Brewing up the perfect cold brew involves a few different key variables. But certainly, one of the most important would be the best coffee for cold brew.
Now while it may be tempting to end this article here and say, “choose whatever fits your tastes” some coffee lovers, especially those just wanting to try homemade cold brew for the first time, may want something a bit more, well, detailed.
We have found some of the best coffee for cold brew taking into account things like origins and what kind of flavors one can expect with each of these beans. Cool beans, right?
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Lower in acidity and higher in sugar browning this coffee is sweet and smooth. By itself or paired with dairy it's cold brew heaven.
Top 5: Best Coffee For Cold Brew
The 5 Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew
1. Onyx Coffee Lab Cold Brew
This cold brew is hard to pass up. It's our favorite.
Produced by the Onyx company, this blend includes Ethiopian and Guatemalan beans cultivated at least 1850 meters up.
So, right off the bat, you are dealing with some choice beans, and interestingly enough, on their own, Ethiopian and Guatemalan beans respectively are said to be ideal for cold brewing.
But a blend of these two champion level beans is out of this world delicious.
The flavor palette one may expect with these beans will really come alive and result in a thick, rich, delectable and superb cold brew. Cocoa, dates, brown sugar, and stone fruit.
2. Tiny Footprint Coffee Organic Cold Press Elixir
An environmentally friendly option for those wanting a more sustainable bean for their cold brewing experience.
The Tiny Footprints Coffee company is partnered with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation and plants a tree in the Ecuadorian cloud forest for every pound of their coffee they sell.
That's not all, they produce one heck of a good bean blend with this item!
High altitude, shade-grown Arabica results in near-perfect beans already, and as a cold brew?
It's heavenly! Expect a texture comparable to silk with a cocoa body that unlocks and displays some fruitier and more floral notes.
3. Death Wish Coffee Blend
The Death Wish Coffee company is said to procure the world's strongest coffee.
We don't disagree with that and it's one of the best coffees for cold brew.
Don't take this reputation lightly, these beans can and will serve up one powerful caffeine buzz.
An organic blend of Robusta and Arabica, Death Wish's beans have a flavor palette that makes a tasty, yet dangerous combination.
Cherry and chocolate produce a "death by chocolate" palette if you will.
Brew this one up cold style, if you dare!
4. Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee
Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee is a fan favorite and known for it's course grounds that provide an exceptional final cold bre product.
Bizzy Cold Brew is USDA Organic and ethically sourced from Peru and Nicaragua.
Light, medium, and dark roasted Arabica beans deliver a phenomenal smooth and sweet finish. Another perk for Bizzy Coffee, it's quite affordable!
5. Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Columbian Single Origin
The details alone for this exceptional product from Stone Street will explain for itself why this item found its way onto a top 5 cold brew coffee beans list.
A single origin Arabica bean from Colombia, dark roasted and coarsely ground to perfection.
That profile spells out quality cold brew, or hot brew for that matter.
Now as for the flavor itself, expect some caramel notes with a dark chocolate taste profile.
For those on the lookout for one of the best beans for cold brew, you have certainly found some with this exquisite selection!
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Seriously, what is cold brew anyway? And can’t I just use the same beans I like with my regular hot coffee?
These are two very valid questions.
For starters, cold brew is a method of preparing coffee by steeping or infusing the grounds right in cold water.
This unlocks a special and different chemical reaction in the beans that results in a less bitter and astringent taste to the coffee.
Depending on the beans you are using, a very different and unique flavor palette can even emerge, one that may be quite nuanced in comparison to the same beans when they are hot brewed.
Oh and cold brew is tasty and refreshing, can't forget those two important facts.
What Coffee Beans Are Best For Cold Brew?
To really optimize your cold brew, the roast type and grind size are also important variables.
For optimal cold brew, go for bigger grinds.
However, don't go over the top because too large of a grind will cause your brew to be underdeveloped and weak.
Finer grinds can become over-extracted and result in a not-so-pleasant bitter and astringent taste, sort of akin to the one we are trying to avoid by cold brewing in the first place.
As for the roast type, traditionally light and medium roasts were the best coffee for cold brew, with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe hailed as one of the most perfect beans for cold brewing.
That said, there's no right or wrong and you should feel free to use any region or roast type you like.
The reason light roasts were hailed as the best coffee for cold brew, is because the acidity of lightly roasted beans is more tolerable in the cold brewing process.
This will free up some latent flavors that only get released during a cold brewing without a more acidity taste and experience. Light roasts are also more conducive to larger grind sizes which are also important for a cold brew.
That doesn't mean one shouldn't count out the dark roasts though.
Dark roasts take a shorter amount of time to release their flavors because the roasting process has weakened the cell structure of the beans.
Dark roasts also have some delectable chocolaty flavor profiles they can unveil, while some light roasts can turn out a bit bland with a muted flavor palette in comparison.
The best coffee for cold brew is one that you like and we can almost guarantee you're going to try a few before you find the one!
Where Did Cold Brew Come From?
Starbuck's? Some boutique cafe in Sydney or Houston? No, go further back. Different continent, too.
Cold brew's origins can be traced to coffee-loving Dutch sailors from the 1700 and 1800's.
Sailing on big merchant vessels requires lots of hard work. And who would want to do any work let alone hard work without some coffee?
The problem was, hot brewed coffee would go bad and also just taste a bit off on long voyages, so the method of brewing the coffee in cold water was developed instead.
This also allowed coffee supplies to be prepared and kept on board without spoiling for long voyages out at sea.
This method became kind of a lost art for a while, but it was preserved by Japanese and Korean coffee enthusiasts who had contact with Dutch traders during the Age of Exploration when the traders from the Netherlands would visit ports like Nagasaki.
Today it has become a tour de force of the coffee world.
How Does Cold Brew Differ From Hot Coffee?
Besides the obvious of one being hot and the other, well, cold, the flavor palette is certainly one of the biggest differences to take note of.
Iced coffee still retains a similar flavor palette to hot brew due to having been brewed hot but cooled later.
Cold brew on the other hand is a different flavor experience entirely.
Another difference would also be the shelf life of these two methods. Cold brew can be stored up to a week.
Some adventurous brewers have even claimed they have enjoyed cold brew for up to a month. We can't attest to that so try it at your own risk!
How Long Does It Take To Make Cold Brew Coffee?
Without heat the flavor extraction takes longer. The low temperature achieves a reduced acidity of the brew coffee.
Cold brews require 12-24 hours to really steep and unlock the full flavor and aroma potential. The longer brew time is another reason to use a slightly less fine grind.
Using too fine of a grind when making cold brew can result in bitter coffee.
Equipment For Cold Brew
Cold brewing really doesn't require much. You really just need something that can hold water and beans. A pitcher with a spout would be ideal but, certainly not a must. When using grounds be sure to use a quality cold brew filter.
If you want to get a little fancy you can check out cold brew coffee makers. They're designed to make cold brewing as easy as possible.
As long as you get the best coffee for cold brew and understand that while just about every bean can be brewed hot...not every bean is meant to be cold brewed.
The best thing about cold brew is that it's forgiving. You've got this and once you brew up that first really perfect jar or bottle of rich, thick, velvety and smooth brew you will be chilling your coffee even during the winter.
The best coffee for cold brew all depends on your preference. Don't be afraid to experiment with what type of roasts suit your taste.
Are you more for the subtle, fruity and floral flavor profiles of a lighter roast? Or do you prefer that dessert-like thick and chocolaty flavor variety that comes when you opt for dark roasts? Maybe something in between?
Whatever your preference may be, just remember cold brew can be a blend or single bean, shake things up until you find your favorite and enjoy!