Best Coffee for Cold Brew - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks
When you have decided to get into cold brew coffee, it is vitally important to be sure that you have the best coffee for cold brew. Because this is a different process for extracting flavor, it is imperative that your choice in coffee is one of the five listed on the table below for maximum flavor and satisfaction.
Cold brew coffee is one of the best techniques for flavor extraction. Unlike the drip machines where really, any bean will do, for cold brew, having the right coffee bean is the difference between a heavenly cup of coffee and something that just is not worth your time. Now, understanding all this, you also know that it takes a ton of time to find the right coffee, whether it is whole beans or grounds, and the reality is you don’t have enough time to spend inspecting each type of coffee for its flavor.
However, once you have cold brew coffee, you will find that going back to the standard drip makers are not as enjoyable, so it is vital to learn about the beans. Check out the table below for our top picks.
Why Cold Brew Coffee?
The process of cold brew was once restricted to the higher end coffee shops, a technique that only the most trained baristas would dare embark on. But the reality is cold brew is easy enough for the home barista to try their hand at. All you need is a bit of time to learn and understanding of the process.
The good news is the cold brew is more forgiving of the problems that come with brewing coffee. Specifically, flavor can be affected by a variety of variables – how you store your beans, the altitude at which the beans grow, soil considerations, etc. The bottom line is the process from bean to cup is not the simple idea that most think it is. Coffee enthusiasts know this well.
Cold brew allows for a more muted flavor, really allowing you to taste a different element of coffee and the nice part is for those with stomach issues like acid reflux, cold brew allows you a chance to enjoy that cup of joe without having to pop a Pepcid to keep your esophagus from becoming a five alarm situation.
Once you have the beans, you are off to the races!
When you are looking for a cold brew bean that also provides you with a socially conscious mission, then Tiny Footprint’s cold press blend is the perfect coffee bean for you.
Forgetting for a second the flavor benefits of this coffee, it is important to remember where coffee beans are grown. Chances are, most of the storebought coffee beans are harvested on coffee plantations, and that is a massive problem in terms of how the labor is treated along with the carbon footprint left. Still, there is no judging if you prefer one of these coffees. However, Tiny Footprint made an experiment out of getting a fantastic coffee bean where the workers were treated fairly and the carbon footprint would be negligible.
As the review suggests, this is a fantastic bean. The flavor is perfect for a cold brew coffee, and for those suffering in summer climates, this cold brew coffee is the perfect complement to a summer day. The flavor is quite balanced and the hints of chocolate keep you coming back for more – who doesn’t love chocolate?! There is some assertiveness in the flavor to remind you that, after all, you are drinking coffee, but the bean matches perfectly to the process. Overall, it is hard to find a cup of cold brew coffee that is superior to Tiny Footprint.
Now, a word on the company itself – Tiny Footprint was founded in 2010 with the goal of providing coffee with a carbon negative end process. They have formed cooperatives with various high altitude Andean coffee farmers who are third party certified as organic and Fair Trade. The reason Tiny Footprint is able to claim they are carbon negative is for every pound of coffee purchased they make reforestation efforts specifically in Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest. Since 4 pounds of CO2 are used to produce one pound of coffee, to make a long story short, they invest heavily in reforestation efforts.
So, it sounds like this is a great company that produces a great coffee bean – too good to be true? In some ways, yes. The price point on Tiny Footprint isn’t the most affordable, and you can’t find it in your local grocery stores, so it is most convenient to order it online. The other problem is many report that Tiny Footprint’s coffee struggles with consistency. Of course, you never want a stale batch, but this is something that happens more often than it should.
Overall, Tiny Footprint provides an excellent coffee bean for cold brew that gives you a sense of purpose every time you put the cup to your lips.
- Balanced flavor with a hint of chocolate
- Quaint but assertive notes provide that unmistakable coffee flavor
- Every time you purchase the coffee beans you are helping out the rain forest - literally
- Price point and availability can be problematic
- Some issues with flavor consistency
For those who love good coffee, Starbucks perpetually delivers on the promise of creating exceptional coffee for the discerning coffee drinker. In fact, when you think of brands that are synonymous with great coffee, Starbucks is usually always at the top of the list.
So, because Starbucks is a very smart company, they have gotten in on the cold brew phenomenon by releasing their Narino 70. The goal with this particular cold brew was to get the right bean and properly roast it while giving you, the home brewer, little to do in the way of brewing that delightful cold brew.
Because the coffee is divided into different packs, it makes it extremely easy to brew your coffee. Simply fill a pitcher with water, throw in the right amount of cold brew packs, put it in the fridge overnight, and the next day you have delicious cold brew coffee. It does not get any easier!
Now, here’s the best part – Narino 70 is a great tasting coffee! Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules Winnfield exclaimed approval for the Big Kahuna Burger? That’s how you’ll feel after drinking a cup of Narino 70. Except without the violence.
Now, the big issue that many people have with this particular cold brew is that the coffee seems a bit overpriced based on what you’re getting. Some people report having to use more than the recommended serving amount to get the right flavor. This is problematic because if the packs were a bit larger then you would not go through them as quickly.
Ultimately, Narino 70 is a great attempt at a cold brew everyone can love and Starbucks does a good job getting their share of this particular market.
- Great flavor and consistency with each pack
- Packs make brewing cold brew coffee extremely easy and efficient
- Starbucks has made this particular coffee so that it could be the perfect type of coffee for a cold brew
- The packs seem to be a bit weak so you may have to double them to get the desired flavor
- Does not feel like you get the right amount of packs for your money
When a business literally takes the name of what their market is, you can bet they offer a product that is tailor made for their customers. Cold Brew Kitchen does exactly that with their Reserve Blend – this is an excellent coffee for the cold brew enthusiast.
When you think about consistently between different bags of beans or grounds, it is something that all fair-trade coffees struggle with. Cold Brew Kitchen, however, has found a way to do it with success and they boast of using hand selection to ensure the best possible flavors. This particular medium roast is noted for its warm aroma and does not seek to be more than it is – a plain good cup of coffee. For those summer days when you want something refreshing yet enjoy a good cup of coffee, it is quite difficult to do better than this particular bean.
Now, again, part of what you are paying for is the consciousness of the coffee. Cold Brew Kitchen uses fair trade practices in order to get you a coffee that is not borne of mistreated workers or harmful to the land. This is what accounts for its price point.
The other issue Cold Brew Kitchen has is the boldness of the medium roast. This particular product claims to be medium but many people have noted that it is a bit weak. Keep that in mind, and also remember the cold brew process does mute flavors, so if you want bold flavor, then you need a bolder bean.
Overall, Cold Brew Kitchen does a good job getting you a great cup of cold brew coffee – after all, what’s in a name…
- Good flavor that hits all the solid notes you expect in cold brew coffee
- Specializes in cold brew coffee
- Fair trade designation means you are getting coffee that is good to the environment and workers
- The medium roast is a bit weak
- Some consistency issues even though they claim beans are hand picked
Madesco is very proud of their cold brew coffee, they claim that it even resuscitates! Not sure what they mean by that, but they are really keen on promoting their cold brew coffee that way. Also, as a company, they claim to be leaders in providing the right cold brew beans for coffee enthusiasts. Again, that can be debated – much like resuscitation – but what is not up for debate is Madesco produces an excellent cold brew coffee bean at a pretty good price.
Now, the other thing Madesco does is include recipe books and all other types of materials with the purchase. If you are looking for just a bag of cold brew coffee, it can be overwhelming, but you have to admire their enthusiasm. Having options is not necessarily a bad thing. They advertise a bold, robust flavor for your cold brew, so in essence they are trying to counter the narrative that cold brew coffee is muted and weak. Their cold brew claims to be anything but that.
The truth is for the most part they are right. This is a good cold brew coffee with a unique taste. It certainly is not for everyone – some will find it not to be the most consistent of flavors – but it certainly makes a valid attempt to resuscitate. Combine that with their enthusiasm for the cold brew process, and you have a company that seems dedicated to doing a great job and will only get better.
The downside is what was said before, the flavor is not for everyone and you may be overloaded with other things besides the coffee.
Overall, Madesco does a good job of getting you enthusiastic about cold brew – and that is never a bad thing!
- Robust flavor that will have a great appeal for many cold brew consumers
- Madesco is all-in on cold brew, so you can only imagine that the products and services will keep getting better
- No reports of inconsistency from bag to bag
- The amount of stuff you get besides the coffee beans can be a bit overwhelming
- The flavor isn’t for everyone – Madesco is trying to overcome the muting effects of cold brew
Boldness is a characteristic that in America, at least, is rewarded and lauded. To be bold is to set forth courageously despite those naysayers who tell you why something can’t happen. In the case of cold brew coffee, boldness is something to be applauded because cold brew is known to mute the flavor of coffee, so having the right cold brew coffee should delight the senses and allow you to bask in the glory of boldness.
For Cold Grinds, that is exactly what they set out to do. Besides the bold flavor, Cold Grinds is especially impressed with their ability to infuse the most caffeine into their cold brew formula. This is a point of pride that they even issue warnings about the amount of caffeine.
Similar to the Starbucks Narina 70, Cold Grinds works in the pouch system, so you just simply remove the pouches, defiantly place them into a pitcher, fill with water, set in the fridge and go on with your caffeinated self.
Though you may be a champion of the morning cup of (cold) joe, there are some things with Cold Grinds you should be aware of – besides the caffeine. The first is the bags don’t submerge, which is a major problem in the cold brew world. It detracts from the flavor of the coffee. The other major problem is the steeping times – if you don’t time it exactly right then the flavor of your coffee is not as strong.
Overall, Cold Grinds may win with boldness, but in the chase for greatness they overlooked a couple critical components.
- Refreshingly bold flavor from a cold brew, not the norm
- Boasts high amounts of caffeine, perfect for that morning jolt
- Pouch system makes the cold brew experience extremely easy
- Pouches don’t sink to the bottom so your coffee flavor could be off
- Finding the right steeping time is not easy with this particular brand
The Cold Brew Process
For people who love coffee but want a milder, less acidic method of enjoying a good cup of coffee, the cold brew process is something that they embrace enthusiastically.
The key with cold brew is it must be a longer steeping and brewing process than with the drip coffee makers. With the traditional brewing systems, water has to be warmed between 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For cold brew, temperatures that hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit are critical. The next step is to store the steeping coffee in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, you can enjoy the coffee with cream and sugar just as you would a regular cup of coffee. You will notice immediately how cold brew is less acidic and sits better in your stomach. Once a staple of coffee shops, cold brew is now available for everyone and it is important to have the right beans for this purpose.
When you need a change of pace for your morning, there are few things that can be more refreshing than cold brew. Fortunately, you can use cold brew coffee in a variety of ways – even as a refreshing cool down drink! The choice is yours with this versatile version of coffee that is easy on the stomach – and the wallet.