a product or message within a very short period of time from one part to another part of a country or even across the border. Cold brew has got a gigantic advancement in this modern era only and the expansion of these mediums has also accelerated parallelly. So, it is obvious that the spread of advertising mediums has also quickened the cold brew expansion.

Health benefits of cold brew

This is one of the most notable values of cold brew coffee for which people love it. This is highly healthy for all even those who face issues with normal hot coffee. In a few words, cold brew has more or less important health benefits – original and smooth taste, low acidity, prevention of many chronic diseases, etc.

Easy making

The making of cold brew coffee is not so complex. Even if it does not require a maker or heater to be made. So, people love it. Once one sees the cold brew-making process, later he can do it easily. 

Take coarse coffee grounds, cold water, a filter (or a piece of clean cloth can be enough) and a pitcher. Now pour coffee grounds and cold water into a pitcher. Then mix them for a couple of minutes with a spoon. Keep the mixture for at least 12 hours. Separate soaked grounds from the mixture using a filter. That’s it, your cold brew is ready. 


After the invention of cold brew coffee, in recent decades, it has got various dimensions. A person might not like American cold brewed coffee but must love its other variation. Sugar, milk or flavor addition may remove their dislike. For  this reason, you will find notable variations of cold brew coffee among the Indian, European and Latin American cold-brewed coffee. 

The nitro cold brew coffee has added the most charming dimension to the cold brew coffee. It has pulled so many people into the fan boundary of its new level of taste. 

Large-scale production facilities

With modern equipment, manufacturers can have a huge amount of coffee at a time. It is possible to serve so many people at a time. This large production facility has driven manufacturers to market coffee on a large scale.

So, commercial producers have given special attention to selling cold brew coffee. Thus with the profit-making, the demand and supply of cold brew are balanced. Indeed, the demand is growing high and production is increasing subsequently. 

Specialties of cold brew coffee

Some unique characteristics have made cold brew coffee more lucrative and attractive to people. Actually, these are not describable in a few words. Some most notable qualities are – low acidity, smooth taste, easy digestion, fantastic flavor, etc., which have made cold brew coffee an easy winner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called cold brew coffee?

All sorts of coffee need to be brewed to extract oil, aroma, taste and flavor. Here, brewing methods are not the same for all. Iced or typical hot coffee needs hot and boiled water to brew. On the other hand, cold brew coffee takes cold or normal water to complete the brewing process. Focusing on this cold water-based brewing method, it has been named cold brew coffee.

When did cold brew coffee become popular?

There are no absolute documents on when cold brew became so popular. We can trace a broad period when mass people were introduced to cold brew. Trustworthy documents say that the first decade of the 21st century is the starting point of the massive expansion of cold brew coffee. The second is also an apparent duration of cold coffee’s widespread popularity.

America and Europe are traceable for the most popularity-gaining areas in this shorter duration. Other regions of the world are pointable with lesser popularity to cold brew.

What is the history of iced coffee?

Iced coffee, often called cold coffee, originated in France-ruled Algeria in 1840. While working in the desert of Algeria the French soldiers developed a sort of coffee made with sugar, cold water and coffee grounds – named Mazgran. Then they carried it from Algeria to France. Then entire France and nearby reasons learned about it.

Now cold coffee has excellent variations based on different countries. Almost every country has changed it according to its own taste, other drinks and preferences.

Who invented cold brew coffee?

There is not a single person who is credited with the title of cold brew inventor. A few countries seem to be the inventors of cold brew coffee. Among them, Japan is the strongest claimant to get the inventor title.

In the USA, Todd Simpson is vastly figured out to be the pioneer of cold brew. Though he was a chemical engineer, he added some dimensions to the cold brew coffee. Though all the convincible records give credit to Simpson officially, cold brew has reached America earlier. But related information is poor. So, we have to give up other options.

Is cold brew coffee worth its hype?

There are a lot of facts behind the rise and popularity of cold brew coffee. Cold brew is tasty in both its primary stage and mixed stage (after putting on additives). Those who suffer from stomach issues like acidity, digestion disorder and other chronic diseases, can enjoy cold brew without any issues or reactions.

Moreover, cold brew can help you to increase the disease prevention capacity of the body. Regular cold brew drinking without additives can assist you in getting more refreshment and energy during work time. Cold brew can give you instant relief from tiredness. If you compare cold brew coffee with its nearest competitor iced coffee, cold brew coffee will be ahead of it.

Cold brew’s fresh feeling during tiredness has no competitor at all. All the above qualities of cold brew have made it a unique coffee drink. And we think cold brew is worth its hype.

Final thought

The origin, advancement and history of cold brew coffee are attractive. Its recent decades’ rise is more fascinating than its history and origin. If you are a cold brew enthusiast, it will satisfy you. Being tasty, healthy and easy to make, this has conquered the hearts of millions of people.

We hope our complete presentation has quenched your thirst for knowledge about cold brew coffee’s origin and development. Moreover, this will assist you in trusting cold brew and making it your full companion of daily life.

When you know coffee is your best companion, you will certainly agree with Cosby’s statement – “Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries.” – Bill Cosby.

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