On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing quite like the refreshing jolt of cold brew coffee.
And then there’s of course the people who love cold brew on a cold, winter day too.
I can hardly blame them; it really is that good.
Known for its mild and smooth profile with low acidity and minimal bitterness, cold brewing is an awesome way to bring out a coffee bean’s most subtle flavors.
However, not all beans are created equal, and some benefit from the cold treatment more than others do.
Now before we continue, there is a difference between iced coffee and cold brew, and I explain all about it in this article, along with how to make them.
Read on to discover which beans make the best coffee for delicious cold brew, and to learn all about how cold brewing affects the taste and aroma of your drink.
Let’s look at the top picks first, followed by info about this awesome brewing method.
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Coffee Bros. is a newer coffee company founded by two brothers who have a passion for good, high-quality coffee.
So the name isn’t a joke.
Some of the things they do that ensure quality and set them apart are that they do quality sourcing and small-batch roasting, which ensures that each roast, and each bag, gets the care and attention it deserves.
Their Cold Brew Blend is a medium roast that’s very well-crafted to emphasize the sweet and juicy flavors you want in a refreshing cold brew.
It’s made of a blend of 100% Arabica beans, sourced from two of the world’s top coffee-growing regions – Minas Gerais, Brazil, and Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.
They use naturally processed beans, which contain greater inherent sweetness, and then carefully roast them to highlight this character. At the end of this process is a smooth brew with flavor notes of chocolate, berry, and brown sugar.
It’s one that I’m sure you’ll enjoy if you’re looking for good cold brew.
Taking a very different direction from the more modern, sleek looking cold brew blend from Coffee Bros., one of my other top picks comes from the heart of New Orleans.
From a French style cafe that’s been running since 1862.
I’ve been to Cafe Du Monde and it’s a really fun place, and the beignets are amazing.
Ok and the coffee’s great too!
Quite popular among tourists (like me), many say that Cafe Du Monde’s famed chicory coffee delivers an excellent cold brew.
The chicory root is ground and added to coffee to subdue the bitterness of a dark roast.
It adds a sweet tobacco-smoke aroma that really brings out what’s desirable and appealing about cold brew coffee: the low bitterness, smooth and light body, and mellow flavors.
Chicory is an interesting flavor that many use as a coffee substitute, and it may not be for everyone, but it’s most certainly worth a try.
Another plus about this coffee is that it’s very inexpensive.
But, because of the coffee chicory (which has no caffeine) mix, it does have less caffeine than other coffees.
So while this one may not be for everyone, it’s a fun, delicious experience!
I’ve reviewed a Stone Street coffee here on My Home Brewed Coffee before; I was very impressed by their coffee on my first try.
Their cold brew is also pretty amazing, too.
Stone Street is a small-batch roastery based out of New York, offering beans specifically for cold brew.
The company pride themselves on their ethical and intimate sourcing relationships with some of the best coffee farms and growing regions.
The single-origin, premium Colombian Supremo Arabica beans are dark roasted to yield a slightly sweet, smooth, bold and well-balanced flavor that’s for any true cold brew lover.
I love well-balanced coffee, that’s no secret. And this one doesn’t disappoint there.
Colombian Supremo beans are usually characterized by tasting notes of fruit, chocolate, and caramel and are widely considered to be some of the best, most flavorful beans in the world, with their wide and balanced profile.
Stone Street Coffee is a company of quality, and although this coffee is a bit expensive, the chances are that if you love bold, authentic coffee you’ll love it.
Metropolis Coffee is a company based out of Chicago with a commitment to sourcing the finest coffees by developing good relationships with the farmers who grow it.
One thing that stands out about Metropolis is that from Monday to Thursday they roast each bag of beans to order.
This commitment to freshness really shows an appreciation for fine coffee that, well… not company has.
This cold brew roast from Metropolis Coffee is quite dark, giving a final product with flavors of dark melted chocolate, walnut and a hint of toasty flavor.
Although, there’s no information about what beans make up this blend, which is unfortunate because it’s nice to know which region of coffee your tasting.
Also, this is pretty expensive cold brew, so if the price point is a kicker for you, one of the other ones from this list might be best.
Tiny Footprint Coffee is a small roastery that’s focused on producing great beans, but also very much so on making healthy decisions for the planet.
You may have guessed with a name like Tiny Footprint. It doesn’t just mean they have small feet.
They’re partnered with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on conservation of nature with a special emphasis on forest habitat and birds.
Tiny Footprint also tout themselves as having the world’s first “carbon negative” coffee.
What this means is that for every pound of coffee they sell, they offset the amount of carbon that’s used in its production and distribution by planting trees in the Ecuadorian cloud forest.
This, in my opinion, is an awesome vision that they have.
Crafted specifically with cold brewing in mind, the Cold Press Elixir is a great blend. It’s a mix of light and dark roasts, spiked with some high-end Ethiopian beans.
This creates a silky richness and sweet flavor with subtle but bright floral and fruit notes, all encased in a cocoa-like body.
This cold brew coffee is also craft roasted in a vintage 90-kilo German-built Probat drum roaster.
Cold Brew Elixir is an awesome coffee not only in its taste, but if you have it in mind to help reduce the carbon footprint in the world, it’s a company that is right on par.
What Is Cold Brew?
Just on the off-chance that you’re here and don’t know what cold brew is yet, and didn’t read my article from the top of the page… cold brew is coffee that’s brewed without using any heat in the brewing process.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be “cold” per se, it can be brewed with room temperature water or ice cold water.
It just means there’s no heat involved in the brewing process.
Of course, lukewarm coffee is pretty disgusting… so we don’t call it “lukewarm brew” and we don’t keep it lukewarm even if it’s brewed with room temperature water.
But it’s quite refreshing and delicious to cool it down with some ice cubes or in the fridge and drink it cold.
The Grind Size Is Very Important
One of the first things anyone should know about making cold brew is that the grind size is super important.
We need to remember the rule of thumb for brewing coffee: the shorter the brew time, the finer the grind size should be, and the longer the brew time, the more coarse the grind size should be.
Since cold brew usually takes a long time to make, it’s of course recommended that you use a very coarse grind for it.
Coarse as in 10 out of 10… if there was a scale from 1 to 10, and 10 is the most coarse grind setting.
But please be aware, if you make cold brew with an AeroPress, which is actually my favorite method for doing it, you still use a very fine grind setting… about 2 out of 10 on our grind scale.
This is of course because AeroPress brews coffee very quickly, whether hot or not.
Effects Of Temperature On The Taste Of Coffee…
Cold brew has a distinct and delicious taste.
It’s the absence of heat from in brewing that gives cold brew its unique and praised characteristics.
But this brew method requires twice as many grounds as making hot coffee, and many additional hours of brewing.
There are many acids and solubles responsible for the light and floral tasting notes often found in coffee, and these are only extracted above certain temperatures.
It’s because of this that cold brew is lower in acid and easier on the stomach than most hot-brewed coffees, but at the same time can have more muted flavors, which is traded for a more bold, robust flavor.
To ensure a cup that is both smooth and flavorful, choosing the right beans to brew is very important.
To put it bluntly, not all coffee beans are fit for cold brew.
How Does One Make Cold Brew?
The short answer to that question is, that’s for another article!
There are multiple ways and brewing methods for cold brew.
This article is aimed at my favorite beans for it, and some more info about it.
But, if you want to learn how to make cold brew in pretty much every way possible, I once again encourage you to read my article here about the difference between iced coffee and cold brew, and how to make both of them.
I will say though, that the two main ways of making it are immersion and slow drip.
Methods that use immersion are the easiest and least expensive and painstaking ways to make cold brew coffee, and these are the ones I recommend.
This would include making it with a French press, AeroPress, etc.
But basically, the difference between immersion and slow drip is that:
For immersion, the coffee grinds are fully immersed in water and soaked/steeped for about 12-14 hours.
In slow drip, ice water is slowly dripped onto coffee ground and collected into a carafe below.
Slow drip is actually faster than immersion, but as I mentioned, these brewers are more expensive and difficult to do.
Rounding It All Up
I hope this article gave you some great options to try for your home cold-brewing!
And if you want to know what my top choice for cold brew beans is and just a good choice to start with, click here to find out!
The cold counterpart to hot coffee is not only a wonderful, refreshing summer beverage, it can be a delicious, cozy drink at any time of the year.
I mean, it’s like ice cream…
I’m an ice cream fanatic, and it doesn’t matter if it’s in the dead of winter or a boiling hot summer day, I love it any day of the year.
So here’s to making better coffee all the time, cold coffee cheers!