Cold brew coffee has become my regular go-to during sweltering summer days. With its smooth flavor and energizing punch, cold brew offers the perfect pick-me-up when I need relief from the heat.
After testing countless cold brew blends over the years, I’ve determined what truly makes for the best coffee for cold brew – smooth, flavorful beans that lend well to cold extraction. Just toss them with cool water, let time work its magic, and prepare for cold brew perfection.
When selecting the finest beans for cold brew prep, keep this in mind: it’s all about finding a coffee bean that’s not too dark-roasted or oily, but instead, has nice, complex flavors that can shine through the chill of a good cold brew.
After plenty of experimenting and caffeinating, I’ve rounded up the best cold brew coffee brands that I simply can’t brew without. These beans consistently yield smooth, delicious chilled coffee every time.
Best Cold Brew Coffee Beans You Need in Your Life
So, what exactly makes the best coffee for cold brew? Here are a few key pointers on finding top-notch beans:
- Grind Size: A nice medium to coarse grind allows room for the water to permeate the coffee grounds while steeping. Too fine a grind can lead to cloudy, gritty cold brew.
- Bean Type: Go for single-origin beans roasted specifically for cold brew or a specialty cold brew blend. Many roasters now offer beans tailored just for chilled coffee with tasting notes like chocolate, caramel, and stone fruit.
- Flavor Range: From subtly sweet to bold and robust, cold brew beans today offer diverse flavor potentials. Try different roasts to find your perfect cold brew match.
When selecting beans, keep in mind that the chilled brewing process can dampen acidity while promoting sweeter notes. So acidity-forward coffee beans don’t always transition perfectly to cold brew. The best coffee for cold brew tends to start with beans that have nice caramel or cocoa notes that align well with lower-temperature extraction.
Below I cover the cold brew coffee brands that I keep stocked for refreshing iced – or room temp – coffee whenever the need arises:
Top 6 Cold Brew Coffee Brands
Verve Coffee Roasters Sermon Blend
With its rich, velvety body and well-balanced fruit and cocoa tones, Verve Coffee’s Sermon blend makes for sublime cold brew. Though bold in flavor, it still finishes clean and smooth. I get traces of blackberry and milk chocolate capped with a pleasant, lasting sweetness.
The medium roast level leaves enough acidity to shine through the chilling while introducing sweeter, more syrupy elements as well. For cold brew, I recommend grinding at a medium setting. But you can play with slightly coarser grinds for bolder results.
Either way, this multifaceted cold brew coffee makes for a righteous brew. The complexity keeps each sip engaging as flavors mingle and change. When making cold brew, I usually go for a 1:4 coffee to water ratio and let it steep 12-18 hours.
Stella Blue Cold Brew
If convenience is key, Stella Blue’s cold brew packets get major points. Simply toss a pouch in water, refrigerate overnight, and extract for smooth, flavorful cold brew come morning.
The blends tend to emphasize sweetness and chocolatey richness – perfect for cold brew. I often add a splash of oat milk to soften acidity further for an extra velvety chilled coffee.
Since much of the work is done for you, it’s an easy way to get your cold brew fix fast. The pouches mean very little cleanup too. So when I’m rushing out the door or feeling lazy about prep, Stella Blue is my handy go-to.
Lauren P. :
“I can’t get over how easy Stella Blue pouches make cold brew. Just mix with water and refrigerate – less waste and mess than brewing from scratch. But the flavor is still gourmet-quality. Sweet and smooth with the perfect amount of richness.”
Partners Coffee Brooklyn Blend
With its sweet berry notes balanced by rich chocolate, Partners Coffee’s Brooklyn blend makes for delightful cold brew. The medium roast leaves enough acidity for a nice, lively flavor that pops over ice or straight-up.
What sets this blend apart is how adaptable it is. The classic flavor profile with hints of toasted nuts suits a classic cold brew style. But the beans also work nicely for a slow cold drip that pulls out sweeter tones.
I often coarsely grind the beans and let them steep in my cold brew pitcher for 12 hours before filtering. Other days, I’ll set up a slow drip for a fruitier, tea-like concentration. Either way, this blend’s jammy sweetness and deep cocoa body simply sing through any cold prep style.
Bizzy Organic Cold Brew
For cold brew on the go, Bizzy Organic’s portable pouches offer some of the smoothest, easiest drinking cold brew out there.
The line of organic beans comes in several roast options from light and sweet to dark and cocoa-rich. The Beans undergo a special low-temperature roasting process to retain dense, complex flavor for superior cold brew.
What makes Bizzy particularly convenient is the inclusion of fine-mesh brew bags in each pouch. Just empty the grounds into a brew bag, tie it off, and soak the bag in water overnight. Retrieval and cleanup are fuss-free. No filtration or gritty cleanup needed.
With its pre-portioned grounds and no-mess bags, Bizzy Organic is my top grab-and-go cold brew choice for picnics, beach days, camping trips – you name it. I love the chocolatey Peru Tuscanini option, which mingles traces of brown sugar with rich fudge for smooth, velvety cold brew.
James R. :
“The fine mesh brew bags that come with Bizzy Organic pouches make cold brew prep so clean and easy. No messy filters or grit. Just steep the bag, remove, and refrigerate. The cold brew comes out far smoother and tastier than my old homemade attempts!”
Chamberlain Coffee – Elephant Cold Brew Blend
When I want convenient cold brew minus much work, Chamberlain Coffee’s pre-measured pouches are a sure bet. The elephant blend offers nice balance between dark berry and toffee for dynamic flavor that pops over ice.
Each pouch contains the perfect amount of coarse-ground specialty beans for steeping my preferred cold brew ratio. Just mix the grounds with cool water, refrigerate, filter, and you’ve got smooth, delicious chilled coffee. No weighing or grinding needed.
The blend roasts the beans at gentle temperatures to retain vibrant flavor and sweetness that shine through the cold extraction. I taste wild berry and brown sugar mingling with traces of toasted nuts. It’s a vibrant yet smooth flavor profile that makes for an effortless yet gourmet cold brew you’ll crave all summer long.
Robin T. :
“I’m picky about my iced coffee but find Chamberlain’s Elephant blend cold brew to be perfectly balanced flavor-wise. The chocolatey richness mingles so nicely with hints of mixed berry. Far better than my sad attempts at homemade that just tasted watery and acidic.”
Don Franciscos Organic Cold Brew Coffee
Another pouch-based option, Don Franciscos offers bold single-origin flavor conveniently pre-ground for no-fuss cold brew. The Honduras single origin blend sings with rich chocolate intensity balanced by subtle fruit sweetness – an ideal flavor combo for cold brew.
Simply mix each serving with cool water, chill overnight, and filter. From there, the splendid Central American bean flavor pours through without bitterness despite the dark profile.
The organic beans also undergo specialized roasting tailored for cold water infusion. So everything from the grind size to the drying process optimizes flavor for smooth chilled coffee with none of the acidity you’d expect from a French press.
While very convenient, Don Franciscos still sources exceptional specialty beans for gourmet flavor. So if bold intensity is your cold brew style, this brisk, fudgy option makes for a mighty fine iced coffee.
How to Choose the Best Cold Brew Beans
With all the cold brew options today, it can get overwhelming finding your perfect coffee match. Here are my top tips for selecting the finest beans for cold extraction:
Focus on flavor – Choose specialty beans with tasting notes like cocoa, caramel, and stonefruit that transfer well to chilled coffee.
Mind the roast – Light to medium roasts tend to brew best since they retain nice acidity and sweetness during cold steeping.
Consider convenience – Pre-ground or cold brew blends can provide gourmet quality and easy prep in one pouch.
Go for freshness – Check roast dates and choose recently roasted beans for ultimate flavor and aroma.
Mix it up! – Buy a few bean types tailored for cold brew to discover your ultimate taste preferences.
Expert Tips for Choosing the Best Cold Brew Beans
Seeking additional guidance on finding that exceptional cold brew match? I asked resident coffee expert and chef Norah Clark for her inside scoop on selecting the best coffee for cold brew.
With over 20 years running popular Bay Area cafes and coffee shops, Norah has refined her cold brew process for smooth, balanced flavor. When testing beans, she focuses on how the particular flavors interact with chilling and extended steep times.
“I prioritize beans with nice, dense body and dynamic flavor notes like cocoa, caramel, berries, or citrus,” Norah explains. “These tend to come through beautifully when chilled overnight, while beans with dominant acidity just turn dull and flat.”
Norah also suggests allowing some room to experiment:
“Try a variety of roast styles and flavor profiles to experience the range of what cold brew can offer. Beans bringing chocolate, nuts, or stonefruit to the forefront often make excellent chilled coffee. But some people enjoy bolder or fruitier tones as well. Sample different options to find your perfect match!”
Coffee expert Boyd Hampers echoes the importance of trying out various cold brew-specific beans to determine individual taste preferences:
“Many specialty roasters today offer exceptional beans specifically meant for cold water infusion. Often these feature delicious flavor notes like rich chocolate, baked cherry, sweet caramel, or wild berry that pair perfectly with longer chilling,” Boyd says. “I always suggest cold brew newcomers grab an assortment of these speciality options for a true taste exploration.”
Cold Brew Coffee FAQs
Still have some key questions about crafting smooth cold brew at home? Here I cover some of the most frequent cold brew coffee queries:
Is pre-ground or whole bean coffee better for cold brew?
For best extraction and flavor, I prefer grinding whole beans fresh right before steeping. But some pre-ground options specifically made for cold brew can also produce nice flavor and aroma. Just check the roast date and grind size to make sure it meets cold brew standards.
What roast level works best for cold brew?
Medium roasts tend to produce the best balanced cold brew flavor with not too much acidity or bitterness. But don’t shy away from experimenting with light or dark roasts as well depending on your taste preferences.
How does cold brew coffee differ from regular iced coffee?
While iced coffee is just hot-brewed coffee poured over ice, cold brew involves steeping ground coffee in room temperature or cool water for 12+ hours. This long chilling time pulls out different flavors for a naturally sweet, smooth chilled drink without bitterness.
What are some exceptional coffee beans for making cold brew?
Many specialty roasters today offer specific cold brew blends using coffee beans bringing out more chocolate, berries, caramel, or other delicious flavors perfect for chilled extraction. Brands like Stella Blue, Partners, and Bizzy Organic have exceptional cold brew offerings worth trying.
What’s the best way to make cold brew coffee at home?
The immersion method (steeping grounds in water) makes for easy homemade cold brew. For best extraction, use a 1:4 coffee to water ratio and steep for 12-24 hours before filtering out grounds. Air tight containers help keep the brew fresh in the fridge too.
The Ultimate Beans for Refreshing Cold Brew
If seeking an energizing pick-me-up for hot summer days, a smooth cold brew made with the best coffee for cold brew can’t be beat. Just be sure to choose your beans wisely.
Fresh, flavorful coffee specifically meant for chilled extraction makes all the difference in crafting supreme cold brew. So try out an array of blends until you discover your ultimate taste preference.
Personally, I look for beans that emphasize cocoa and caramel tones over acidity to allow for velvety, refreshing flavor as the grounds steep overnight. Brands like Verve Sermon, Stella Blue Cold Brew, and Bizzy’s Peru Tuscanini never fail to deliver smooth delicious cold brew with each batch.
But don’t just take my word for it! Grab a few cold brew varieties next time you restock your coffee stash. Mix up the steeping methods. And sample away until you find your perfect match. With so many exceptional cold brew beans available today, refreshingly good iced coffee awaits your discovery.