The coffee chain announced Thursday that cold-brew coffee will be available at more than 2,800 stores across the U.S. (the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest) and Canada (Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary).
Not to be confused with traditional iced coffee — which is hot-brewed, chilled and served over ice — cold-brew coffee gets its name from its specific brewing process: Coffee grounds are steeped in cool water for an extended period of time (Starbucks’ magic number is 20 hours) to produce a concentrated coffee flavor, which is then diluted with water (usually by 50%) and served chilled.
So what makes this high-maintenance coffee so popular? The lack of heat in the brewing process gives the brew a less bitter flavor.
“Iced coffee and espresso beverages have a stronger, roastier flavor with a bit of nuttiness that comes from brewing with hot water,” Michelle Sundquist, of Starbucks’ research and development team, said in a statement.
This announcement comes just two months after the company added the Flat White to its permanent menu — an Australian espresso beverage that was previously dubbed (a.k.a. before Starbucks got a hold of it) the “hipster drink of choice.”