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How to ensure product safety when using cold brew bottles

No longer a subsegment of hot coffee, cold coffee is now fully established as a standalone category valued at over $400 million in 2021. The sector’s diversification is evidence that cold coffees now hold a distinct place in the industry. As demand grows, an increasing variety of products are being released that drive not only the category forward but the entire industry. 

BPA-free plastic cold brew bottles have emerged as a safe and convenient form of packaging for the ready-to-drink (RTD) market. Their sleek and versatile design offers not only practicality but also an aesthetic appeal, making them a preferred choice for both brands and consumers. 

But how can brands ensure product safety when using recyclable cold brew bottles made from BPA-free plastic? To learn more, I spoke to Hugh Kelly, a multi-award-winning Australian Barista Champion of the Year and head of coffee at Melbourne-based ONA Coffee

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The advantages of cold brew bottles

Beyond their aesthetic appeal and eco-friendly attributes, cold brew bottles offer a host of benefits that contribute to their growing popularity. Unlike some forms of cold brew packaging methods, plastic bottles are transparent, providing consumers with a clear view of the beverage inside. This small detail allows cold brew enthusiasts to appreciate the rich colour of the beverage on a more profound level. 

Essentially, it all comes down to subconscious factors. The transparency of cold brew bottles enhances the overall drinking experience. Beyond this, it can foster greater trust between brands and consumers by offering a clear view of the product’s quality before purchase.

Additionally, the portability and convenience of cold-brew bottles may be a substantial contributing factor to their widespread global adoption. The ability to reseal the bottles ensures the coffee inside remains fresh and spill-free, making them perfect for on-the-go consumers. Overall, resealable bottles provide a hassle-free way to provide cold-brew coffee to the masses. 

A main advantage of bottles for cold brew is their ability to preserve flavour and freshness over extended periods of time. This is because the airtight seal in the cap prevents oxygen from entering, thereby slowing the oxidation process. As a result, the product can be stored for extended periods while still providing a consistent, high-quality drinking experience. 

The durability of BPA-free plastic cold brew bottles also ensures the contents inside remain protected from external factors. Designed to withstand the transportation and handling processes, these bottles safeguard the product’s integrity while enhancing its shelf presence. Beyond this, the reusability of these cold brew bottles aligns with the growing expectations of eco-conscious consumers. Recyclable, BPA-free plastic bottles offer a sustainable alternative to single-use packaging, as they can be reused multiple times and then easily recycled. 

Research surveys found that 78% of consumers admit that a sustainable lifestyle is essential to them. Therefore, it’s imperative for brands to align product and packaging materials with these modern expectations. Investing in BPA-free plastic bottles made from recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) ensures you’re offering consumers a convenient form of eco-friendly packaging that is easy to dispose of.

Beyond this, it also ensures that consumers are not just purchasing a beverage; they are making a commitment to reducing their environmental footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future.

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Ensuring product safety with cold brew bottles 

While the convenience, aesthetic, and sustainable benefits of cold brew bottles are undeniable, they do present unique challenges with sanitation processes. Maintaining product safety is absolutely paramount for brands that offer cold brew coffee, particularly those offering empty bottle return programmes. 

To address these challenges, brands must ensure consistent and robust cleaning protocols to ensure all bottles are safe for storage and use. Inadequate sanitisation can increase the risks of mould and bacteria growth. 

“Cold brew doesn’t use heat in the brewing process,” Hugh explains. So, the dangers of contamination are present. Proper sanitation measures for bottling, including hot sanitation cycles in dishwashers or no-rinse sanitation products, will reduce the chances of serving an unsafe product.”

He adds that “using non-porous and food-safe materials that properly seal are also considerations to make cold brew a successful part of your business.”

For brands offering return programmes, consumers must be informed of how to prepare the empty bottles. Brands should instruct them to rinse the bottles thoroughly to remove any residual cold brew. Once collected and returned, brands must ensure the bottles undergo a rigorous cleaning process to remove any remaining traces of cold brew residue and ensure thorough sanitation is conducted. This process typically involves multiple steps, including rinsing, washing, and sanitising the bottles using specialised equipment and cleaning agents. 

In addition to cleaning and sanitisation, brands may also implement strict quality control measures. These will ensure the returned bottles meet safety and hygiene standards before being refilled and reused. These processes often involve visual inspections to check for any signs of damage or contamination, as well as random sampling and testing to verify the effectiveness of the cleaning process. 

This final step is optional. However, it is strongly recommended as a last line of defence to safely refill cold brew bottles for another round of use. By implementing these quality control measures, brands can ensure that every cold brew bottle that goes back into circulation is clean, safe, and ready for reuse.

Plastic bottles made from recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are a classic form of cold brew coffee packaging. As PET is 100% recyclable, it offers consumers a convenient form of eco-friendly packaging that is easy to dispose of. 

At Cold Brew Pak, we offer recyclable, durable, and stylish BPA-free cold brew coffee bottles. Our sleek, square-shaped bottles are meticulously crafted from high-quality, BPA-free plastic, ensuring durability and a modern aesthetic. Their unique design not only maximises shelf space efficiency but also provides a secure grip, making them perfect for on-the-go enjoyment.

Specifically designed for on-the-go consumers, the food-safe material makes PET bottles an exemplary alternative to glass. Our recyclable bottles for cold brew coffee offer a wide body panel – ideal for customisation and branding.

For more information on our sustainable cold brew coffee packaging options, contact our team. 

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About the author

Holly Szakal is a Melbourne-based copy and content writer and is deeply immersed in her city's vibrant specialty coffee culture. She infuses the rich aromas of the specialty coffee scene by delivering compelling narratives on the industry's current events.