Cold brew coffee is growing in popularity and for good reason.
Easy to make, cold brew coffee is sweet, smooth, and low in acidity. The flavors are muted, subtle, and delicate.
Choosing the best coffee beans for cold brew is challenging, but here are some tips to get you started.
Top 5 Best coffee beans for cold brew 2020
1. Koffee Kult Colombia Huila Coffee Beans
Koffee Kult has created this 100% Colombia Huila fresh roasted coffee with a great aroma in all stages of creation.
The beans are organically sourced and full-bodied. They come from the high altitudes of the Hula mountains.
These Huila beans have been roasted to perfection successfully capturing the sweet flavors from the natural chocolate inherent in these beans.
Coming from small roasters and bagged immediately after roasting, these bags pack a freshness and aroma that is hard to beat.
Huila has a strong flavor without being too bitter or acidic. This coffee comes in a resealable bag to ensure freshness and flavor is maintained.
2. Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve (Our Top Recommended)
The Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve is designed to do well in cold brewing systems.
While some coffee has the ability to be brewed in different ways, other beans are prepared and designed to handle the cold-brewing systems specifically.
Stone Street has paid close attention to the grind size, roast level, overall quality and origin of this bean to ensure that all factors are in line with a successful cold brewing process.
This coffee is of 100% Arabica and from Colombian Supremo. This is one of the highest quality grades of coffee bean.
These beans create a bold coffee flavor characterized by a well-balanced, smooth, slightly sweet and low acidity taste.
3. Whiskey & Rum Barrel Aged Coffee
Whiskey & Coffee brings together those two flavors in a way that has never been accomplished: blending the whiskey flavor into coffee grounds.
The three primary flavors include rum barrel aged, stout whiskey and rye whiskey.
Whiskey & Coffee have been able to pair their Grade 1 coffee beans with the Thomas Tew Rum and the award-winning Sons of Liberty whiskey.
Their coffee beans are sourced from a single origin.
Each bag carries a hand-written lot number, roast date and the initials of the roast master. These beans aren’t blends but the whole bean sourced, allowing for more flavor retention.
4. Kenya Peaberry Coffee
Kenya Peaberry Coffee carries a winy taste that is full-bodied with sharp acidity. There are different fruit flavors within this coffee such as citrus and berry.
There is also an influence of spice that is normal among the Kenyan coffees. The coffee beans comprising Kenya Peaberry Coffee are only found in 5% of the crop and are manually removed.
These beans are roasted upon order, packaged immediately to retain flavor and then sent to their destination. These coffee beans are sourced from coffee farmers on a fair trade based system.
5. Dark Brazilian Cerrado
Brazil boasts being the largest producer of coffee beans on planet earth.
These Dark Brazilian Cerrado beans tap into this rich source of coffee beans being completely sourced from this beautiful country.
These coffee beans are chosen carefully based upon flavor, origin, and quality. This coffee takes pride in being 100% Arabica with no added preservatives, additives or artificial flavors.
The wonderful taste is natural and refreshing. Dark Brazilian Cerrado has a bold body and medium-dark roast, hence the name.
The coffee is roasted with the environment in mind. These beans are sold whole in five lb. bags.
Best Coffee for Cold Brew Buying Guide
Should you use expensive fresh beans for coffee beans?
The first question to consider is what Kinds of coffee beans are best for cold brew.
Although a lot depends on your own personal preference, there are a few general guidelines to take into account.
Made at a lower temperature and with a longer brew time, cold brew coffee is more forgiving than other methods of coffee brewing.
This means that the freshness of the coffee is not quite as important and that it is not necessary to buy the most expensive beans.
In fact, since the delicate flavors are lost in the process, you won’t want to waste your best coffee beans on cold brew coffee (1).
Single origin or blends? – Which is better for cold brew?
Another common question is whether to use single origin beans or blends.
Because blends often are designed to reduce acidity, which is not necessary for cold brew because the process itself reduces acidity, a single origin coffee works well for cold brew.
Furthermore, single origin beans have a clearer profile than blends making it easier to experience the full range of the flavor.
On the other hand, blends that are made specifically for cold brew can be a good option (2).
Specific types of beans that are good for cold brew include Indonesian Sulawesi, Premium Sumatra, Kenyan, and Peruvian.
Any type of bean can work well for cold brew and the type of roast is actually more important than the type of bean.
Whole bean vs pre-ground – Which is better for cold brew?
Next, you will want to consider whether to use whole bean or pre-ground coffee when making cold brew.
While pre-ground coffee can be used and many find it more convenient, grinding your own beans is the better option. Once ground, coffee beans quickly lose their freshness through exposure to the air.
Humidity in the air dilutes coffee beans and this process occurs more quickly when the beans are pre-ground. Pre-ground coffee beans are also more likely to absorb other flavors from the kitchen and to lose their flavor.
Finally, by grinding the beans yourself, you will be able to control the coarseness of the grind.
What’s the best grind size for cold brew?
For the best cold brew coffee, you will want to use coarsely ground beans. Grinding the beans too finely will lead to over-extracted coffee that will be too bitter.
Coarsely ground beans, on the other hand, are easier and faster to filter. There is also less chance you will end up with coffee grounds in your cup when you use a coarse grind.
For an even and coarse grind, consider investing in a burr grinder natural. With a burr grinder, you will be able to grind your coffee beans uniformly, and it will give you more control over the coarseness of the grind.
Burr grinders come in a wide range of sizes, but if you are looking to save space and money, manual burr grinders are smaller and less pricey than electric grinders.
Which roast type is best for cold brew?
Another important question to consider is what type of roast is best for cold brew, light roast, medium roast, medium-dark roast, or dark roast.
This is in part a matter of personal taste and preference. The cold brew process accentuates some flavors and dilutes others, so you might need to make adjustments on the brewing time in order to compensate.
If you do use a light roast, keep in mind that the floral and fruity flavors of light roasts are harder to extract, and therefore you will need to increase your brewing times.
Another factor to consider is that lighter roasts are more acidic, but cold brewing reduces acidity so it will make it harder to taste some of the subtle and delicate flavors of the beans.
During the cold brew process, some flavors are lost due to the length of time of the brewing and the lack of acidity, but if you are trying to avoid acidity, you can use a light roast when making cold brew coffee.
On the other hand, a dark roast has already lost some of the subtle flavors of the beans in the roasting process, so it will have the most consistent flavor whether cold or hot brewed.
Roasts that have sweet, chocolaty, or spicy notes might need shorter brewing times.
Medium dark to medium light roasts is probably the safest choice for cold brew because they preserve the beans flavors while also introducing the roast flavor.
While all of these coffees are of high-quality and have individual strengths, there is one clear winner in the category of cold brews.
The Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve is rated our winner. This is the only coffee bean on this list specifically roasted with the cold brewing process in mind.
Stone Street went through the extra effort to find the right grind size, roast level and origin that would make the perfect bean for cold brew.
That level of commitment and bespoke selection won’t be found in these other coffee brands.
While their selection may have been top-notch, our winner was hand-selected to be the best coffee beans for cold brew.