Cold-brew coffee is well-liked, and it’s easy to see why as it offers a refreshing and smooth taste. It’s available in most coffee shops, and you can also make it yourself.
One of the most significant advantages is you can batch-brew it, leaving you enough for the following week. A French press or a mason jar is perfect for making cold brew, meaning it needn’t cost a considerable amount in equipment, while there are many simple coffee makers available too.
So, what type of coffee beans is best for making cold brew? This detailed rundown of options will demonstrate how to choose the best cold brew coffee and offer our top 10 recommendations.
How To Choose The Best Coffee for Cold Brew
Because the cold brewing process requires a long immersion time, it’s best to opt for a coarse grind size.
If you’re going to use pre-ground coffee, plenty of roasters are happy to grind the beans to a coarse size for you to use straight away.
We have attempted to make cold brew with both medium and coarse grinds, spending the same amount of time and using the same measures of coffee with each. Surprisingly, there isn’t a vast difference between the two finished products. Cold brew made with medium grinds is slightly more bitter and more pungent tasting. However, this difference is subtle after dilution, and both are excellent with either water or milk added.
While medium grounds work well, if you use a grind as fine as that used for espresso, it’s difficult to strain the grounds. Meanwhile, the coffee will be over-extracted, leading to a bitter and unpleasant taste. Finer grinds can also become lumped together, which prevents the coffee from moving unhindered through the coffee grounds for the best extraction.
In summary, then, opt for medium or coarse grinds when brewing cold brew, and you should be OK.
We think any roast is suitable for cold brew. However, it comes down to your personal tastes.
We’ve attempted cold brew using the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe light roast coffee. We steeped it for 18 hours, and the coffee retained a fruity and floral aroma. However, it had a mellow taste rather than the high acidity you’d typically associate with Yirgacheffe coffee. We also attempted the dark roast coffee, which had a chocolatey, nutty taste and a strong aftertaste but without bitterness.
Because the coffee is immersed in water at a low temperature for an extended period, you can’t extract many flavor compounds, and that’s one of the advantages of it. That’s because the acidic and very bitter taste is replaced with a smooth and mellow flavor.
If you are a fan of sweeter coffee, opt for a medium or light roast. However, if you prefer a rich and robust flavor, try the dark roast instead. If you’re new to making cold brew coffee, medium or medium-dark is an excellent place to start.
If you add cream or milk to your coffee, dark roast with milk is a satisfying combination.
Blends Or Single Origin
Single origins are usually more expensive than blends. However, they will offer a better appreciation of what you do and don’t like. This is also the case with cold brew coffee, albeit to a lesser extent.
Cold brewing methods make it tricky to detect some of the more delicate and subtle coffee bean flavors. Meanwhile, not every soluble will be extracted. So, don’t be surprised if some of the flavors you’d ordinarily expect from premium single-origin beans are lacking in the cold coffee. You’ll also find some of the complexity of hot brew is missing in cold brewing process. For this reason, blends and even supermarket coffee are good to make cold brew coffee, meaning you can avoid the cost of single-origin coffee and still get good results.
For coffee experts whose tastes are reserved enough to detect the difference, single-origin beans are your best bet.
Best Coffee For Making Cold Brew – Our Top 10
1. LifeBoost Biotic Cold Brew
LifeBoost is concerned with sustainability. Their coffee beans are certified organic by the USDA, while the beans they use are fair trade, non-GMO, kosher, low acid, hand-picked, and slow-roasted. In other words, these are exceptionally high-quality beans.
The beans grow in the shade in Central America at an altitude of 5,700 feet. The result is a clean finish and a robust flavor. In conjunction with the cold brew method, this low-acidity coffee removes excess acidity to make this coffee gentle on your stomach.
Not only that, but LifeBoost has a proprietary probiotic. The formula is patented and helps the probiotics tolerate the stomach acid to take them to where they are needed. As well as improving the health of your gut, probiotics can also give your immune system a boost and reduce inflammation.
These beans are coarsely ground, making them ideal for cold brew. Place the ground coffee in the container of your choosing, pour in the water, and wait for between 12 and 24 hours. When the brewing process is complete, you can enjoy healthy and tasty cold coffee drinks.
Try LifeBoost coffee with 50% OFF discount here.
2.Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve
Stone Street is a Brooklyn-based roaster. They are dedicated to sourcing their beans intimately and ethically, leading to associations with some of the world’s best growing regions and coffee farms.
Stone Street’s Cold Brew Reserve consists of Single Origin 100% Arabica Colombian Supremo beans. Coffee from Colombia is known for its fruity notes and robust flavor. It’s dark roasted to offer a smooth, slightly sweet, bold and well-balanced flavor.
You can buy it as either whole beans or pre-ground, and it’s specially produced for cold brew. That means if you opt for the pre-ground beans, you are assured that they’re ready-made for cold brew.
The Cold Brew Reserve’s flavor is very popular with those who have tried it. It’s also a convenient option for people new to cold brew who would like to make a few cups before taking any chances with beans of more exotic flavor profile. However, even the most experienced cold brew lovers use this brand as its classic flavor is hard to beat.
3.Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted
Koffee Kult is a company based in Hollywood, Florida, that was established in 2010. It is now firmly placed as South Florida’s most prominent family-operated and owned roaster. Koffee Kult specializes in small batches of blends and single-origin beans.
The dark roasted blend contains beans from Guatemala, Colombia, and Sumatra. It offers a robust, heavy-bodied, and strong cup of coffee. It also has a clean and smooth finish. In its flavors, you will be able to detect cocoa and cinnamon.
Koffee Kult only has the whole bean option, so this is one for people who like to grind their beans. Remember that grinding beans for cold brew, you’ll need a coarse grind for the best results. You can also use these beans for pour over and French press coffee.
4.Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee Coarse Ground Coffee
Bizzy is a highly-regarded company, with cold brew its specialty. Bizzy has a range of coffee beans for cold brew exclusively, as well as a cold brew coffee that’s ready to drink, a hassle-free coffee brew bag, and concentrates.
The company is located in Minneapolis and began life with two people determined to produce the world’s best coffee for cold brew. The recipe they use has been in development for several years, and they even consider their grinding “special.” The company sifts the grounds for perfect extraction with consistent grind size.
The Smooth and Sweet blend consists of Guatemalan, Peruvian, and Nicaraguan Arabica coffee beans that are 100% organic. This is rubber-stamped with the USDA organic certification. The company sources all its beans ethically from locations in South and Central America.
For added convenience, the company uses pitcher packs for all its coffee grounds. That means you just need to find a container, place the pitcher pack inside it and add water. Then, the next day, your cold brew will be ready to drink.
If you are looking for the best coffee for cold brew, Bizzy is a great place to start.
5.Tiny Footprint Coffee – Organic Cold Brew Cold Press Elixer
Tiny Footprint is dedicated to environmentally sound ethics, which we love. It’s a brilliant roaster offering excellent value. For each pound of coffee bought from Tiny Footprint, the company plants trees in Ecuador’s cloud forest to offset the carbon needed to produce it.
Tiny Footprint offers coffee beans for cold brew. Its Cold Press Elixer uses Arabica coffee that’s grown in the shade and is 100% organic. It combines dark and light roasts with some premium-quality Ethiopian beans. The flavor is silky, rich, and sweet, with delicate floral, fruity tones with a cocoa-type body.
The coffee is reasonably mild and smooth to taste, so it’s perfect for people who prefer less a bold beverage. However, if you do like robust coffee, it might not be for you as some users have complained it is too weak.
There are options of whole beans for those who like to grind their own and pre-ground beans.
6.Flavored Cold Brew By Inspired Coffee
This is the sole flavored coffee in this review. If you enjoy flavored coffee, this is well worth trying as Inspired Coffee offers a range of flavored coffee beans for cold brew. These include vanilla, hazelnut, snickerdoodle, caramel, mocha, and others.
This is also a six-pack sampler you can try before deciding which full-sized pack to purchase. The sampler has half a dozen classic flavors, with each of its 4oz bags making an entire batch of cold brew in a standard coffee pitcher without any hassle.
Because the synthetic flavor masks the natural coffee flavor, many brands of flavored coffee opt for low-quality beans, but not Inspired Coffee. They use 100% Arabica single-origin Colombian supremo coffee beans.
The company grinds its beans to a size specifically for cold brewing method, so you don’t require a grinder.
7.Cold Brew Lab Organic Coarse Ground Coffee
As the name suggests, this company, located in New York, is wholly dedicated to cold brew. Indeed, the roast, blend, and source of the beans are perfect for this immersion method.
The company uses 100% Arabica Colombian supremo beans. They’re also USDA-certified organic and pesticide-free. The brewed coffee is smooth, well-rounded, and full-bodied, and has low acidity.
It mixes dark and medium roasted coffee beans. This combination produces a one-off roast level that is ideal for a great cold-brew flavor. The result is a bold, very smooth, tasty, and robust coffee without bitterness.
Cold Brew Lab offers either pre-ground coffee that’s ready to use or whole beans for those who like to grind their beans.
8.Coffee Bros. Cold Brew Blend
Coffee Bros. is a recently established roaster run by a pair of brothers dedicated to producing excellent coffee. What sets the company apart is its determination to source only premium-quality coffee beans and roasting in small batches. This helps ensure that every roast receives the attention and care it needs.
Another commitment of Coffee Bros. is to the environment and ensuring the farmers are treated ethically. To that end, 1% of its revenue is donated to One Tree Planted.
The beans used in the Coffee Bros Cold Brew Blend are sourced from Brazil and Ethiopia. Varieties include Red Catuai, Yellow Catuai, and Ethiopian Heirloom. The beans also go through natural processing, which improves the sweetness. They are then roasted gently to accentuate that character further. The finished product is a coffee with berry, brown sugar, and chocolate flavors in a smooth brew.
The medium roast brew is ideal for people craving the juicy, sweet flavors you’d typically expect of cold-brew coffee.
Coffee Bros. offers whole beans only and roasts every batch to order. This makes sure that the coffee you purchase is as fresh as it can be.
9.Kicking Horse Coffee, Smart Ass, Medium Roast, Whole Bean
Kicking Horse coffee was established a quarter of a century ago in the Canadian Rockies. This roaster is committed to using only 100% certified Fairtrade and organic Arabica beans. The blends used in Smart Ass are medium roasted in the Rockies and consist of beans from South America, Central America, and Africa.
Kicking Horse’s coffees are well-known for the caffeine buzz they offer. Cold brewing is an excellent choice for the medium roast. Its aroma is vanilla bean, sweet syrup, and stone fruit. Meanwhile, the flavor notes feature milk chocolate, tart red currant, and sugar cane. The body is a honeyberry.
As well being excellent for cold brew, this is also a great choice for other coffee brewing methods, such as espresso, pour over, French press, or drip coffee. If you don’t want to wait for a day, you can make hot coffee over ice cubes to make iced coffee with this brand.
Kicking Horse coffee is well-liked by its customers and has thousands of excellent reviews, making this a safe bet for making cold brew.
10.Organic Cold Brew Coffee, Colombian Reserve – Cooper’s Cask Coffee Store
Cooper’s Cask coffee scours the world to source the best grade one single-origin beans. Meanwhile, the company itself is committed to making the most satisfying coffee possible. It even cups each batch it imports to ensure the best quality control.
This particular Colombian coffee is produced with cold brewing in mind. The company profiled the coffee using the whole roast spectrum and opted for medium-dark. This retains the dark roast taste while elevating the bean’s natural flavors.
The brew has subtle fruity flavors and a smooth taste, amounting to a dark roast coffee that’s well-balanced.
You can either buy it as a coarse pre-ground or as whole beans. Either way, it makes for an excellent cold brew option.
The company also has Guatemalan single-origin coffee with hints of creamy caramel, milk chocolate, and orange, and Peruvian coffee with notes of orange, cherry, and caramel. If you’re interested in trying all of them, there is a box of samples available, allowing you to enjoy them before buying a full-sized pack.
Benefits of Cold Brewing Coffee At Home?
You Don’t Need Barista-Level Experience
Cold brewing leaves plenty of margin for error and doesn’t require a huge amount of experience or skill. With other brewing methods, such as pour over or espresso, your skill level will influence the end result’s quality. However, if you ensure you always use the same grind size, brew time, and brew ratio in the cold brewing process, your results will be consistently good.
Making cold brew takes away much of the acidity and bitterness because some of the solubles and acids only become present when brewing coffee at high temperatures. This means that for coffee lovers with sensitive stomachs, cold brewing is a kinder option.
If you’re using one of the coffees we’ve profiled in this article and make coffee concentrate when you dilute it with water or milk, the cost of your cup of cold coffee won’t even be $1. That means you can have a cold brew with the quality of the type you’d find in your local coffee shop for a considerably cheaper cost.
It Saves Time
Cold brew coffee will stay fresh for a lot longer than hot-brewed coffee. That means you can make a week’s supply at a time, knowing it will be good to drink for that length of time. Add one part of your coffee concentrate to one to two parts of milk or water, along with some ice cubes, and you can enjoy coffee throughout the week that you brewed in advance, saving you precious time in the mornings.
An Easy Recipe For Making Cold Brew Coffee At Home
You can prepare cold brew in as little as 10 minutes using a mason jar. If you can’t find a mason jar, don’t worry – almost any container you can find will do as good a job. The following recipe results in a concentrated coffee that you can add milk or water to.
- Coarsely grind your beans (or, if you’re using pre-ground beans, move to step 2).
- Add your desired amount of coffee grounds to your container. For example, 100g would be a good amount – we’d recommend using a scale for accuracy.
- Add room temperature water to fill the container. Aim for 3-5 times more water than coffee. So, if you used 100g coffee, add 300ml to 500ml water according to taste.
- Stir the mixture, then place the lid on the container.
- Allow the mixture to stand at either room temperature or refrigerated for 18-24 hours.
- Strain the coffee.
- Add two parts of milk or water for one part of coffee according to taste.
- Store the remaining coffee concentrate in your fridge for later use.
If you want to know more details about making cold brew using different tools at home. Check out the following cold brew instructions:
Conclusion – What’s the Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew?
There is no rule as to which coffee is the best for cold brewing – it all comes down to preference.
Feel free to experiment until you find the right taste for you. If you enjoy robust coffee that you take with milk, a dark roast coffee is a good one to start with. However, if you prefer hot-brewed coffee that’s light roasted, try a medium roast for cold brewing method. There are options in our rundown of quality cold brew coffees to suit people on a budget, those wanting premium-quality, and coffee enthusiasts who like flavored brews.
However, if we had to choose just one from our list, we’d opt for the following:
Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve
The classic flavor provided by this coffee means that whether you’re new to cold brew or have been enjoying it for years, there’s something here for you. The coffee is smooth, well-balanced, and enjoys a fantastic reputation with most coffee lovers who’ve tried it. Not only that, but it isn’t that costly, and in any case, you’ll save plenty of money over time by brewing your cold coffee rather than purchasing it from a coffee shop.
Whichever coffee from our list you choose, we are convinced you’ll find making cold brew enjoyable, with a satisfying and delicious coffee to show for your efforts. Better still, you can batch-brew it saving you precious time throughout the week.
If you’re new to cold brewing, you can rest assured it’s one of the simplest brewing methods around with plenty of margin for error. Give it a go – you might just find it takes your enjoyment of coffee to another level, and all while saving money in the process!