Unravelling complexity of flavour and aroma compounds in cold brew coffee and tea

FITCH Brew is a York-based producer of award-winning cold brew coffees and teas. Finely crafted soft drinks use 100% natural ingredients with carefully selected coffee beans and tea leaves. During the gentle brewing process, the heat is replaced with an extended chilled temperature brewing period. The ingredients are then submerged in chilled purified water and left to steep. This slow extraction generates a healthier, lower acidic and fuller taste product.

Andy Deeley, a co-founder of FITCH Brew explained:

“The cooler the water, the slower the extraction of the flavours and aroma compounds in the final product. Cold Brew has limited acidity in taste – providing a naturally sweet and smooth taste.”

A selection of FITCH Brew drinks (Image: Fitch Brew)

The FITCH Brew team collaborated with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to identify and improve the flavour and aroma compounds in a wide range of their cold brew coffee and tea drinks. Coffee contains several hundred different chemical compounds but only a minority of these contribute to the aroma. Similar complexity can be found in teas accounting for the most desirable aroma and flavours.

Pre-funded support from the BDC’s Bioeconomy Growth Programme provided FITCH Brew with tailored research and development support worth around two days of work to understand how their cold brew coffee and tea flavours develop and adapt during the brewing process.

Raymond Sloan, the BDC’s lead technologist explained the approach:

“Various analytical techniques were used for detecting organic volatile compounds in coffee and tea beverages. In this project we used a GC-MS based method which showed a highly complex profile of compounds that contribute to flavours and aromas. We were able to identify these compounds and cross-referenced them to chemical databases and assign specific flavour and aroma descriptors.” 

FITCH Brew team recently launched into the US with their new oat latte and are planning to grow its presence in the soft drinks market with a vision to become the leader in soft drinks.

Andy Deeley, from FITCH Brew, added:

“FITCH ethos is all around learning and being masters of our craft. The scientific research we undertook with BDC has facilitated the next level of product understanding which has allowed us to really articulate our flavour/aroma compounds whilst using the results to improve our quality further.”

 

Notes to editor:

This project has received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020

The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding (YNYER) LEP awarded a grant of £1M to the BDC as part of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) support which funded the equipment used to carry out this project. For more information visit: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/funding/local-growth-fund/

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