I just roasted a batch of what I like to call the best beans for cold brew. I like to roast my own beans, but I rarely have enough time for this. I usually find what I need at the local roasters around me, or on the Internet. This time, however, I wanted something special, so I took the time to roast myself. Total success, the best.
However, most people don’t have the time and skills to roast coffee, and they rely on roasting companies for getting their cold brew beans. This article is a list of reviews for beans, or coffee that I used to make cold brew before. I only included the coffees that I absolutely loved, and I hope you will love these too.
What Beans are Best for Cold Brew?
We have an article on how to choose coffee beans for cold brew, and if you want to explore this topic, I encourage you to read it. You’ll never need to read another “best of”, and you will have control over your choice. But I’ll try to summarize that article in here, for your convenience.
The market is full of “beans for espresso”, and your regular pre-ground coffee for the regular drip coffee maker. However, roasters tend to avoid creating blend for cold brew, hence the lack of choice on the market.
As the versed coffee professional that I am, that is not a problem for me. I can look at the beans origin, roast level, and decide if that going to work for a cold brew, or not. Heck, I can even roast my own perfect blend, if I have the time. But that is not the case with everyone, so that’s why I wanted to put this article up. “Why another article on best coffee for cold brew?” you ask.
Well, I read a few of the existing articles, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. They are either promoting the same companies, or they are self promoting.
Taste is subjective. There is no way all of those “coffee experts” like the same coffee in their cold brew. So, I’ll leave it at that. Self promoting your coffee as a roaster is acceptable in my eyes. You as a roaster, put some effort into creating this amazing blend, or special roast of a single origin, and you should be promoted. But as I said, taste is subjective, so what’s best for me, might not work for me.
This is why I try on this page to include as much range as possible, so that we have the best for everybody. The thing about cold brew, is that the roast range is much more narrow than drip coffee, or even French press, or espresso.
Many times people try cold brew, and they hate it. Cold brew is great, but if you use the wrong blend and roast, you’ll hate it.
Kenya AA Roasted Coffee
If you love a stronger coffee, but you would like to get some of the fruity and winy notes of Kenyan coffee, this medium dark roast coffee is the perfect choice. This is a perfect balance between the dark roast coffee recommended by many, and retaining some of the delicate origin notes that cold brew is famous for.
The roast of this Kenya AA is medium dark, and this will produce a full-bodied cup. And if you don’t brew it too strong, you will retain some of the famous Kenyan acidic flavors.
This is a great coffee who wants to get acquainted with specialty cold brew coffee.
Starbucks Kenya, Whole Bean Coffee
Starbucks Kenya is one of those coffees that you wouldn’t expect to get from a large roaster. It is one of the best priced African coffees. Even if it’s not technically a single origin, as Starbuck would like you to think, it is a great Kenyan coffee.
This coffee has rich winy notes, typical of Kenya beans, with a complex sweetness, which makes it a great choice for your cold brew. This is one of the coffees you should try first, if you are unsure what you like.
Note that the brewing method matters. Immersion cold brew coffee is muddier, and it tends to mute origin notes. We recommend you to use cold drip brewing method, which produces a brighter coffee, and lets origin notes shine.
Bizzy Organic Coarse Ground Coffee for Cold Brew
If you don’t own a grinder, buying pre-ground coffee is your best bet. This Smooth & Sweet cold brew blend is an Amazon favorite.
The Coarse Ground Coffee for Cold Brew is a blend of Arabica beans originating from Guatemala, Peru and Nicaragua. This blend comes is a medium roast, which preserves the sweetness, and makes a smooth cup of coffee.
The coffee is ground coarsely in order to help you with the filtering, but this means you need to steep longer than most websites recommend. I recommend 18 to 24 hours.
This coffee is sifted, in order to remove the fines in coffee, so you can brew it with a mesh strainer without getting any sediments. Alternatively, you can buy the brew bags for more convenience. With the brew bags, you don’t need any special equipment. No grinder, no cold brew coffee maker, not even a strainer.
Brew this as a concentrate and dilute with water for a smooth and balanced cup of coffee.
Cold Brew Blend Volcanica Coffee
Volcanica’s cold brew blend is perfect for an immersion cold brew. Grind it medium-coarse, (not the coarsest setting, as you might have read elsewhere), and steep it for 24 hours. The long steeping time makes this concentrate an even stronger brew, so you need to cut it down with water.
This is a special blend that is perfect for making cold brew coffee. It is created with Sumatra beans and a low-acid Arabica, and roasted to a a medium roast level.
Tiny Footprint Coffee Organic
This is one of the fewest coffee beans specially selected and roasted for cold brew. To be honest, I haven’t tried the beans, but I have a good friend who highly recommended it. In my opinion, just the fact that a roaster created this product specifically for cold brewing, makes it attractive.
The final cup is very rich compared to other beans brewed the same way. The profile is complex, including floral notes with a strong chocolate finish. The coffee is very smooth, even for a cold press.
The roaster, Tiny Footprint Coffee has a great initiative, donating a percentage of their profits for reforestation.
Coffee and Chicory Blend
A traditional iced coffee recipe is made with a blend of coffee and chicory. Originating in Louisiana, and brought by the French settlers, chicory coffee is delicious. You can certainly drink more of it without the jitters, and it makes a great drink for the summer days.
Mixing chicory and coffee is one of my favorite recipes. I brew coffee and chicory separately, and I freeze them into cubes. I then mix a few cubes of frozen chicory and a few cubes of real coffee, in a ratio of 20% chicory to 80% coffee, and I pour milk over them. This makes a delicious beverage. This particular blend is one of the best coffees to use for cold brew.
Stone Street Coffee – Best Dark Roast Coffee for Cold Brew
This is one of the best dark roast – coffee beans for cold brew, if not the best. I am not a fan of dark roasts, for the reasons described in this article. However, Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve Colombian Supremo beans are perfectly roasted and there is no hint of smoky flavors.
The biggest advantage of a dark roast for cold brew is the solubility of the soluble matter in the coffee grounds. The darker the coffee is roasted, the easier is to dissolve the stuff in the beans end extract it in you cup.
The Cold Brew from Stone Street is a Colombian Supremo, which is known for its very large coffee beans, its sweetness and chocolate notes.
This is one of my favorites, and the coffee you get is so smooth you can certainly drink too much of it.
Miscela D’Oro Gran Crema Espresso Beans
I know what you want to say. “But these are espresso beans…” If you like a stronger drink, and you like the caramel and nutty notes in Italian espresso coffee, there is no better choice for your cold brew beans than an … espresso blend. Look at my immersion cold brew tutorial, where I show how to brew with a disposable bag and a mason jar. In that video I am using Miscela D’Oro beans.
They are not my absolute favorite for cold brew, but because I didn’t have any Kenyan beans at the time, these espresso beans were perfect for a stronger taste.
What Are the Best Beans for Cold Brew Coffee – Single Origin or Blend?
Now that we got the selection out of the way, I want to explain a little my choices, and maybe make it easier for you to pick something from my selection.
If you asked me what are the greatest beans for your cold brew coffee and I had to point to a single bag of beans, I couldn’t do it.
Things are not that simple because coffee taste is very subjective. I know what I like, and I will definitely give you a suggestion. Keep in mind, however, that your taste for coffees might be different than mine.
Single Origin Are Better for Specialty Cold Brew
I personally prefer single origin coffee, because it allows me to taste the beans’ subtle notes. With cold brew, many of the floral and fruity notes are preserved, and if you have a good palate, you’ll be amazed how good cold brew coffee can taste.
The bitterness and acidity common with hot brew drip coffee are nonexistent in a cold brew. This is why blending doesn’t make as much sense as with espresso blends where roasters need to balance acidity, sweetness and caramel notes.
With cold brew, you just need to choose a great single origin. My favorite origins for cold brew are in no order: Indonesian Sulawesi, Kona, premium Sumatra, Brazilian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Mocha Java, Kenyan and Peruvian beans.
If you ask me to be more specific, I can probably point at Kenya beans as my favorite coffee for cold brew. But naming only one origin would be just unfair for all other coffees. They all have their merits and depending on your taste you can choose the nutty Brazilians, or the floral Ethiopian, or the Java Mocha with its chocolate notes. There is no wrong choice, it’s just your choice.
As a general conclusion, if you drink your cold brew black, you need to use good quality beans. This will offer you a great cup, with distinctive, subtle flavors, that you will never find in a hot brew.
On the other hand, if your cold brew is meant for a milky, sweet drink, don’t bother too much with my guide. The coffee will be drenched in milk, and it won’t matter anyway. OK, I admit, I sometimes add just a bit of sugar to my cold brew. So, it’s not the end of the world if you do too. But if your mug contains more milk than coffee, then the beans are not important.
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