High Brew Coffee’s “For Those Who Do” perspective runs deeper than a business mantra. For founders David and Elizabeth Smith, “doing” took them on the sailing trip of a lifetime, helped them discover the benefits of cold-brewed coffee and uncover the company’s sustainable mission.
“[Our mantra] basically means [High Brew] will help you do whatever you are working on even better,” says David Smith, High Brew Coffee chief executive officer and co-founder. “Whether you are a student studying for an exam, an athlete training for an event, an artist deep in your work, an entrepreneur starting a company or simply working long hours behind a desk, our cold brew will help you optimize your performance and get you through your busy day.”
But behind the scenes at Austin, Texas-based High Brew is a sustainable coffee-growing energy as well. Coffee beans are sourced from farmers in the higher altitudes of the Oaxaca Region in Southern Mexico, the company says.
“We want to make sure these farmers are being fairly compensated to ensure their long-term viability and success,” Smith says. “[We also want to bring] High Brew to all consumers who enjoy a premium coffee experience without having to wait in line at their local coffee shop and pay too much.”
The process to produce a high quality cold-brew coffee involves the sustainably farmed Arabica beans, which are light-medium roasted to enhance the natural flavor. The roasted beans are then coarsely ground for easier and cleaner filtration, according to Smith.
Steeping doesn’t happen quickly. The key to a smooth, sweet, bold taste, he says, is soaking the beans for hours in room temperature water.
“By letting time extract the flavor of the beans rather than heating them, our coffee gets that smooth, sweeter, bold taste without bitterness,” Smith says. “When we apply a cold-brew process we end up with a stronger, bolder coffee flavor with twice as much naturally occurring caffeine that is 67-percent less acidic [than traditional heat-processed coffee].”
Less-acidic cold brewed coffee appeals to drinkers who suffer from indigestion. It also offers a lower-calorie option because the flavor is smoother and prepared with less dairy and flavored sweeteners than traditional iced coffee, according to the company. High Brew combines its coffee with a mix of cane sugar, stevia and minimal milk in a variety of flavors.
Calories matter as much as caffeine in its products and convenience is apparent in its packaging.
“We are seeing great velocities in the marketplace, because consumers are looking for higher levels of natural caffeine without the penalizing calories found in most dairy-rich, sugary [ready-to-drink] (RTD) coffees,” Smith says. Each 8-ounce can packs a caffeine punch with average dose of caffeine in each can between 130 mg and 150 mg, which is double the amount in a traditional hot-brewed cup of coffee, he adds.
Double Espresso and Mexican Vanilla, Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Mocha are popular varieties of the brand in natural grocery channels. But its latest release — dairy-free Black & Bold — is among its top sellers, according to the company, and the simple mix of coffee, water and only a gram of sugar was created by request.
“We listened to our consumers and found they really wanted a dairy-free alternative,” Smith says. It also began using a more convenient packaging size: 8-ounce slim cans.
“Our 8-ounce slim can felt like the right, convenient, palm-sized package to deliver this functionality on-the-go,” Smith says.
RTD coffee sales hit $2 billion in 2014 and premium and health-positioned RTD offerings aligned with High Brew’s product line showed significant strength, according to Euromonitor International.
High Brew currently has its sights on nationwide options beyond the natural food channel and Whole Foods Market, where it debuted in 2015.
“We have been busy building out a national beverage [direct store delivery] (DSD) network that can now bring our products to college campuses, corporate feeders and hospitality events all over the country,” Smith says. “We launched in Target nationwide last month.”