Best Coffee For Cold Brew Reviews 2019: Top 5+ Recommended
Are you looking for the best coffee for cold brew to improve your craft? Barbara will help you, taking your personal flavor profile into account!
While I’m a great food connoisseur, one more thing that I am obsessed with is coffee.
I love everything about it: the wonderful aroma of ground coffee, rich flavor and the strong aftertaste that remains in the mouth.
My hubby and I have a morning routine with a cup of coffee that I wouldn’t substitute for anything in the world. However, one thing that we do substitute during the summer is hot brew coffee for cold.
With this change, another one spontaneously happened: our morning ritual turned into a midday ritual as well. We usually drink two cups of cold brew coffee, the other around 2 pm, as it is a delicious refreshment on a hot summer day.
We like brewing our coffee at home, too: apart from being extremely convenient, there is something magical in the whole process of making it and having your own brew for the whole week.
I have two restrictions, though: I don’t drink coffee after 3 pm because I think it has a negative effect on my sleep (this might be a placebo, because caffeine in your body is usually absorbed after 4 to 6 hours on average), and I don’t drink coffee right after meals (this has a negative effect on my digestive system).
I conducted my research to find the best coffee for cold brew this summer, and I am ready to present my results to you.
But first, let’s learn some traits about cold brew coffee.
Characteristics of Cold Brew Coffee
- Cold and Refreshing. I don’t have to elaborate on this one too much; you are all familiar with the desire for a cold beverage in the middle of a sweltering day.
In formal terms, the main difference between hot and cold brew coffee is the temperature at which coffee is extracted from the beans. In this case, it is around 35-70 F (as opposed to around 200 F for hot brew), which brings us to the next characteristic:
- Slow brew. After you grind your beans (if you bought whole-beans coffee), the actual process of steeping the coffee will last longer than with hot water. This characteristic accounts for the light taste of cold brew coffee, as it is less acidic (the colder and slower brew eliminates acid) and therefore easier to process.
- Caffeine. With 150-200, it is slightly higher in caffeine mg, as opposed to 95 mg in the regular hot brew coffee.
- Convenience. Apart from the pleasure that we get with our homemade brew, we find it very useful that you can get coffee that stays fresh for up to 7 days, and is made overnight!
Important Tips for Buying Coffee For Cold Brew
Now, let’s get to work: I chose four crucial features for our evaluation of coffee.
The first thing we’ll be paying attention to is the quality of the beans. There are a few types of beans:
- Single-origin Vs. blended: With single-origin coffee, the beans come from a single geographical region. Blend coffee, on the other hand, comes from usually three to four different regions (sometimes even more), so various kinds of beans are roasted and blended together. The single-origin beans are harder to find, and therefore that will affect the price. They are not necessarily more premium - it depends. It’s challenging to find a perfectly chosen and blended mix, but I am here to help you, and you will be keen on consuming blend coffee if you like the rich and full taste. On the other hand, if you appreciate the authentic and manifold flavor, we’ll find you a single-bland.
- Dark Vs. light roast: Since we learned that cold brewing absorbs the acidity of the beans, you can alter this by using light or medium roasts as they are more acidic. It will also result in a thinner consistency and fruity taste of your coffee. On the other hand, if you want to enhance bitter and dark coffee taste, you should opt for dark roasted beans. They are also less caffeinated. Another thing to keep in mind is that light roast takes more time to brew.
- Pre-ground Vs. whole: Today, I will review only ground coffee (making sure it was coarsely ground) since I want to make it easier for the summertime. I only wanted to mention there is a possibility of buying whole beans and grinding them before you make your own brew.
2. Brew Method
These will vary with different brands, but let’s mention which options there are.
- The process will usually look like this: you will need to combine a certain amount of water and coffee, according to the directions. This step will affect the strength of your coffee and you can alter it by adding more or less water than the directions say.
- Next, the coffee will need to steep for a certain amount of time, and I’ll make sure to tell you how long each brand will need. Use your French press. When you are done, press down the ground, pour out the coffee and make sure to store it in the fridge.
- There are some alternatives to this good old process, like brew bags that don’t require French press - your coffee steeps inside this bag, or the hot brew method for cold brew coffee that some brands make possible, if you prefer your coffee hot (and therefore more acidic).
3. Flavor Profile
- Now that you know that the flavor is mostly affected by the beans, we will describe each of these cold brew coffee flavors so that you can find your favorite - sweet and smooth; strong and bitter, earthy, vibrant, floral, mild… So many adjectives to be attributed.
- Finally, we will investigate the different sizes you can buy, the amount of coffee you get in each and how much liquid and, subsequently, cups you will get (and drink). We’ll also pay attention to any add-ons that come in a package (such as the brewing kit that we mentioned).
Top 5 Currently Available Coffee Brands For Cold Brew: Detailed Reviews 2019
These Arabica coffee beans originate from South and Central America - more precisely, Peru and Nicaragua. I’ve tried several Peruvian beans, and I liked each and every one.
It comes in three varieties - dark, medium and light roast, so you can choose according to your personal preference - we learned what each of these means.
- How do I write this, so it is not “three varieties” again? -
Namely, you can choose among three different flavor combinations that manufacturers describe as: dark & bold, light & bright and smooth & sweet. I’ve tried the former two, and these fit their description perfectly, so I believe that is the case for the third one as well.
You will choose the flavor according to your preference, but I can assure you it will live up to your expectations.
As for the preparation, it follows the traditional way: the ratio is 3 cups of water to 1 and a half a cup of coffee for medium-strong brew coffee, which you can alter by adding more or less water. The time needed to steep according to the directions is around 14-20 hours at room temperature. I found 19 hours the right amount of time.
There are three sizes that you can get: 12, 16 and 24 Ounce. I usually buy 16 oz. package and get around 20 cups of coffee out of it.
This coffee is good for the environment; for every pound sold, they donate a fraction of the money for reforestation in Ecuador.
As for the beans, they compose a blend of Arabica Coffee beans from Ethiopia and it is a mix of dark and light roasts. Here you can choose between ground and whole beans, but today our focus is on the ground version. Flavor-wise, I would describe it as light and fruity, so keep that in mind. My hubby says it is too mild for his taste.
The preparation is traditional French press: my ideal measures for this brew are 3 cups of water for ⅔ cup of this ground coffee. The right amount of time for me was again 19 hours.
You can buy it in two sizes - 1 and 3pounds. I brew around 1.3 gallons for a pound. If you like your coffee less strong, you will get around 1.5 instead.
One last thing I noticed about this brand: although it is not strong enough for my hubby’s and my taste buds, I find this brew the perfect base for sweeter and dairy summer refreshments.
Grady’s beans are medium-roasted and offer New Orleans flavor: I would describe it as dark, rich and full-bodied.
Now comes the interesting part about this brand: it comes with a full brewing kit which makes it easier for beginners and even more convenient for experienced brewers!
You brew the coffee directly in “Pour and Store Pouches” with reusable bean bags (I found that the optimal number of re-uses is 3). It is enough to clean them between uses with dish detergent and warm water. Besides coffee, these bags contain chicory and spices, which adds to the taste and gives it a little bit of sweetness.
This method also offers hot or cold brew. Hot requires around 5 cups of boiling water, but we are currently interested in the cold brew. You just add water and steep it in your fridge for around 13 hours. Then you remove the bags and reseal the pouch. You will get a concentrate which will be enough for around 35 cups of coffee.
- Barbara’s Tip: Don’t overfill the pouch; add water only to the indicated line. (Don’t ask me how I’ve learned this.) 🙂
This coffee is a blend from the USA, made with Arabica dark roasted beans. I liked the taste; rich, intense and dark. It also comes in a decaf variety, which was not the case with the previous brands.
The family that produces this coffee keeps the whole process environment-friendly and we always value that.
What is peculiar about this coffee is that it comes in pitcher packs - the sizes you can buy are 2 or 4 pitchers. This pre-portioned way of packaging prevents the mess.
A single serving is made with two pitchers and 4 cups of cold water in the glass pitcher (the directions say “4 cups”, but I always add 3 or 3 ½, as it is too strong otherwise). It should be refrigerated and left to steep for 24 hours. So this one is not overnight.
It is designed for both pure cold brew and iced coffee, and I consider it a great choice for vanilla-based ice drinks: the taste is neutral enough to be enhanced by the sweet notes.
In a four-pack, you will get 12 servings, 8 oz each, which is a great deal for the price. You even get a couple of Don Francisco’s recipes - I suggest cafe libre.
This is a very diverse blend: the light-medium and dark-medium roast Arabica beans originate from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sumatra and Mexico. You can already feel the exotic taste.
The manufacturers went out of their way to assure you that these coffee beans go through a thorough roast: first collected in small batches, then carefully roasted by experienced roasters in the farms to achieve the desired taste. It does show: each package I bought had the same quality beans and a good blend, although it comes from more than two different regions. Who would expect that Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans go so good together?!
The flavor profile is probably the most interesting out of all: you can sense light, but complex taste with hints of cocoa, berries, oranges and spices. Fruity and earthy at the same time. The perfect balance between strong and weak.
The preparation is the usual: cold brew French press method, the coffee-water ratio is 1:6. I find the perfect measure to be 4oz of coffee to 22oz of water.
The time needed to steep is 13 hours. If you want to eliminate the fruity taste and prefer your coffee dark, leave the beans soak at least 18 hours for the desired taste.
As for the packaging, there are ground or whole varieties, and the size of the packages is 2lb, 5 lb and 12oz. If you buy a bigger package, you can use a chip-clip to keep it sealed. The bag itself is double-layered and it contains a vent to retain the freshness.
Judgment: Which Coffee Should Be a Part of Your Cold Brew Craft?
It is time to proclaim the winner - and my vote goes to Bizzy. It is premium quality, excellent taste and definitely what you’re looking for in hazy, hot and humid summer days. The dark and bold taste is perfect for experienced coffee lovers.
That said, our runner-up offers a different and exotic sweet taste perfect for hot temperature. You can already guess, Chosen Bean Coffee has bean chosen as a runner-up.
In terms of quality, these are currently the best options on the market if you’re looking for the best coffee for cold brew.
It’s coffee time! 😉