In the summer months, the thought of piping-hot coffee may not sound the greatest.
Often, depending on where you live, the summer months are quite a bit warmer than the other seasons, forcing you to change your clothes and adding more fans throughout the house.
Summer also allows you to change the way you drink your coffee. Instead of having to drink a fresh, warm coffee beverage in the morning, to serve double-duty as handwarmer and wake up call, you have the freedom to make a refreshing iced drink.
One of the best drinks that you can create at home is cold brew. This ever-popular method of making coffee may just be the hottest idea in coffee currently, and you can easily make it at home. Of course, the most important ingredient in cold brew is the coffee beans and finding the right ones for you can be a chore.
The right beans, along with the right equipment, allow anyone to become a master brewer at home. If you’re trying to decide on the best coffee for cold brew to start out using, you’ve come to the right place.
Choosing Beans Cold Brew Should Be Fun
This might go without saying but making anything from the comfortable insides of your home allows you the freedom to choose the products you want to create. The same can be translated to any coffee you make. One of the key differences between the hot and cold brewing methods comes down to the flavors extracted.
While 200-degree Fahrenheit water will bring out all the complex, individual flavors of a coffee bean, steeping those same beans in cold water won’t have the same effect. In fact, most cold brew coffee carries the tastes and notes defined as dark and rich, including syrupy, earthy, nutty, or even chocolatey.
You should know this going in because, while lighter roasts have their place among coffee enthusiasts, they aren’t necessarily the best coffee for cold brew you can use. Often, the light, brighter notes of these blends become overshadowed by the big, robust flavors outlined above.
All that said, if you’re looking for the best coffee for cold brew, you’ve come to the right place.
How We Chose the Best Coffee for Cold Brew
In order to craft a solid cup of cold brew, you need the right flavor. This is crucial to any coffee, but specifically cold brew due to the nuanced way of brewing the beverage.
It’s important to understand that our choices reflect the best ratio of price-per-pound to flavor. In addition to cost and flavor, we also took into account the roaster responsible for that particular batch of beans. If they have a pedigree, coming from numerous customer reviews, in the coffee business, they scored higher than a shop with no reputation.
Lastly, we considered only beans that could be readily purchased, whether through Amazon, the company themselves, or through your standard grocery store.
All of these combined to form our picks for beans that should make a mean cup of cold brew.
Our Picks for the Best Beans to Make Cold Brew
- SINGLE ORIGIN: Whole, ripe coffee cherries from the Minas Gerais region sweeten in the Brazilian sun to create a coffee...
- OBSESSED WITH FRESH: From the beginning, Peet's Coffee has roasted the best coffee beans we can find with quality in...
- BREW LIKE THE BEST: Brewing the best cup of coffee starts with finding your favorite roast or blend. Whole beans or...
It may seem weird to use a big-name brand here but consider that most companies that sell coffee all over the world have a quality source of beans, and their prices can be found cheaper than a smaller operation.
This allows you to buy more of their beans, and in return cut costs of brewing your own coffee.
Thus, the first brand and blend on our list is Peet’s Coffee with their Brazil Minas Naturais. This medium-roast is created by taking coffee cherries soaked within the Brazilian sun from the Minas region. Because it’s a Brazilian bean, the flavor captures a smooth, full bodied sweeter side of coffee, with a touch of hazelnut.
As you might expect, cold brewing this can lead to some smooth, nutty concentrate that will taste good at any time of day. It comes in at only $15 a pound, providing good value over the course of a week or two. It’s a standout pick as one of the best coffees for cold brew, and we rate it a 3.5 out of 5.
If you prefer the more earthy and deeper notes of the Sumatra region, then the New York-based Browny Coffee has you covered for cold brew. While the company is new, having only been around since 2015, their Organic and fair-traded coffee offerings provide a good example for other roasters.
Plus, you’re supporting more than a company if you can buy beans this way.
At any rate, their Indonesian Sumatra Organic blend highlights the best notes of that region, as the Mandheling beans provide a rich, complex, and herby flavor that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.
These are the kind of flavors you want in your cold brew, so go ahead and give this Organic Sumatra blend a try. You can find it for roughly $15 a pound. Rating wise, this organic blend comes in at 4 out of 5 stars.
While it’s another Brazilian blend of coffee, the natural and dry processing of this Single Origin bean will have you craving more on the cool summer nights.
Made by Klatch Coffee, the Black Diamond Reserve gets its flavor from hand-selected farms within the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. This area allows for milk chocolate and orange aromas to seep into the cherries while growing, and when brewed turn into a smooth blend of brown sugar and orange notes. The overall body is balanced, which means when you brew it cold the concentrate won’t be overpowering with flavor.
Thankfully, the tastes are mild enough to depict a nutty and chocolate scene when translated into an iced beverage, with some of the orange aromas able to be smelt, but not tasted. Coming in at $14 per 12-ounces, the cost is a little more than your typical one-pound bag of coffee.
Overall though, this bean provides a good balance of what you’d want in a cold brew, and even can used in other coffee-based drinks if wanted. It earns its place as one of the best coffees for cold brew. You’ll be happy to know that we rate this at 4 out of a 5 stars.
- 6 Packs of 10 single serve Nespresso pods with the Lavazza Armonico coffee blend (60 cups total)
- Velvety dark roast with full bodied flavor and notes of toasted cereals and caramel
- Intensity is 8 out of 13
The Italian company Lavazza has been in the coffee business since 1895, older than most have been alive today. Their vast empierce with coffee and fine-tuning their blends allow an easy way to drink their products. While the Italian coffee scene is mainly composed of espresso, often 8-10 shots a day, that doesn’t mean their beans aren’t versatile.
Take the Armonico blend, for instance.
Composed of Arabica and Robusta-for the record, isn’t a bad thing when cold brew is involved-the beans come from South American and African origins. The South American portion provides the rich, velvety hazelnut notes, while the African beans give it the medium-dark intensity perfect for a cold brew creation.
It’s slow roasted at lower temperatures to ensure those rich aromas are preserved, leading to a smooth iced drink. You can find it in a 12-ounce package for $13. This is one of the better offerings on our list, carrying 4.5 stars.
- Coffee is roasted fresh immediately prior to packaging
- Coffee beans are slow-roasted to bring out a fuller, more even flavor
- Whole bean coffee stays fresher longer
If Monsooned Malabar isn’t in your vocabulary, don’t fret. Most don’t know the meaning behind the interesting choice of words. Literally, these coffee beans are subject to the heavy monsoon rains of India for upwards of four months. This process is done to smooth out the pH levels of the beans, resulting in an extra-smooth, lighter roast.
That means, it’s among the best coffee for cold brew, and Coffee Bean Direct’s Indian Monsooned Malabar is a great choice.
The rains allow for the coffee beans to swell in size, also providing a unique flavor of chocolate and earthy notes. These flavors aren’t’ always found in a lighter-roasted been, so creating something that features richer aromas with a smooth body is great for cold brew.
Since it’s a lighter roast you’ll be able to steep it quicker, and it comes in at $15 a pound. You should be very happy with this 4.5-star blend.
- EXPERIENCE: The full taste and texture of our whole bean roasted coffee in one, 12 ounce box
- DARK ROAST: Enjoy this full-bodied, chocolatey, and roasty coffee for a fulfilling morning
- SPECIALTY NOTES: Each box of Corsica coffee contains notes of Baker's Chocolate, Red Wine, and Spices
The dark chocolate notes alone will bring a new hope to the morning blues.
A bolder option, La Colombe’s Corsica Blend features four different regions inside the bag: Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico. The result is a bean that delivers a full-bodied experience and a bold, overall stout, coffee flavor. Since there are cocoa notes involved, pairing this concentrate, once brewed, with milk is a great option, should you prefer a creamy drink.
These types of coffee beans are always good for cold brew because the flavor stays true to coffee. If you prefer to taste the coffee inside your cold brew-which is recommended-then a darker roast will help you accomplish that.
Corsica Blend can be found at $13 for 12-ounces, and the first bean to grab 5 out of 5 stars.
- Harness the power of Odin with this masterful artisan roast
- Our coffee beans are specifically selected and expertly roasted to provide an ultra-strong cup of coffee that is bold...
- Drink your coffee with pride knowing that our beans are Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic
Coming in at number one, this bean may win awards as the best tasting, along with best designed bag, in the cold brew coffee scene. Death Wish Coffee’s Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend leaves nothing to be desired from a coffee bean.
The basis of the beans come from Indonesia, South American, and Central America. These regions provide the base of nutty, sweet, and chocolate notes, all poured down with a smooth finish. When brewed for cold brew, there’s nothing better than a bolder concentrate to add-in a little flavor and call it a day.
One of the best things that Odinforce provides is versatility. Unlike other options on our list, this is the darkest and boldest, meaning the flavors will still come through even when adding in milk, sugar, or just water.
Fun fact: this roast was created for guitarist Zakk Wylde, from Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society. Thus, when you drink it you might just feel like a guitarist yourself.
Jokes aside, this huge blend takes our number one spot as the best coffee for cold brew you’ll find, and highly rated at a full 5-stars.
Buyer’s Guide: Preference is the Biggest Decision Maker When Choosing the Best Coffee for Cold Brew
While some beans are going to be a better-quality option than others when brewing your own coffee, hot or cold, that fact is that preference dictates flavors more than anything else.
Make sure to keep that in mind when testing out different beans with your own cold brew creations. Some prefer that light, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe bean, while others crave a nice smoky French Roast as the basis for their steeping.
While the difference in choice can be found in some of the flavor notes-as well as price, of course-both are going to offer an experience different than your typical hotly- brewed coffee.
In simpler terms, think about the flavor profiles of the outlined blends, and pick one that sounds good. All of the beans present a means of making high-quality coffee for yourself, so any of them can get the job done.
You just have to know what you want to try.
If you’re unsure of how to make your own cold brew the standard way, you can simply buy a coffee maker to do it for you. There are plenty of quality brewers out there to help simplify the process.
However, undertaking grinding the beans, placing them into a filter, and letting them steep overnight are a rewarding experience. Not many times can you, literally, taste the fruits of your labor in such a quick fashion, and cold brewing allows you to do just that.
Ready to Make the Best Coffee for Cold Brew?
One of the best things about cold brew is that you can make it what you want, how you want, and when you want. It’s good as your daily pick-me-up, or a nightly treat.
However, you want to drink it, finding the right beans for you is a good first step.
Who knows, maybe the best coffee for cold brew changes as the weather does. There’s no reason you can’t experiment with different brands.
In fact, we’d recommend it.