Cold brew coffee appears to be overtaking iced coffee in the popularity stakes. Not only is cold brew ideal for the many who struggle to enjoy hot coffee because of its high acidity, cold brew is also very easy to make at home, without needing to buy any expensive equipment.In this article we take a look at the cold brew craze and consider how to get the most from your cold brew. If you are completely new to cold brewing, we also offer two easy ways to make cold brew at home and to help you get started with cold brew coffee, we have reviewed a selection of coffees to help you choose the best coffee for cold brewing.
The Stone Street Coffee Company cold brew made with coarse ground single origin pure arabica is our dark roast cold brew best pick.
The Fair Trade, organic and kosher Kicking Horse Coffee Smart Ass is our whole bean cold brew coffee budget pick.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Coffee for Cold Brew
- 1. Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew
- 2. Kicking Horse Coffee Smart Ass
- 3. Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light
- 4. Tiny Footprint Coffee - Organic Cold Brew
- 5. Café Du Monde Coffee and Chicory
- 6. Cold Brew Lab Ground Organic Coffee
- 7. Jo Coffee: FARMERS MARKET JO
- 8. Hugo Coffee Roasters Dog Daze Cold Brew
- 9. Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew Coffee Packs
- 10. Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee
- Things to Consider Before Buying Cold Brew Coffee
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Coffee for Cold Brew
1. Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew
The Stone Street Coffee Company cold brew coffee is specially crafted for cold brews. This is a 1 lbs. pouch of pure arabica single origin Colombian Supremo which has been roasted to a dark roast and coarse ground for a slower extraction.
This is a bold and well balanced coffee which is slightly smooth and sweet with low acidity. The pouch is a stand up pouch with a one way valve that can be resealed after use. The odd buyer considers that this coffee is on the bitter side, and at times it can be underwhelming. There can also be a risk of the pouch being damaged during shipping.
2. Kicking Horse Coffee Smart Ass
A whole bean medium roast, the Kicking Horse Coffee Smart Ass is a bright and chocolaty coffee with hints of red currant and sugar cane. Coming as a 10 oz pack, this is medium roast arabica, sourced from sustainable farmers in Africa, Central and South America. This is certified USDA organic as well as Fair Trade and it is also kosher.Some drinkers have found these beans to be on the oily side and roasted slightly dark for a medium roast. There is also a chance that you may receive beans on the older side – well past their roast date.
3. Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light
A blend of premium quality arabica beans sustainably sourced from Central and South America, the Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light is a smooth coffee with notes of chocolate and cream with a taste of citrus. Coming as a 2 lbs. bag, these lightly roasted beans are suitable for using for any type of coffee brew, including cold. These beans are also kosher, and the packaging is fully recyclable.Although as a lighter roast these are suitable for cold brew, these beans can be lacking in flavor. Some drinkers have also found this blend to be more of a medium than a light roast.
4. Tiny Footprint Coffee - Organic Cold Brew
The Tiny Footprint Coffee Cold Press Elixir is a carbon negative coffee, which means that every pound sold, a donation is made to reforestation in Ecuador. This is a pure shade grown and organic whole bean arabica that has subtle floral and bright fruit notes along with a cocoa-like body.With a 1:6 brew ratio, each 1 lbs. bag will make 1.5 gallons of cold brew. Some buyers have found this coffee lacking in taste, especially if brewed at the recommended dilution. The odd buyer has also commented that it can be slightly too acidic for a cold brew.
5. Café Du Monde Coffee and Chicory
The Café Du Monde coffee and chicory is the same blend served at Café Du Monde in New Orleans since the 1880s. Suitable for using as cold brew or traditionally brewing café au lait, this blend of dark roast coffee and chicory comes as a 15 oz can of ground coffee. There is a risk of receiving the cans damaged and the chicory flavor may not always be as strong as you would expect.
6. Cold Brew Lab Ground Organic Coffee
Available as a 1 lbs. bag of extra coarse ground or whole bean, the Cold Brew Lab coffee has a full bodied and well-rounded and smooth flavor which is low acidity. Made with specialty grade Columbian Supremo arabica beans which are certified USDA organic, this blend contains medium and dark roasted beans for an optimum cold brew.The odd drinker has found that this is a weaker coffee when cold brewed, so you may need to add more coffee to obtain cold brew with stronger flavor. It may also be not quite as smooth as you would like.
7. Jo Coffee: FARMERS MARKET JO
Certified USDA organic, Fair Trade and kosher, the Jo Coffee: FARMERS MARKET JO is available as a 12 oz or 2 lbs. bag of whole bean. This is pure arabica beans and has flavors of chocolate, sweet pecans and wild honey and is roasted to a light medium roast.The odd buyer has found this to be roasted on the drier side and even though this is a light roast, you may find it on the stronger side of other lighter roasts.
8. Hugo Coffee Roasters Dog Daze Cold Brew
The coarse ground Hugo Coffee Roasters Dog Daze cold brew is crafted for cold brew coffee and will offer flavors of chocolate, spice and nut with lower acidity. Coming as a 1 lbs. bag, the arabica beans for this brew are responsibly sourced from central Africa and the producer also donates to a shelter dog for every bag purchased. They also offer a satisfaction guarantee. The odd drinker has found they have needed to brew it stronger than recommended for more flavor
9. Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew Coffee Packs
The medium roast Dunkin’ Donuts cold brew coffee pack allows you to overnight cold brew two 48 fl. oz pitchers of coffee. Pre-ground and in individual coffee filter packs, these packs offer a rich, smooth and full bodied coffee. These are 12 hour rather than 24 hour brew packs though and you may consider it to be on the weaker side of medium roasts.
10. Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee
Optimized for cold brewing, the Bizzy Cold Brew Smooth & Sweet is a coarse ground pure arabica coffee which is USDA organic and ethically sourced from Peru and Nicaragua. This 1 lbs. bag of coffee is a blend of light, medium and dark roast beans to give a smooth and sweet finish with caramel and hazelnut flavors and low acidity.A number of buyers have been confused with the flavor notes of this coffee and have thought it actually contains hazelnuts, rather than that the taste of it has some hazelnut flavor. This blend may not be ground quite as coarse as you would like when compared to other coarse grinds, which means there is a chance of some of the grounds passing through the filter.
Things to Consider Before Buying Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee or cold press coffee is coffee which is brewed cold, rather than iced coffee or blended coffee which is brewed hot and then cold milk and/or ice is added to cool it down.
Although the flavor of cold brew will depend on the beans you use and how you brew it, the easiest way to describe cold brew is as a milder, lighter and sweeter version of a hot cup of coffee.
Cold brew is becoming more popular than iced coffee, possibly because cold brew offers a drink that is much lower in acidity and mellower than standard hot brewed coffee. This means cold brew is also better for those who suffer with acid reflux or are sensitive to acid.
The sweeter compounds in coffee are soluble in cold water, while the acids and oils in the coffee are not. It is degradation and oxidation of these acids and oils which causes the bitterness and acidity in coffee, as they degrade and oxidize quickly in water which is hot. Although cold brew is usually made at a higher grounds to water ratio than hot coffee, because the coffee is being steeped in cold water rather than hot, it oxidizes and degrades much more slowly and because the sweeter compounds are dissolved in the cold water, it gives a drink that is low acid yet still tastes like coffee.
Although cold water does not extract as much caffeine from the coffee as hot water, more coffee is used when cold brewing. This means that cold brew tends to offer a slower and prolonged caffeine boost compared to hot coffee.
Grind of Coffee for Cold Brew
If you are grinding yourself, then it should be an coarse grind which should be similar in coarseness to raw sugar. Some prefer to grind to a French Press, but if you do grind it too finely then the coffee will be over extracted and taste bitter. Generally, the longer you want to steep for, the coarser the grind should be. Finer grounds can also be prone to slipping through the filter, depending on how you are filtering your cold brew.
How to Make Cold Brew
There are two main techniques for making cold brew, either through immersion or ice drip. Immersion is the easiest way to make it at home, unless you are lucky enough to own the drip equipment required.
A small quantity of immersion cold brew coffee can be easily brewed in a French Press, with a ratio or around four or five parts cold filtered water to one part coffee. Some drinkers may dilute as much as seven or eight parts water to one part coffee.
Remember that some cold brew will need as much as double the quantity of coffee that you would use if brewing the same volume of coffee hot. This means it can cost a lot more to regularly make cold brew, although it should still cost much less than buying cold brew when out and about.
Once you have decided on your water to coffee ratio, and weighed out your coffee, then place the grounds in a French Press and slowly add the correct volume of filtered water. Do not use the plunger at this point, instead leave it off and cover the Press properly - you want to prevent any odors or flavors from contaminating the coffee. Once covered, place in the refrigerator for 12 to 14 hours. After this time, remove the cover, replace the plunger and plunge slowly as you would with fresh coffee. This is now ready to drink, though you may need to dilute it with some more filtered water first.
If you want to brew larger quantities of cold coffee through immersion, then a mason jar and filter is the easiest way to do so. The ground coffee can be tied up in a paper coffee filter and then added to a nut bag or wrapped up in a fine cheesecloth. The coffee bundle can then be carefully dropped into the mason jar with the correct volume of filtered water.
If the mason jar will not fit in your refrigerator, then you can leave it somewhere cool to steep. After steeping, it will then need straining through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into another jar or jug. When you strain your cold brew, do it slowly and avoid the temptation to prod or push the cold brew through.
Some coffees will be steeped enough after 12 hours, but for many, between 16 and 24 hours will give the best flavor of cold brew. If you brew for longer than this, there is a good chance that you will end up with very bitter cold brew.
Some cold brew will last for up to ten days if brewed properly and stored in an airtight container in a cool or cold spot, and unlike hot coffee, its flavor will not change. You can also adjust you water to coffee ratio to make an even stronger brew as a concentrate. This can then be well diluted for drinking, or you can use it as a concentrate in recipes.
Cold brew can be drunk as brewed, although it can sometimes be on the strong side or diluted with water or other liquids. You can drink it black or add some milk and enjoy over ice. If you prefer your cold brew with milk, then you may want to choose beans that have a stronger flavor.
Whichever way you brew cold press, do be prepared to experiment to obtain the best cold brew. You may need to adjust the ratio of coffee to water, its type of grind or the length of time that the coffee has to steep. If you are new to cold brew, then blends that are specially crafted for cold brewing can be very helpful to start with as these offer clear dilution instructions. Once you become confident, you can then start brewing with your own blend of beans.
Cold brew can also be heated if you do fancy a cup of hot coffee. You may need to play about with the cold brew dilution though as when you add hot water as it can be on the weak side.
What Types of Beans to Use for Cold Brew
In theory, any type of beans will make a cold brew, but you may want to keep to darker roasts if you drink your cold brew with milk and medium to lighter roasts if you prefer cold brew black.
There is expert disagreement though on which roasts are the best for cold brew. Some suggest a darker roast as this offers more cocoa, spice and nutty flavors. The fruity flavors of lighter roasts tend to extract better in hot water rather than cold so these flavors can get lost in cold brew. Lighter roasts will also need longer steeping time as the shorter roasting times of the beans means they physically need more time for their flavors to develop.
If you are new to cold brew, then perhaps start with either a light or dark roast and work towards the opposite end of the spectrum until you find the roast that you prefer.
Blended coffee is more budget friendly than single origin, especially as you need to use more coffee for cold brewing; it may be that you keep single origin for an occasional cold brew treat. One advantage of using single origin though is that cold brewing can bring out more of its subtle flavors than hot brewing can.
When you make cold brew through immersion, such as with a French Press or mason jar, this gives a fuller bodied concentrated brew while cold brew made through ice or slow drip tends to give a medium-bodied and more dilute cold brew.
If you have some older coffee floating around in the kitchen, cold brew is actually an ideal way to use it up, as cold brewing is much more forgiving of older coffees than hot brewing is.
If you are new to home cold brew coffee or discovered some time back that it is much cheaper and fun to make it yourself, then we trust that you have found this article interesting.We have taken a look at what makes cold brew what it is and why its lower acidity makes it preferable to many. We trust that you have found some of our tips useful, and that our reviews of some of the best coffee for cold brew have been helpful; offering you the opportunity to try it out for yourself and see how enjoyable cold brew coffee really is.