For thousands of Americans, cold coffee is more than a beverage or a preference–it has become a lifestyle. In both summer and winter, morning and night, consumption of iced coffee is at an all-time high. But buying coffee on the road every day can put a strain on the budget.
Luckily, preparing your cold brew at home has never been easier. We tested a wide variety of products and found Cold Brew Lab Organic Coffee Beans, Colombian Supremo, Dark Roast to be our top pick for the best coffee for cold brew.
While you can brew any type of beans in the cold brew method, this roaster is unique because it specifically formulated its coffee to create the ultimate cold brew. They offer both whole bean and pre-ground options, giving you a choice to grind your beans at home or opt for the convenience of not taking this step.
This article will take you through our top 9 choices for the best coffee for cold brew. Ready to discover everything you need to know about buying and brewing cold brew coffee at home? Read on to learn more!
Our Picks for the Best Coffee for Cold Brew
Without further ado, here are our top nine picks for the best coffee for cold brew in 2022!
We have already begun discussing the unique aspects of Cold Brew Lab’s dark roast beans, but there is much more to say about this roaster’s organic coffee.
It is a full-bodied dark roast blend that features tasting notes of dark chocolate and roasted nuts. Although a blend, it is made of 100% organic Arabica beans harvested in Colombia and roasted in New York City.
Another one of our top picks for cold brew beans is from Tiny Footprint Coffee. This company is carbon negative, as they commit to planting trees in the Ecuadorian rainforest for each pound of coffee sold. By engaging in reforestation as well as using biodegradable coffee bags and low-energy solutions for roasting, Tiny Footprint truly lives up to its name.
As for their cold brew coffee, it’s some of the best on the market. It blends light and dark roast coffees, making it a well-balanced medium roast suited to any taste. The people at Tiny Footprint composed the blend using coffee from multiple countries, spiked with some of the best Ethiopian beans. This blend has strong cocoa-tasting notes with more subtle fruity and floral undertones.
We love this cold brew blend from Stone Cold JO because of its high-quality beans, unique flavor profile, and versatility (it is also delicious when brewed hot). This cold brew blend is crafted out of Stone Cold JO’s micro-roastery and is USDA certified Organic as well as Fair Trade Certified.
The roasters specially select only the top 2% of Arabica beans grown worldwide for this dark roast blend that features tasting notes of toffee, caramel, chocolate, and grape. Although it can also be brewed hot, this roast is specifically designed to shine when made into a cold brew.
Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee comes pre-ground, making it a great option for people who don’t have time to spend grinding their own beans at home. It is specifically crafted for cold brew, meaning that the beans come ground to the ideal coarse size to brew the perfect cup.
A medium roast with notes of caramel and hazelnut, Bizzy’s cold brew coffee blend will please people of all palates. They put Organic Arabica beans from Central and South America through unique micro-sifting technology to achieve a uniform coarse grind that results in a smooth, less gritty cup of cold brew.
Stack Street is a well-known brand in the gourmet coffee industry and for good reasons. This micro-roastery is known for its sustainable practices, including that they source all of its coffee beans directly from farmers in South and Central America. Doing so allows them to ensure that all of the coffee is grown without the use of artificial chemicals or fertilizers.
This particular roast is one of their most popular. It is a single-origin coffee from Columbia that is specifically formulated for cold brew. As stated in the name, it used Supremo (extra-large) Arabica beans in order to maximize flavor. They are pre-ground to an ideal coarse size to result in a sweet, smooth, and bold cup of coffee with low acidity.
Stack Street’s Columbian Cold Brew is a dark roast, which is well suited to iced preparations. It is delicious to drink black or with the additions of milk, cream, or flavors.
Stone Street is one of the top-rated specialty coffee companies in 2022. They offer subscription services to their customers to make brewing coffee at home as simple as possible. You save money on their coffee when you subscribe and can also save by purchasing larger amounts of beans.
This cold brew reserve comes from various regions in Columbia and is grown at a high altitude for superior flavor. It is a low-acidity dark roast blend that highlights chocolate and nut-tasting notes. These tasting notes are not any artificial flavor added to the beans but the natural flavors of the coffee bought out by cold brewing.
Lifeboost uses coffee beans grown under tree cover in high elevations for premium flavor and roasts them to a well-balanced medium roast. This roast is a single-origin coffee that comes from Nicaragua, where they are hand-picked and sun-dried for premium quality.
This gourmet medium roast coffee is a great low-acid option with a smooth cocoa and nut flavor profile. The beans undergo a special fermentation process that lasts 26 hours and allows the roasters to remove the tough skins of the coffee plant without damaging the fragile seeds.
We had to include San Francisco Bay Coffee’s Colombian Supremo in this roundup. This roast is a single-origin made with beans grown in the mountainous Antioquia region of Columbia. The tasting notes are smooth, flavorful, and aromatic, making this a perfect option for preparing cold.
This coffee is a medium roast, which means you can taste the unique and exotic flavors of the Antioquia region while also getting a balanced and deeper cup.
Coffee Bros’ Cold Brew Blend is a well-balanced medium roast that tastes dark chocolate, berry, and brown sugar. Yum! They use coffee originating in both Ethiopia and Brazil for this custom blend and process the beans to an ideal medium roast in small batches.
They only sell whole bean coffee, meaning they prioritize flavor and freshness for your perfect cup.
This coffee bean buying guide will teach you everything you need to know about roast levels, single origins vs. blends, flavor profiles, and whole bean vs. pre-ground coffee.
Roast level refers to how long the coffee beans have been heat-processed at the roastery.
Lighter roast coffees tend to have fruitier, more floral flavor profiles and very little to no oil on the beans’ surface. They are excellent for tasting the unique qualities the beans possess based on the region, temperature, and weather where they were grown.
Dark roast coffees are often thought of as ideal for cold-brew. They are roasted for the longest time, reducing the natural acidity levels in the beans and making for a smooth, neutral cup. Dark roast coffees take on additions quite well, making them an ideal roast for people who prefer their coffee with cream or flavor add-ins.
Medium roast coffees offer the best of both worlds. They have a lower level of acidity than light roasts but often more complexity of flavor than dark roasts. They are delicious when consumed black but also go well with additions of milk and sugar, making them a versatile option for every coffee-lover. One could say they are like the Goldilocks of the different coffee roasts!
Single Origin or Blend
Most coffee companies will specify somewhere on their bag if their beans are a single origin or a blend. Simply put, single origin means that all of the beans in that batch were grown and harvested from a single farm or small region of the world.
With single origins, you can taste the most original, pure, and robust natural flavors of the beans. They tend to be more expensive to produce and to buy as a consumer.
Blends, on the other hand, combine coffee grown in multiple regions. Sometimes this will be from multiple regions of one country. Other times a blend can contain coffee grown on entirely different continents! For this reason, blended roasts tend to be more well-balanced and less expensive than their single-origin counterparts.
Baffled by what coffee specialists mean by “tasting notes?” We’ll answer all of your questions about coffee flavor profiles right here.
The flavor profile of a coffee simply refers to the specific tasting notes naturally present in a coffee. Flavors can range from bright and fruity to deep, chocolatey, and smoky, depending on the coffee and the roast level.
These flavors are not artificially added to the coffee and are often extremely subtle notes that come out when you sip the coffee slowly and focus on what your taste buds are experiencing.
If Using Pre-Ground
There’s nothing wrong with using pre-ground coffee for your cold brew preparations at home. One note to keep in mind is to choose a coarse ground coffee for the best, smoothest brew. It will be much easier to filter coarse ground coffee than fine ground when you reach the end of the extraction period. All nine coffees on our list are either whole bean or coarse ground.
This section will cover some frequently asked questions about preparing cold brew coffee at home!
What is cold brew?
Cold brew is a type of chilled coffee made with either cold or room-temperature water. This makes it unique, as coffee is traditionally prepared with hot water. Extraction happens over a long period of time, most often between 18 and 24 hours.
Many people prefer it to other types of iced coffee, which are brewed with hot water and then chilled because it has a smooth, never-bitter flavor.
Immersion vs. cold drip cold brewing
Immersion cold brewing is the easier of the two brewing methods to get into. All it requires is immersing coarse-ground coffee beans in water, steeping for 8-24 hours, and then filtering. It requires no special equipment and is perfect for beginners.
Cold drip brewing, on the other hand, is more like a science experiment than anything else. It looks like a glass tower with beakers, funnels, and tubes. It works by emitting a steady drip of cold water over a pile of coffee grounds, slowly saturating them, and extracting the coffee over a long period of time.
This method is more designed for connoisseurs of cold brew who have the time and funds to dedicate to perfecting a more intense brewing method. One of the benefits is that it only takes 3-6 hours to complete, as opposed to an overnight extraction.
Should I use a whole bean or pre-ground coffee?
Whether you use a whole bean or pre-ground coffee is entirely up to you. Both options have their advantages, and one is not inherently better than the other.
Some freshness and flavor are lost when coffee beans are pre-ground; however, this option is a lot more convenient for people who don’t own a grinder or want to take that extra step in their morning routine.
Whole bean coffee preserves a great deal of freshness and ultimately results in a better-tasting coffee. However, it does take more time and effort to grind the beans yourself.
What is the best ratio for cold brew coffee?
The best ratio for cold brew coffee is up to personal preference, but we think an ideal starting point is 1:5 (1 part coffee and five parts water). This ratio will produce a cold brew concentrate that is typically then diluted with water or milk.
Cold Brew Recipe
This recipe will take you step-by-step through the process of cold immersion brewing. Grab your favorite bag of beans and get started!
- Start with any non-reactive container, such as a mason jar or a French press.
- If you are using whole bean coffee, grind your beans to a coarse, even texture.
- Combine a 1:5 ratio of coffee grinds to fresh, filtered water in your brewing container.
- Cover your container and store it in the fridge for between 18 and 24 hours. The longer the coffee steeps, the stronger it will be.
- When it’s steeped to your taste, sift out the grounds using a paper filter or cheesecloth.
- Dilute, add milk (if desired), and enjoy!
For a step-by-step guide, check out our post How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at home.
The best cold brew coffee for you will depend on your personal taste, preference, and budget. There is a huge variety of great options on the market, and don’t be afraid to taste more than one to find out which is the right one for you.
However, our top recommendation is Cold Brew Lab Organic Coffee Beans, Colombian Supremo, Dark Roast. It’s a classic dark roast blend that makes for a delicious cup of cold brew. Try it out to see for yourself!