Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew

best coffee beans for cold brewYou may be familiar with hot-brewed coffee and iced coffee, but how much do you know about cold brews?

There are plenty of people and coffee shops who find this style of coffee to be more of a waste than a benefit, but that’s often due to the amount of grounds the recipe requires.

If you can look past the additional beans, then you may find that a cold brew is preferable to your standard drip-style coffee. It can surely be a refreshing, delicious way to get the caffeine needed to get your day going.

You can also enjoy it as is, served over ice or heated up depending on your preference and the time of year, so don’t count this brew out just because it’s not made in the standard way.

To find out more about this delightful method of brewing coffee, read on!

What Makes Cold Brew Different?

The Flavor

While there are some who judge cold brew coffee harshly, it can be a great change from the regular hot or iced versions you’re used to.

This style of coffee tends to be brewed at a lower temperature than usual and for a longer period of time, which can tend to mean that the flavors are a little more subtle.

For those who aren’t a fan of the bitterness or acidity that can show up in hot brews, that can be a good thing.

What it results in is a sweeter, sometimes nuttier flavor that is easier to enjoy.

That said, it is important to keep in mind that most people don’t drink a cold brew as-is. Because it does tend to require a lot more beans, it can be a good idea to mix it with milk, cream, ice or water to create a smoother drink.

Don’t mistake this as the same as iced coffee, as that tends to be made in a different fashion from a cold brew.

The Basic Recipe for Cold Brew Coffee

Typically speaking, a cold brew coffee tends to be pretty easy to make but it can take a long time. Because it’s more of a passive experience, you can set up the brewing process to occur while you’re sleeping or doing other things.

You will need around twice as many grounds as a hot coffee recipe, which can be a problem for those who don’t want to spend more on the coffee. There are many who feel this ends up being a waste of good beans, but it’s worthwhile for those who enjoy it more than other brewing styles.

One thing to keep in mind is that the results can be different depending on many factors such as:

  • The roast of the beans.
  • What elevation they were grown at.
  • How they were stored.
  • Which cold-brewing style was used.

Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg as far as variables go. Largely it’s going to be up to you to try different varieties to find out which beans you prefer.

As with many types of coffee, there are plenty of different opinions on which kinds of beans make for the best cold brew.

What Kinds of Beans Are Best for Cold Brew?

Type of Bean

In generally, many agree that arabica beans are the best when you’re looking for an enjoyable flavor. The same tends to hold true for cold brews.

Naturally, you can feel free to experiment with using robusta beans as well if you prefer them. That option is entirely up to you.

Aside from that, there are so many styles of coffee, growing and roasting locations and more that can come into play for those who are serious about the exact specifications of their coffee.

What tends to be a larger question is which roast is the best for making cold brew coffee.

The Best Roast for Cold Brew Coffee

What many struggle to agree on is the roast that works best for cold brews. This is largely because of the flavor differences that can come from the different roasting levels.

Some find that a dark roast can be great in a cold brew, giving it a vaguely chocolate-like flavor. However, others say that the cold brew can sometimes wind up tasting somewhat burnt because of the roast.

Others prefer a light roast due to the unique flavors it can offer. Those who highly value the energy boost that coffee can give them may also prefer light roast beans because they often contain the most caffeine.

Those who prefer balance may consider a medium roast, as it contains the best of both worlds. The flavor can be more earthy, and sometimes even nutty.

If you don’t already have a roasting preference, then it’s worthwhile to try all three kinds of roasts to find the one that suits your tastes the best.

What is The Best Way To Brew It?

Full Immersion Brewing

There are a few of ways to make a cold brew coffee.

The first and most common is known as full immersion brewing.

What that means is that the beans are fully immersed in water. As they are in the process of releasing the flavors into room temperature or cold water, there are no filters or other tools necessary at that point.

Ideally, the coffee you use will be coarsely ground. While you can use more finely-ground options, it can sometimes create an unpleasant coffee sludge as a result.

You’ll want to make sure you use about a gallon of water per single pound of coffee beans, then allow the combination to sit for at least 12 hours.

That’s simply because the cooler water can take longer to pull out the flavor and caffeine.

Once it has brewed, you can mix it with just about anything you choose for the ideal flavor or simply drink it as is.

Because of the convenient brewing method, you can easily make your coffee for the entire week as you sleep.

Using a French Press

If you have a French press, you can also use it for making cold brews.

Do keep in mind that the ratio of water to coffee can differ depending on the size of the French press coffee maker you use.

This method might be slightly easier for the sake of filtering most of the grounds out of the water once it is finished, but it may still need some extra filtering if you don’t want any grounds to make it into your cup.

That said, not everyone has access to a French press for making this kind of coffee.

If that describes you, don’t fear! There are other ways.

What If I Don’t Have a French Press?

If you don’t have a French press, there are other tools that you can use to make your cold brew.

There are pitchers, jars and other containers on the market specifically made for making coffee in this way.

However, if you don’t want to spend money on that just yet then you can use a pitcher, mason jar or other larger container for brewing.

This ability to use a variety of containers makes it easy if you’re just looking to try cold brew without making a commitment.

Do keep in mind that the cold brew might be very concentrated, so it’s wise to mix it with other things to ensure you don’t give yourself extreme jitters.

You’ll also find that a cold brew can be great all year round. You can heat it up for warming winter beverages that give you an energy boost or you can serve it cold with ice, milk and in some recipes even a scoop of ice cream.

It’s well worth giving this style of brewing a try. It’s simple, delicious and can be adjusted in many ways to suit your exact tastes.

Once you’ve given a few different cold brew recipes a try, you may never want to go back!

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

Wait, Wait...There's More!