Brewed Coffee Guide

Best Coffees for Cold Brew

December 20, 2021 | Kurt Parker

Cold brew coffee is one of those drinks that just hits the spot… especially on a hot summer day. It’s sweet, light, and a bit fruity to the tongue that you forget it’s a highly-caffeinated coffee drink. But that’s probably why you love it so much!

The cold brew process is a simple one. Put your ground coffee in a container, and pour cold water over it. Let it soak for 12-24 hours, then strain the coffee grounds out and enjoy!

This is an easy way to make your own iced coffee at home without having to buy any special equipment. But there’s more. Read below.

Cold Brew Coffee in glass on a hot summer day

It can be a hard thing, though, to find the right coffee beans for this wonderfully brewed coffee. I mean, it does take 12 to 24 hours to make it. Which is why knowing the best coffee beans to suit the process is essential!

Lucky for you, our Coffeeholic team has made Cold Brew from the finest coffee beans we could find so you wouldn’t have to go and buy everything from the rack!

Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew Coffee

Here are our top five picks of the best coffee beans for making Cold Brew coffee:

  1. Cafe Du Monde Coffee Chicory (Best Overall)
  2. Volcanica Coffee (Best Iced Java)
  3. Death Wish Coffee (Most Potent Coffee)
  4. Lifeboost Coffee Light Roast (Healthiest Choice)
  5. Stone Street Cold Brew (Most Balanced)
  6. Steeped Coffee Single Serve Coffee Bags (Travel Friendly)

#1 Cafe Du Monde Coffee Chicory – Best Overall

Cafe Du Monde Coffee Chicory is a blend of Coffee and Chicory that’s pleasant to the taste.

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, it will remind you of the wilderness with its dirt-like smell. Not to be taken in a bad way, it adds character and charm to the brew.

 

 Cafe Du Monde Coffee & Chicory and Beignet Mix Set

It’s a convenient choice for the lazy brewer, coming as pre ground coffee. Although not too fine that it’s going to be a muddy cold brew.

We liked this because…

  • It’s extremely smooth to taste with minimum bitterness detected.
  • The beans are versatile enough that it comes out delicious whether brewed hot or cold.
  • It pairs well with milk and cream.
  • It’s an inexpensive choice of coffee.

What could be better…

  • The Chicory blend wasn’t enjoyed by everyone in the team. It’s more of an acquired taste.
  • There is less caffeine because of the chicory blend.
  • It deprived us of grinding the beans ourselves.

Coffee Beans – Dark Roast

Flavor Notes – Rich, Bold and Smoky

Rating – 4.8 out of 5

#2 Volcanica Coffee – Best Iced Java

Volcanica Coffee has created a special Cold Brew coffee blend with Arabica beans originating from Sumatra. Characterized with low acidity, their Cold Brew coffee blend has specially undergone washed processing.

 

 Cold Brew Coffee, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce

Volcanica Coffee sings its appeal to cold Java devotees with its fruity and floral aromatics and earthy undertones.

It comes in whole bean form, great for people who like to grind it out in the morning.

We liked this because…

  • It’s got great earthy aroma, almost chocolatey, with a rich and thick consistency.
  • It has an almost exotic feel to its cold brew yields, providing nuanced flavors from earthy to floral to fruity to chocolate.
  • It’s great to drink on its own.

What could be better…

  • It’s a bit tangy, almost sour, for people who don’t like fruity coffee flavors.
  • It’s already made from less acidic beans, making the cup feel less like coffee which our coffee loving friends didn’t like.

Coffee Beans – Medium Roast

Flavor Notes – Fruity, Floral, and Earthy

Rating – 4.3 out of 5

#3 Death Wish Coffee – Most Potent

Dubbed as the ‘strongest coffee’ in the world, Death Wish Coffee is an Arabica and Robusta blend that packs a kick.

 

 DEATH WISH Ground Coffee [16 Oz.] Bundle with DEATH WISH Whole Bean Coffee

Death Wish Coffee isn’t specifically made for Cold Brew but that’s why it’s so beloved! Because it’s so bold in taste, it’s a perfect choice for cold brewing to mellow down.

It creates a mean cold brew concentrate that’s great for dairy products as well.

We liked this because…

  • It’s versatile. It can be brewed hot or cold and still make strong, delicious coffee.
  • It’s bold, dark and has the right amount of bitterness to an iced coffee.
  • It’s Organic!

What could be better…

  • It’s not great for a midnight cup of joe, especially a Cold Brew version high in caffeine.
  • It’s likely to cause unwanted palpitations, better steer-clear if you have heart problems as it packs a really mean caffeinated punch.
  • We got the pre ground version!

Coffee Beans – Medium Roast and Dark Roast

Flavor Notes – Bold with subtle Cherry and Chocolate Notes

Rating – 4.7 out of 5

#4 Lightboost Coffee Light Roast – Healthiest Choice

 Lifeboost Coffee Light Roast Ground Coffee

Now here’s something you don’t see very often: a blonde roast for cold brew. Lightboost Coffee is a whole bean single-origin Organic coffee from Nicaraugua.


Generally, Light Roast coffee is characterized by its high acidity but Lightboost Coffee managed to farm and process a kind of coffee that’s great for cold brewing when it shouldn’t be because… well, coffee science.

Lightboost Coffee boasts that its coffee is ethically sourced and has undergone sun drying and washing with spring water processes. You can either order it pre ground or whole bean (Yes! We can choose!).

We liked this because…

  • It’s smooth with a slight bitterness to taste.
  • It has low acidity for a light roast, making it light on a sensitive stomach.
  • It’s organic and GMO-free!

What could be better…

  • It’s hard to come by. Stocks don’t last that long.
  • The packaging isn’t really that great.
  • Its flavor isn’t for everyone as it has a lighter texture than medium and dark roasts.

Coffee Beans – Light Roast

Flavor Notes – Smooth White Chocolate and Light Caramel Notes

Rating – 4.3 out of 5

#5 Stone Street Cold Brew – Most Balanced

Another popular Cold Brew coffee blend is the Stone Street Cold Brew. It’s a single-origin Colombian Supremo Dark Roast that yields yummy hot or cold coffee… but more on the Cold Brew coffee variety.

 Stone Street Cold Brew Coffee, Strong & Smooth Blend

It’s a Brooklyn, New York City specialty roast that has been around since 2009. It’s a strong and smooth coffee for cold brew, that’s just the right balance to someone who likes a slight sweetness and a slight bitterness.

You can order Stone Street in many forms a.k.a. whole bean, ground coffee, or even decaf!

We liked this because…

  • It’s slightly sweet with a pleasant bitterness to it. Well-balanced and flavorful.
  • Ethically and intimately sourced directly from farms that produce the best coffee in different regions.
  • Supremo classification is legit. It has bigger beans of the highest quality.

What could be better…

  • It’s pretty expensive compared to other options.
  • A few of our coffeeholic members thought it was too bitter and others thought it didn’t have enough flavor.

Coffee Beans – Dark Roast

Flavor Notes – Fruity, Chocolatey, and Caramel Notes

Rating – 4.6 out of 5

#6 Steeped Coffee Single Serve Coffee Bags – Most Travel Friendly

Like how you would brew a teabag, single serve coffee bags operate the same. Using room temperature water, you can Cold Brew your single serve coffee bags like you would your coffee grounds.

 Steeped Coffee Single-Serve Packs
Steeped Coffee is a popular travel friendly coffee pack that you can stash anywhere in your bag. Although made for that purpose, you can still totes enjoy it in the comfort of your own home via a sealed jar.

We liked this because…

  • It’s travel friendly, you can carry it anywhere.
  • It comes in a variety pack where you can try all their flavors. But for Cold Brew, you should stick to the Odyssey Blend Dark Roast as it tastes better.
  • The packaging is entirely compostable!

What could be better…

  • The coffee yield is thin and more akin to water.
  • Coffee isn’t as flavorful as freshly brewed coffee from fresh coffee grounds.
  • Flavor evaporates after a week of non-use. Make sure to brew them a few days after receipt.

Coffee Beans – Dark Roast

Flavor Notes – S’mores, Dark Chocolate, Caramel

Rating – 4.2 out of 5

Other Coffee Options for Cold Brewing

Cold Brew Coffee Bags

Tea bags are as common as instant coffee. But Cold Brew Coffee Bags are a whole new thing you have got to explore.

If you don’t like the mess of the Mason Jar method or the French Press method, you could opt to buy Cold Brew Coffee Bags that are more convenient anyway.

Cold Brew Coffee Bags

It basically works the same. Cold brewing is an immersion process where you steep your coarse coffee grounds in water for about 12 hours to 24 hours. With Cold Brew Coffee Bags, you don’t need to have a sieve or cheese cloth on the ready! It’s an all-in-one product!

Does the Roast matter?

As a matter of fact, yes.

Your coffee roast makes all the difference when you’re cold brewing your coffee. The goal of cold brew is to limit the acidity in your cup of coffee. The process creates a mellower version of our favorite brews just because it is extracted with time rather than heat.

Hence, it is best to stick to certain roasts to maximize the flavors of your refreshing cold brew.

What are the best roasts for Cold Brew?

Although you can virtually make cold brew from any type of coffee beans or roasts, the best cold brews are usually made from Medium Roast to Dark Roast coffee beans.

Medium Roasts offer nuanced and balanced cup of coffees – both hot and cold. You can never really go wrong with Medium Roasts, they just make great coffee.

cold brew coffee beans

Dark Roasts, on the other hand, offer a deeper and richer flavor profile. It’s more akin to chocolate and earthy textures. Cold brew coffee from Dark Roasts also have sweeter yields than Medium Roasts.

For the best medium roast coffee beans, this is our picks!

Can I make Cold Brew with Light Roasts?

Absolutely!

But before you brew delicious cold brew from Light Roast coffee, a word of caution.

Light Roasted coffee beans are naturally more acidic than any other blends or single-origin coffee beans. Their short time in the roast hasn’t really peeled much of that carbon dioxide, making its brews more sour to the common coffee drinker.

It’s not that Light Roasts are bad for cold brewing, it’s just counterproductive. Since you’re likely to cold brew your coffee for a less acidic iced tea-like drink, the acidic nature of Light Roasts might not meld well.

refreshing iced coffee from cold brew coffee beans

However, this rule isn’t unbreakable. We’ve mentioned Lightboost Coffee above and it’s a Light Roast that’s perfect for Cold Brew.

So, if you’re one to experiment with other Light Roast blends or single-origins for Cold Brew – have at it! Don’t let us stop you.

In fact we have the list of the best light roast coffees here.

The Best Coffee is the Coffee you Enjoy

While we may be coffee experts and connoisseurs here at the Brewed Coffee Guide, we always like to remind our readership that the Best Coffee is the Coffee you Enjoy. So, you could take our word for it and purchase a bag of one of our top picks like the Cafe Du Monde Coffee Chicory …you could go lurk on Amazon’s purchase reviews!

Our main takeaway? Coffee is coffee! a high quality coffee is different for everybody. And we thoroughly enjoyed making Cold Brew and making this list for you!

Want to read more caffeine-infused content, click here!

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