Making cold brew at home is super easy. But what are the best coffee beans for cold brew? In this guide, you'll learn about the best grind, roast, and brands for making an amazing cup of cold brew coffee at home.
There are countless options when it comes to choosing a cold brew roast, brand, and grind. Here are some of our favorite pre-ground and whole bean options:
- Stone Street Coffee Co. Cold Brew Dark Roast Grind (Buy now)
- Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Grind (Buy now)
- Death Wish Coffee Co. Whole Beans (Buy now)
- Real Good Coffee Co. Breakfast Blend Whole Beans (Buy now)
Cold brew is all the rage now, and it seems like everyone is itching to try it! But buying cold brew coffee from the coffee shop each morning can get expensive very quickly, so why not try brewing it yourself at home?
The Best Coffee for Cold Brew
Choosing the “best” coffee for any brew method is nearly impossible. Palates and preferences differ and there is no single bean, grind, or roast that will please everyone.
In this guide, we cover the best set of beans for cold brew. One will certainly please your palate. And we also cover the best roast and grind for the best cold brew flavor.
Need a refresher on cold brew coffee? Here's our guide to making cold brew coffee at home.
To begin, here are our top 4 picks for the best beans for cold brew coffee.
Stone Street Coffee Co. is a small-batch coffee roasting company located in Brooklyn, NY. Many reviewers and self-proclaimed cold brew aficionados claim this is their #1, go-to cold brew coffee.
If you prefer to grind your own coffee, it’s also available in packages of whole beans.
Learn more about Colombian coffee.
It is coarsely-ground for optimal cold brewing.
Their cold brew grind is available in three different roasts:
For best results, we’d recommend “Smooth & Sweet”, a medium blend that offers hints of caramel and hazelnut. If you want a richer flavor, or if you add lots of cream, milk, or sugar to your coffee, try their “Dark & Bold” blend with notes of cocoa and molasses.
Customers love how affordable this coffee is, and we find it just as rich as freshly-ground beans!
Death Wish Coffee Co. is famous for its claim of producing the world’s strongest coffee beans. Their coffee is highly caffeinated, making it an ideal cold brew coffee brand!
These are dark roast beans with smooth chocolate and cherry undertones, perfect for those who enjoy milk or cream in their cold brew.
The company claims, “Our whole coffee beans will transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious, bold, and intense beverage that will revolutionize your morning.”
Needless to say, it’s perfect for anyone who needs that extra boost in the morning.
It combines a more subtle, citrusy flavor with smooth notes of creamy milk chocolate. It’s also more affordable than other brands.
This has a light, delicate taste without adding any cream!
Sorting Out Roast, Grind and Beans for Cold Brew
Now with the specific recommendations out of the way, lets move to the specifics of what type of bean you'll want for your cold brew.
Best Roast for Cold Brew Coffee
While the best roast for cold brew coffee depends on personal preference to some degree, most people prefer a medium or dark roast.
You can still use light roast coffee to make cold brew at home, but you may be disappointed by the results if you don’t use one specifically meant for cold brew. While many medium and dark roasts have rich notes of things like chocolate and nuts, light roasts usually offer citrusy, floral flavors that don’t always translate well to cold brew.
Why not use light roast coffee? Due to the lightness of the beans, they also tend to require a longer steeping time before you get the full effect of the flavors. This increased steeping time can bring out more of coffee’s undesirable bitter elements.
Medium and dark roast are best: Medium and dark roasts require a shorter steeping time to achieve the full flavor.
- Medium roasts are probably your best bet if you drink your cold brew without any cream, sugar, or milk. They usually offer a more balanced flavor than dark roasts.
- On the other hand, the darker the roast, the richer the coffee. If you like strong, earthy flavors, or if you like to add dairy and sweeteners, you might want to try using a dark roast.
Just be careful, because the taste can be overwhelming if the coffee’s brewed for too long!
Best Ground Coffee for Cold Brew
For the best cold brew coffee, you'll want coarse ground coffee. This makes the best flavor and they are easier to strain out.
Medium ground coffee will also work, but you might need a paper strainer or filter to remove all the grounds.
For the best cold brew coffee, it's best to grind it fresh when you're making it. Here are our picks for the best coffee grinders.
Pre ground coffee is the easiest option when it comes to making cold brew at home. You don’t need a grinder, and the coffee is ready to go as soon as you open the bag.
You can’t just use any old ground coffee you have laying around. Be sure to use the correct grind quality, or else you risk your cold brew not steeping properly.
What about the freshness of the ground coffee? The age of the beans is another critical factor to consider. You must use the freshest grounds possible. Once coffee beans have been ground, it’s estimated that they lose up to 60% of their aroma within just fifteen minutes! Learn more about how long coffee lasts.
You really don’t have any time to waste with ground coffee. Think ahead and be sure to buy only a small amount of coffee at once to maintain the flavor as much as possible. If you do need to store ground coffee, this post will help.
Cold Brew Coffee Beans
In general, making cold brew coffee with whole beans will yield the best results. By purchasing whole beans to grind as needed, you can capture significantly more flavor than you’re able to with pre-ground beans.
How to Grind Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
- If you’re serious about cold brew, invest in a burr or mill grinder.
- Grind your coffee beans evenly for optimal results. A traditional blade grinder will work in a pinch, but don’t usually offer the even grind other types of grinders do.
- If your grinder has different settings, choose a medium-coarse or coarse setting.
- Just pour your beans into the grinder as you normally would, and grind until you reach the desired consistency.
How Coarse to Grind Coffee for Cold Brew
A coarse grind is best. The coffee should have a sand-like feel to it. Finely ground beans are far too dense to steep evenly, meaning it’ll take longer and you won’t get the full aroma or flavor of the beans. And it's harder to strain at the end of the process.
Using coarsely ground coffee will allow your cold brew to steep to optimal flavor, and it’s much easier to filter the grounds!
Tips for Making Your Own Cold Brew
We’ve talked a lot about cold brew in this article! To finish it off, here are a few tips on making the best possible at-home cold brew:
- Use coarsely-ground beans and filtered water for the highest-quality flavor
- Steep the coffee for between 12 to 24 hours to extract as much flavor as possible
- Don’t drink undiluted cold brew – it’s highly caffeinated! It is most commonly diluted 50/50 with water (or milk and cream).
If you want to make the best cold brew possible, be sure to use high-quality cold brew coffee brands and roasts!
For a premium tasting cold brew coffee, you might consider an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee bean.
What brand or roast do you prefer for your cold brew coffee? Let me know below!
Dena Haines is a co-founder and blogger on EnjoyJava! – and is working to make it the best coffee blog in the world. She also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Click Like This. Dena is partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company she started with her husband, Bryan.