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Illy Ready To Drink Cold Brew – 2021 Product Review

illy cold brew ready to drink coffee can

If you believe that making excellent products takes time, you are going to love Illy’s coffee. Their 100% Arabica blend has been perfected for over 85 years now, largely appreciated first in their home county, Italy, and then globally. 

As one of the leading companies in sustainable coffee, Illy has been known for having an excellent base blend, sourced among the best single origins of the world. From their birth in 1933 in Trieste, Italy, Illy has been selecting some of the best origins of coffee all around the world.

Packaged in an iconic, and ahead of their times, fully aluminium can, Illy’s red and silver package is a reflection of their logo and immediately recognizable.

Celebrated as one of the pinnacle of what coffee can be, Illy’s iconic blend is no news to any coffee lover. Made from 9 of the world’s best selections of Arabica, it has been appreciated in the finest cafes, hotels, restaurants, offices, and, of course, homes for nearly a century.

What is instead new today is that this blend is not only available as a typical, hot-brewed coffee, but now also as a cold brew. Illy obviously couldn’t miss the growing market of iced coffee worldwide. Pushed by the cold brew lovers, and with a tweak to their 8 decades old blend it worked beautifully as a cold brew too.

And the form chosen is not just as beans to brew them yourself, but as a ready-to-drink cold brew. Let’s see what exactly this is and means for cold coffee drinkers.

What is “Ready to Drink” Cold Brew

Simply put, ready to drink coffee is coffee that has been already brewed for you and then packaged in a can or similar that can preserve its flavors until you open it. Fully ready to drink then, with no action needed from you other than enjoying it.

Illy Ready To Drink Cold Brew

There are plenty of ready to drink versions of coffee to choose from these days. Most are brewed normally, hot, and then flavored, or not, and packaged, ready to ship to your nearest store. Some have dairy added, or alternatives. A ready-to-drink cappuccino or flat white is not an uncommon view these days in grocery stores. Many are sweetened, others are straight, black coffee.

Illy themselves also sell various ready to drink coffee that are other variations of their classic blend. All are hot-brewed, though. 

The particularity of a ready to drink cold brew is, unsurprising, that it was brewed cold and not hot before being canned. As with ready to drink iced tea, a ready to drink cold brew is similarly prepared, just the brewing is done with no use of hot water altogether.

Ready to Drink vs Regular Cold Brew

An obvious question at this point would be: what’s the difference between a ready to drink cold brew and regular cold brew? Thanks for asking. The answer boils down to how cold brew coffee is made.

Most of the recipes call for a 8-16 hours brewing time, with a large ratio of coffee to water, done in bulk. Large quantities of coffee are thus cold brewed each time, as the coffee made this way maintains most of its qualities for many days, refrigerated. 

Classic cold brews are concentrated coffee, extremely intense, thought to be diluted later with ice or water, or both, in order to be drinkable. Some people manage to drink cold brew concentrate straight, but it’s fair to say that they are in the minority.

cold brew coffee with milk and ice

Thus, cold brew is a concentrated, very strong, form of coffee. A ready to drink cold brew is one that has already been diluted in a drinkable ratio of concentrated coffee and water. Canned, for easy access and transportability, a ready-to-drink cold brew is precisely what the name says: served ready to drink, without any need to dilute it further. 

Perhaps only a couple of ice cubes, to have a delightful iced coffee cold brew. But that’s up to you.

Being it canned and thus opened only right before drinking means that the flavors are preserved for as long as possible. A “best before” is present and if you are a lover of excellent coffee you shouldn’t think of drinking any ready-to-drink coffee close to this date, Illy’s cold brew included. 

The flavors can’t be preserved forever, and approaching the advised date of consumption means that some will be barely present anymore. The drinking experience will differ greatly from a fresh, regular, cold brew made last night.

How does it taste?

The most important question of course is how good does a ready to drink coffee taste. Specifically, how good is this Illy ready to drink cold brew?

Clearly, the blend is made for a cold brew, but it is very close to the classic blend of Illy coffee. You can thus expect a similar experience, then. A bold, Italian style, coffee, that is also extremely smooth, never bitter, and full-bodied. 

The taste is consistent with the entire range of ready to drink Illy coffee, that includes coffee that goes from the rich and full-bodied blends, to silky and smooth ones. The cold brew possesses the advantages of a typical cold brew, namely a low acidity, no bitterness whatsoever, and a medium body. 

Illy Ready to drink cold brew nutrition box

A cold brew that can be appreciated by lots of people who aren’t fans of black coffee in general, as it is mellower in taste yet smooth and delicious, as you can expect from an Illy-made coffee.

A good aroma is to be expected as well, as the cold brewing method extracts all the flavors that contribute to making the coffee smell delicious. Admittedly, the aroma isn’t something that can be easily reproduced in a canned coffee, so don’t expect miracles in this area. 

But Illy made a ready-to-drink cold brew coffee that is quite close to their hot brewed versions, and that can be consumed whenever you want without having to have even a cup to serve it in.

What is lost, inevitably, in the method of packaging and way of conservation, is balanced with the convenience of enjoying it without any effort on the consumer’s part.

In Conclusion

Illy’s ready to drink cold brew is an overall great coffee for plenty of occasions. Whether you want to enjoy it as an iced coffee for the hot days, or a quick burst of energy during your workdays, or as a refreshing treat mid-morning, Illy managed to reproduce a good cold brew experience in a canned form. 

Not as easy as you may think.

While fans of well-crafted coffee will always prefer a fresh cold brew over a ready-to-drink version, understandably, Illy’s attempt to recreate their iconic blend’s taste profile in a cold brew form and making it super-easy to drink is overall successful. 

Those who care about getting the most delicious cup of coffee every time they drink will enjoy a freshly brewed coffee over this anytime, but that’s not the market that ready-to-drink coffee are aiming at. 

The convenience of drinking it anywhere, with no preparation, and still have a good cup of coffee, are the major selling points of the ready-to-drink coffee. And a cold brew fits here perfectly, being naturally less prone to lose flavors after the brew compared to hot brews.

If you were wary of trying a ready to drink coffee so far, give this Illy’s cold brew a chance. You may be positively surprised.