Choosing the best ground coffee for cold brew can be tricky, but understanding the cold brew process helps you understand what type of coffee grind you should be looking for and why.
Making cold brew concentrate works a bit differently than regular coffee, but it makes for a great cup any time of day. In this article we explore how the cold brew method works and five of the best cold brew coffee grounds.
Cold brewing coffee involves steeping the grounds in cool water for an extended period of time, usually 12 to 24 hours. Then, the grounds are filtered out, and the coffee is ready to drink.
The biggest difference between a cold brew and regular coffee brewing method is pretty obvious – the temperature. Cold brew coffee beans never come into contact with cold water, so the extraction process is much different.
One of the reasons that traditional coffee is brewed using hot water is that coffee beans have a lot of components that dissolve quickly and efficiently at high temperatures, including caffeine.
Hot coffee is also more acidic. This means that when coffee is brewed at lower temperatures, it has less caffeine and is less acidic than hot brewed coffee.
There are two ways to approach the cold brew method: immersion and cold drip.
Immersion cold brew is by far the simpler of the two and involves putting coffee grounds in to the water and leaving them to sit for a long period of time. Extraction is slow with this method, and coarse grounds work best. This is the method most people use to make cold brewed coffee at home.
Cold drip is a little faster but not as straightforward. In this method, cold water slowly drips onto the grounds, seeps through, and drips into a lower chamber.
This process takes about eight hours and also uses coarse ground coffee. You can get more flavor with the drip method, but it requires special equipment and is usually done in cafes and coffee shops.
You can use any roast you want for cold coffee, but most people prefer a dark roast compared to a lighter roast, because it usually pairs better with the low acidity.
What is a little more important than the roast is the grind. As we mentioned, for cold brew, coarse grounds are preferred.
Coarsely ground coffee has more space between the grounds, allowing the cold water to permeate more easily during the brewing process. On the other hand, if you use fine ground coffee, the water gets stuck inside the grounds and the flavor is over-extracted and can taste bitter.
Single-origin coffee doesn’t necessarily come from the same farm, but it is always from the same region. They’re a little more expensive, but they can be unpredictable as the flavors vary from season to season and there is no other coffee added for balance.
Blends are a little more reliable because it’s easy to change the ratio of beans to make sure that the flavor is always consistent. Because cold brewing is such a long process and extraction is done a little differently, blends are typically a better choice.
If you’re looking for ground coffee to make cold brew, you’re in luck. Below are our pick of the best options available.
If you’re looking for a yummy cold brew flavor, take a look at the vanilla macadamia nut roast from Inspired Coffee Co. It was specially designed for cold brewing and made from 100 percent Arabica beans. It’s suitable for immersion cold brew, and can even be used in a French press. The coarsely ground coffee minimizes acidity and maximizes flavor with vanilla and chocolate notes with nutty undertones.
Another great flavor from Inspired Coffee Co is this Irish cream flavor. This and all of Inspired Coffee Co’s flavors come in a 12-ounce resealable bag with an integrated degassing valve to keep the ground fresh. This roast has a very bold, creamy flavor that’s not for everyone, but if you like your iced coffee with a sweet kick, this is a great one to try.
This coarse ground coffee from Bizzy is roasted by a small company in Minneapolis that started with a deep love of cold brew coffee. They use only 100 percent Arabica beans and USDA certified organic beans in their coffee recipe, plus they sift their grounds to make sure that every bag has a consistent size.
The coarse grounds are ideal for cold brew. Because the beans are sourced from multiple places, including Nicaragua, Peru, and Guatemala, you get a more consistent flavor. This is a medium roast coffee with notes of hazelnut and caramel.
One of the notable things about this cold brew coffee from the Chosen Bean is that it’s a blend of handpicked beans sourced from Ethiopia, Mexico, Sumatra, and Guatemala. The beans are coarsely ground, and the blend of light, medium, and darker roast beans deliver a well-rounded taste profile.
The Chosen Bean roasts its beans in small batches to maintain quality control. It has a light taste with chocolate, nutty undertones with a hint of orange sweetness.
This blend from Tiny Footprint is a mix of light and dark roasts and is made from 100 percent shade-grown organic Arabica coffee. It’s ground for cold brewing and delivers a sweet, rich flavor with bright notes of floral and fruit in a chocolate base.
Coffee from Tiny Footprint not only tastes good, but it’s also good for the environment, too. The brand donates a portion of all proceeds to reforestation efforts in Ecuador, making it the world’s first carbon-negative coffee.
They also use biodegradable coffee bags, fuel-efficient burners for roasting, and high-efficiency lighting to lessen their impact on the environment.
When it comes to making cold brew the important thing to remember is that you have to use coarse coffee grounds. A lot of coffee aficionados prefer dark roasts, but you can use whatever you think tastes the best.
Coffee, whether served hot or cold, is personal.