What Is the Best Coffee to Use for Cold Brew?

The best coffee for cold brew is typically a medium to dark roast, coarsely ground, with a low acidity and smooth flavor profile. Popular options include beans from Central and South America or African varieties like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Experimenting with different origins and roasts can help you find the perfect taste for your preference.

Cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. It’s smooth, refreshing, and perfect for those hot summer days.

But have you ever wondered what type of coffee is best to use for cold brew? With so many different options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. In this article, we’ll explore the best types of coffee to use for cold brew and why they work so well.

So grab a glass of iced coffee and let’s dive in!

Cold Brew Vs. Hot Brew

coffee brew

Hot brew is the traditional method of brewing coffee with hot water, while cold brew involves steeping ground coffee in cold water for an extended period of time. The difference between these two methods goes beyond just temperature.

Hot brewed coffee tends to have a more acidic taste due to the high temperatures used during extraction. This acidity can be balanced out by adding milk or creamer but may still be too much for some people’s tastes.

On the other hand, cold-brewed coffee has a smoother and less acidic taste because it is extracted at lower temperatures over a longer period of time. This makes it perfect for those who prefer their caffeine fix without any bitterness or acidity.

Another benefit of making your own cold brew at home is that you can control how strong you want your drink to be by adjusting the amount of grounds used and steeping time.

Both hot and cold-brewed coffees have their unique flavors and benefits depending on personal preferences.

Types of Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

First and foremost, you want to look for beans that have a low acidity level. This is because cold brewing can bring out more of the acidic flavors in coffee, which can make it taste sour or bitter.

In terms of origin, Central and South American coffees tend to be popular choices for cold brew due to their smooth flavor profiles. African varieties like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe also work well as they offer fruity notes that complement the natural sweetness of cold brew.

It’s important not only consider where your coffee comes from but also its processing method. Natural processed coffees tend towards fruitier notes while washed process tends toward cleaner flavors with less fruitiness.

Arabica Vs. Robusta for Cold Brew

Both types of beans can be used for cold brew, but they have distinct differences in flavor and aroma.

Arabica is known for its delicate taste with a slightly sweet acidity. It has a lower caffeine content than Robusta and is often more expensive due to its higher quality.

Arabica beans are grown at high altitudes in cooler climates, which allows them to develop slowly and produce complex flavors.

On the other hand, Robusta has a stronger taste with hints of bitterness or earthiness. It contains almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica and is generally less expensive due to its easier cultivation process.

Robusta grows at lower altitudes in warmer climates where it matures quickly.

Choosing the Right Roast

Generally speaking, medium to dark roasts work best because they have a lower acidity and smoother flavor profile that complements the cold brewing process. Lighter roasts tend to be more acidic and can result in a sour or bitter taste when brewed with cold water.

That being said, personal preference plays an important role in selecting your coffee roast for cold brew. Some people prefer lighter roasts with fruity or floral notes while others enjoy bold and rich flavors from darker roasted beans.

It’s worth experimenting with different types of coffee beans and various levels of roast until you find what works best for you.

Light, Medium, and Dark Roast

Light roasts tend to have more acidity and fruitiness, which can be great for hot coffee but may not translate well in cold brew. Medium roasts strike a balance between acidity and body, making them a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts.

Dark roasts offer bold flavors with low acidity levels that work well in cold brew.

It’s important to note that personal preference plays a big role when it comes to selecting the perfect roast for your taste buds. Some people prefer lighter or darker blends while others enjoy medium-roasted beans.

Best Coffee Brands for Cold Brew

While there are many great options out there, some brands stand out from the rest. Here are a few of our top picks for best coffee brands for cold brew:

1. Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve Blend: This New York-based roaster has created a blend specifically designed for cold brewing with notes of chocolate and caramel.

2. Partners Coffee Rockaway Cold Brew Pouches: These pre-packaged pouches make it easy to create delicious cold brew at home or on-the-go.

3. Counter Culture Coffee Hologram Blend: With flavors of dark chocolate and cherry, this blend creates a smooth and rich cup of iced coffee.

4. Coffee Variety High Hopes Blend: A medium roast that’s perfect for those who prefer their iced coffee less acidic but still flavorful.

5. Irving Farm Cold Brew Blend: A bold yet balanced flavor profile that works well in both drip and immersion methods.

6. La Colombe Nizza Blend: This full-bodied blend features hints of fruitiness with low acidity levels ideal for creating refreshing summer drinks.

7. Nguyen Coffee Supply MoxyBlend – Vietnamese-grown beans roasted in Brooklyn; nutty aroma with sweet notes.

8. Café Integral Cold Brew – Nicaraguan single-origin beans roasted by Café Integral; bright citrusy taste.

Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve Blend

This blend consists of 100% Arabica beans sourced from Colombia, Brazil, and Guatemala. The coffee is roasted in small batches to ensure freshness and optimal flavor extraction during the brewing process.

The Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve Blend has a smooth taste with notes of chocolate and caramel that make it perfect for cold brew. It’s also low in acidity which means you can enjoy more cups without worrying about stomach discomfort.

If you’re looking to try out this blend at home, be sure to use coarsely ground beans for best results. You can experiment with different ratios of coffee to water until you find your preferred strength.

Partners Coffee Rockaway Cold Brew Pouches

These pouches contain high-quality, ethically sourced coffee that is roasted in small batches for maximum flavor.

The Rockaway blend is made with beans from Central and South America, giving it a smooth taste with notes of chocolate and caramel. The pouches are easy to use – simply add water or milk, let steep overnight in the fridge, then remove the pouch before enjoying your perfectly brewed cup of cold brew.

One great thing about Partners Coffee Rockaway Cold Brew Pouches is their commitment to sustainability. The company uses 100% compostable packaging made from renewable resources like corn starch and sugarcane fibers.

This means you can enjoy your delicious cold brew guilt-free knowing that you’re not contributing to unnecessary waste.

Counter Culture Coffee Hologram Blend

They are known for their commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing practices, as well as their high-quality beans. One of their most popular blends for cold brew is the Hologram Blend.

This blend features beans from Ethiopia, Colombia, and Guatemala. It’s a medium roast with notes of chocolate, caramel, and citrus.

The acidity level is low which makes it perfect for cold brewing.

The Hologram Blend has received rave reviews from coffee enthusiasts who appreciate its smooth taste profile without any bitterness or harshness in flavor notes.

Coffee Variety High Hopes Blend

This blend features beans from Ethiopia, Colombia, and Brazil that are roasted to perfection to create a smooth and balanced flavor profile. The Ethiopian beans add fruity notes of blueberry and citrus while the Colombian beans bring out hints of caramel sweetness.

The Brazilian component provides a nutty finish that rounds out the overall taste.

What sets Coffee Variety apart is their commitment to sustainability through direct trade relationships with farmers in coffee-growing regions around the world. They ensure fair prices for growers while also promoting environmentally friendly practices on their farms.

When it comes to making cold brew with this blend, we recommend using a coarse grind size and steeping it overnight in filtered water at room temperature or slightly cooler (around 70°F). This will allow you to extract all of those delicious flavors without any bitterness or acidity.

Irving Farm Cold Brew Blend

Their Cold Brew Blend is a popular choice among cold brew enthusiasts, and for good reason. This blend features beans from Colombia, Ethiopia, and Guatemala that are roasted to perfection to create a smooth and balanced flavor profile.

The Colombian beans provide notes of chocolate while the Ethiopian beans add fruity undertones. The Guatemalan beans bring it all together with their nutty finish.

Irving Farm recommends using a 1: 4 coffee-to-water ratio when brewing this blend for optimal taste.

One thing that sets Irving Farm apart from other coffee roasters is their commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing practices. They work directly with farmers around the world to ensure fair prices for their crops while also promoting environmentally friendly farming methods.

La Colombe Nizza Blend

This blend features beans from Brazil, Colombia, and Ethiopia that are roasted to perfection to create a smooth and balanced flavor profile. The coffee has notes of chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut with a subtle fruitiness that makes it perfect for cold brewing.

Many coffee lovers appreciate La Colombe’s commitment to ethical sourcing practices. They work directly with farmers around the world to ensure fair wages and sustainable farming practices.

Their beans are organic certified which means they’re free from harmful pesticides or chemicals.

Nguyen Coffee Supply Moxy Blend

This blend features beans from Vietnam, which are known for their chocolatey and nutty flavor profile. The company works directly with farmers in Vietnam to ensure that they receive fair prices for their coffee and that the beans are of the highest quality.

The Moxy Blend is specifically designed for cold brew, with a coarse grind size that allows you to extract all of the delicious flavors without any bitterness or acidity. It’s also roasted in small batches, ensuring freshness and consistency.

If you’re looking to switch up your cold brew game, give Nguyen Coffee Supply Moxy Blend a try! You won’t be disappointed by its smooth taste and rich aroma.

Café Integral Cold Brew

Their cold brew blend is made from 100% Arabica beans grown on small farms in Nicaragua. The beans are roasted to perfection, creating a smooth and rich flavor profile with notes of chocolate and caramel.

What sets Café Integral’s cold brew apart from others is their commitment to sustainability and fair trade practices. They work directly with farmers, paying them above-market prices for their crops while also providing resources for education and community development.

If you’re looking for a delicious cold brew option that supports ethical farming practices, Café Integral’s blend may be the perfect choice for you.

Grind Size for Cold Brew

The ideal grind size for cold brew is coarse, similar to the texture of raw sugar or sea salt. A coarser grind allows for a slower extraction process and prevents over-extraction, resulting in a smoother and less bitter taste.

Using too fine of a grind can lead to an overly strong and acidic flavor profile that may not be as enjoyable as the smoothness achieved with the correct coarseness. It’s best to use a burr grinder rather than blade grinders since they produce more consistent results.

When grinding your beans, keep in mind that different brewing methods require different grinds. For example, if you’re using an immersion method like steeping your grounds overnight in water (which is common for cold brew), then you’ll want them ground much coarser than if you were using drip-style equipment.

Experimenting with various grind sizes can help determine what works best for your personal preference and brewing method.

The Importance of Fresh Beans

Coffee beans start to lose their flavor and aroma as soon as they are roasted, so it’s important to use them within a few weeks of roasting for optimal taste. When buying coffee for cold brew, look for bags with a roast date on them rather than an expiration date.

If you’re not sure how fresh your beans are or if they’ve been sitting in your pantry for too long, consider purchasing whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself at home. This will ensure that you’re getting the freshest possible cup of cold brew.

Another option is to buy from local roasters who often have smaller batches and can provide freshly roasted beans more frequently than larger companies that distribute nationally or internationally.

Fair Trade and Organic Options

Fair trade coffee ensures that farmers are paid fairly for their work and have access to safe working conditions. Organic coffee is grown without the use of harmful pesticides or chemicals, which can be better for both the environment and your health.

While fair trade and organic coffees may come at a slightly higher price point than conventional options, many people find that they are worth it in terms of taste quality as well as ethical considerations. Plus, supporting sustainable farming practices can help ensure a brighter future for our planet.

Some popular brands offering fair-trade certified or organic beans include Equal Exchange Coffee, Allegro Coffee Roasters’ Organic Continental Blend Cold Brew Concentrate, Kicking Horse Coffee’s Three Sisters Medium Roast Ground Beans, Death Wish Coffee Company’s USDA Certified Organic Dark Roast Whole Bean.

Flavor Profiles for Cold Brew

The smooth and mellow taste of cold brew coffee is perfect for highlighting different flavor notes in your beans. Some popular flavors include chocolate, caramel, nutty undertones or fruity and floral notes.

For example, if you prefer a sweeter cup of coffee with hints of chocolate or caramel try using a medium roast bean from Central America like Guatemala Antigua. If you’re looking for something more complex with fruity and floral undertones try an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe bean which has bright acidity that can be balanced out by the slow brewing process.

Ultimately, choosing the right flavor profile depends on personal preference but experimenting with different origins and roasts can help you find your perfect blend.

DIY Cold Brew Blends

The possibilities are endless when it comes to combining different coffee beans and flavors to create a unique taste that suits your preferences.

To start, experiment with different types of coffee beans from various regions around the world. You can try mixing light roast with dark roast or blending two different origins together for an interesting flavor profile.

Another way to add some extra flavor is by adding spices like cinnamon or cardamom into the mix before brewing. Vanilla extract or cocoa powder also make great additions for those who prefer sweeter notes in their cold brew.

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Try experimenting with fruit juices, herbs like mint leaves, or even coconut milk as alternative ways of enhancing the taste of your homemade cold brew blend.

Remember that making DIY blends requires trial and error until you find what works best for you.

Enhancing Cold Brew Flavor

One way to do this is by adding different flavors or spices to your cold brew. For example, you can add vanilla extract or cinnamon sticks for a warm and cozy taste.

Another way to enhance the flavor of your cold brew is by using flavored syrups like caramel or hazelnut. These syrups not only add sweetness but also give an extra layer of complexity in terms of taste.

If you prefer a creamier texture, try adding milk alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk or soy milk instead of regular dairy products. This will give your drink an added richness without overpowering the coffee’s natural flavors.

Lastly, don’t forget about ice cubes! Instead of plain water ice cubes that dilute the coffee over time as they melt; use frozen brewed coffee instead which will keep your drink strong until it’s finished!

Cold Brew Methods: Drip Vs. Immersion

Drip brewing involves slowly dripping water through a bed of coffee grounds, while immersion brewing involves steeping the grounds in water for an extended period of time.

Drip brewing is often considered the more traditional method and can produce a cleaner cup with less sediment. However, it requires specialized equipment such as a slow-drip tower or cold brew dripper.

Immersion brewing is simpler and can be done with just a jar or pitcher. It also tends to result in fuller-bodied cups with more complex flavors due to longer contact between the coffee grinds and water.

Ultimately, both methods have their pros and cons depending on personal preference.

Experimenting With Coffee to Water Ratios

The general rule of thumb is to use one pound of coffee for every gallon of water, but this can be adjusted based on personal preference. If you prefer a stronger brew, try using more coffee grounds per cup or reducing the amount of water used.

On the other hand, if you find your cold brew too strong or bitter, consider increasing the amount of water used or decreasing your steeping time. Experimenting with different ratios and brewing times can help you find that perfect balance between strength and flavor.

It’s also worth noting that different types and roasts will require slightly different ratios to achieve optimal taste. For example, lighter roasts may need more grounds per cup than darker roasts due to their lower density.

Storing and Serving Your Cold Brew

Cold brew can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but make sure you keep it in an airtight container. Glass bottles or mason jars work well for this purpose.

When serving your cold brew, dilute with water or milk according to your preference. A general rule of thumb is one part coffee concentrate to two parts water/milk/ice.

You can also add sweeteners like sugar or syrups if desired.

For a fun twist on traditional iced coffee drinks, try making some DIY flavored syrups at home using ingredients like vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, and fresh mint leaves.

Duration of Cold Brew Freshness

Unlike hot coffee, which can be consumed immediately after brewing or reheated later on, cold brew has a shorter shelf life. Typically, homemade cold brew should be consumed within 5-7 days of brewing for optimal freshness and flavor.

After the first day or two in the fridge, the flavors may start to change and become less pronounced. The longer you leave your cold brew sitting in the fridge past its prime time frame (5-7 days), there is a chance that bacteria could grow and make it unsafe to drink.

The Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

One of the most significant advantages is its lower acidity compared to hot brewed coffee. The cold brewing process extracts fewer acids and oils from the beans, resulting in a smoother and less bitter taste.

This makes cold brew an excellent option for those with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux issues.

Another benefit of cold brew is its higher caffeine content per serving than traditional hot brewed coffee due to the longer steeping time required for extraction. Because it’s served over ice or diluted with water or milk, you can enjoy more cups without worrying about consuming too much caffeine.

Making your own cold brew at home can save you money in the long run since purchasing pre-made bottles at cafes can add up quickly. With just a few simple ingredients and equipment like a French press or mason jar filter system, you’ll have delicious homemade iced coffee ready whenever you want it.


What kind of coffee do you use for cold brew?

For cold brew, use your favorite medium or dark roast coffee bean, as the grind size matters more.

Can I use regular ground coffee for cold brew?

Yes, you can use regular ground coffee for cold brew, but coarse ground coffee beans are recommended to avoid thick, gritty sludge at the bottom of your jar.

Which coffee bean is best for cold coffee?

The best coffee bean for cold coffee is usually a dark roast, as it offers dark, earthy, and chocolatey flavors.

What flavor is best for cold brew?

The best flavor for cold brew is dark roast coffee beans due to their low acidity level, which preserves flavor by reducing bitterness and allowing subtler notes to shine.

How does the roast level of coffee beans affect the taste of cold brew?

The roast level of coffee beans impacts the taste of cold brew by intensifying flavor and aroma, with darker roasts producing bolder, richer taste profiles and lighter roasts yielding a more delicate, fruity, and acidic flavor.

Are there specific coffee brands that excel in producing cold brew coffee?

Yes, specific coffee brands like Chameleon Cold-Brew, Grady’s, and Wandering Bear excel in producing cold brew coffee.

Does the grind size of coffee beans impact the quality of cold brew?

Yes, the grind size of coffee beans does impact the quality of cold brew, as different grind sizes yield varied flavors and extraction levels.