Cold-brew can be amazing for a few reasons: because it’s naturally lower in acidity than hot-brewed coffee, because it’s smooth and sweet, and because it’s very easy to make.
But don’t be fooled by all these pros. Even cold-brew coffee can be absolutely horrible when brewed with the wrong beans. Choosing the best coffee for cold brew can be challenging, but I’ve compiled a quick list to help you get started.
Let’s find the best beans for your palate, along with some cold brew tips and tricks!
- What is cold brew coffee?
- How to choose the best coffee for cold brew?
- Best cold-brew coffee beans
- FAQ on cold brew coffee beans
- What coffee is best for cold brew: A recap
- Recommended Reading
What is cold brew coffee?
In short (I’ve already talked about cold brew coffee here), it’s coffee made without any heat. Ground coffee is steeped in cold water for 12-24 hours to extract the flavors.
How to choose the best coffee for cold brew?
While choosing the best coffee for your taste is more or less a personal choice, there are a few guidelines that can help you find the best cold-brew beans:
- Dark or light roast
Deciding on a roast is a completely personal matter; some experts claim light roasts are better, others that dark are the only way to go. Experiment until you find the right beans, no matter the roast.
On one hand, medium roasts are more acidic, and cold brewing eliminates a lot of that acidity in the beans, making them suitable for all who prefer low acid coffee. Dark roasts are more flavorful, richer, with hints of chocolate and nuts.
Light roasts, on the other hand, require longer steeping time and it’s very difficult to extract their bright acidity.
- Single-origin or blend
Generally speaking, single-origin coffee is best for cold brew, but there can be exceptions (as you’ll see on the list below) when a blend can be specifically created for cold brew coffee.
Best cold-brew coffee beans
Lifeboost Organic Light Roast Coffee – Best Overall
- Light roast
- Tasting notes: crisp and clean finish, hints of milk chocolate
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Shade-grown, certified organic, 3rd party tested for mycotoxins
Lifeboost Light roast has a smooth taste without any bitter aftertaste. It has a clean and crisp finish with minimal acidity. The coffee beans are single-origin, grown in the mountains of Nicaragua, free of pesticides, harmful toxins, as well as non-GMO. It’s a healthy coffee with subtle hints of milk chocolate, perfect for your morning routine or an afternoon pick-me-up.
Kenya Peaberry Volcanica Coffee – Best Gourmet
- Medium roast
- Tasting notes: strawberries and citrus flavor with (occasional) spice and hints of winy blackcurrants
- Sharp acidity
- Origin: Kenya (micro-lot)
- Fair-Trade certified
Whole bean (you can choose different grind sizes as well) and 100% Arabica coffee, Kenya Peaberry is a luxurious and pricey coffee, but it’s well worth it. After all, it’s a peaberry, which means that the top 5% of the crop is manually picked. These beans make a smooth and flavorful cup, full-bodied, with hints of berries and citrus. The beans are roasted upon order, and fair-trade sourced. If this one seems too pricey for your taste (and I can’t blame you), give Volcanica Cold Brew blend a go instead (bold Sumatra blended with low-acid Arabica beans).
Peet’s Baridi Blend Coffee – Best Bean Blend
- Medium roast
- Tasting notes: sweet and aromatic with rich chocolate favor
- Origin: East Africa and Latin America
- Roasted to order
Created specifically for cold brew coffee, Peet’s signature Baridi (which means cold in Swahili) blend consists of bold and juicy East African and Latin American flavors. The blend produces a refreshing yet bold cup of coffee with a crisp and clean finish. Whether you need a pick-me-up coffee in the afternoon or looking for your morning regular, Peet’s have outdone themselves with this blend. What’s more, it’s also bold enough to handle milk.
Dark Brazilian Cerrado, Fresh Roasted Coffee – Best Dark Roast
- Medium-dark roast
- Tasting notes: bold, cocoa, and walnut notes
- Origin: Cerrado, Brazil
- Kosher certified and sustainably sourced
This is a heavy-bodied single-origin coffee from Brazil, from the Minas Gerais state, which is the largest coffee producing region in Brazil. The beans produce a smooth and flavorful cup, yet dark, bold, and rich, with nutty and chocolate hints, perfect for cold brew coffee. Choose from whole bean or ground coffee.
FAQ on cold brew coffee beans
What is the best grind size for cold brew?
To make the most of any cold brew coffee, use coarse grind as anything more finely ground can produce a bitter or harsh flavor.
Can I use pre-ground coffee for cold brew?
You can, but make sure it comes from a supplier/roaster who can provide you with freshly ground coffee. Buying ground coffee from a supermarket or a large online retailer (such as Amazon) can compromise the final flavor as coffees from such places are often stale, sitting on the shelves/warehouses for far too long.
How can I make cold brew coffee?
There are a few ways to make this type of coffee; I’ve talked extensively about 3 effective ways on how to make it at home here and then you can even turn it into a Nitro cold brew with one simple trick!
What is the best water to coffee ratio for cold brew?
The general ratio when making cold brew is 1-part coffee to 5-parts water.
What coffee is best for cold brew: A recap
As you can see from the list above, there are many different options when it comes to choosing the best coffee beans for cold brew coffee. There isn’t one correct choice for everyone; essentially, it all comes down to your tastebuds and preferences.
But to help you choose, go for Lifeboost Light Roast coffee if you’re looking for a healthier option on the list. These beans are certified organic, sustainably sourced, and produce a clean finish. Steep it for at least 16 hours to minimize the acidity and get the smooth flavor with gentle chocolate hints in your coffee.
If you’re looking for something bolder, Peet’s cold brew blend is specifically designed for those who demand more flavor in their coffee. The beans produce a smooth and sweet, aromatic brew that brings the best into the cup with a mixture of East African and Latin American flavors. Plus, you can easily add milk to your brew. It can handle it.
Last but not least, the boldest coffee on the list is Dark Roasted Brazilian Cerrado. It’s got it all: heavy body, chocolate, walnuts, and richness. It works great in a cold brew, and it’s also sustainably sourced and Kosher certified. You can take your pick from whole bean or ground coffee when you place the order.