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.
How Does Brewing Cold Brew Work?
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.
Immersion or Cold Drip?
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.
Roasts and Grind?
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 Origins or Blends?
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.
Five Best Ground Coffee for Cold Brew
If you’re looking for ground coffee to make cold brew, you’re in luck. Below are our pick of the best options available.
1. Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee
With over 6,000 reviews, this is by far the most-rated cold brew coffee on Amazon. You can choose the roast style you like, from the fruity light and bright roast to the rich dark and bold version.
I’ve noticed when shopping for coffee grounds that those that are designed for cold brew have the best results. Sure, you can use regular grounds, but why put yourself in that position?
Part of the reason “cold brew” grounds are better is that they are coarse, not fine. Coarser beans release more flavor, so you get a better cup of coffee.
Bizzy grounds are 100 percent organic (common with cold brews) and sourced from Guatemala, Peru, and Nicaragua. Each bag is one pound.
2. Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve
Although I’m showcasing ground coffee for cold brew, Stone Street does have a whole bean variety if you prefer to do the work yourself. Best of all, when buying through Amazon, the price is the same for both options.
Stone Street has almost 6,000 reviews, so it comes with plenty of recommendations. This particular blend is a dark roast sourced from Columbia. The company also highlights its triple-layered resealable bag, which keeps your beans extra fresh. You can buy one, three, or five-pound increments.
Formulated to make a bold, balanced, low-acid, slightly sweet cold brew or iced coffee. You can easily adjust the strength to make it extra strong (more coffee or longer brewing time) or even lighter (more water).
3. Tiny Footprint Coffee – Organic Cold Brew
If you like the idea of having a lower carbon footprint, you will appreciate this medium-roast blend from Tiny Footprint Coffee. The company donates to an Ecuadorian cloud rainforest with every bag sold, so you help the environment while getting a tasty beverage.
These grounds are 100 percent organic, but the company doesn’t list where they are sourced. Presumably, if Tiny Footprint is donating to Ecuador, it is getting its beans from there as well. To complete your hipster bingo card, know that the beans are roasted in a vintage German Probat drum roaster.
- USDA Organic Cold Brew & Press Elixir
- Ground Coffee
- Carbon Negative
- 16 Ounce
4. Cold Brew Lab Organic Coarse Ground Coffee
With a name like Cold Brew Lab, I imagine teams of scientists perfecting their beans and grinding process to deliver the best cup of coffee. Realistically, though, the company uses the same methods as everyone else to create this extra coarse dark roast.
Because it’s extra coarse, this blend is as close to having whole beans without needing to grind them. Cold Brew Lab does blend medium and dark-roasted beans for a smooth, delicate finish.
These beans are sourced from Columbia and certified 100 percent organic. You can choose between a one or two-pound bag.
5. STONE COLD JO: Cold Brew Coffee Blend
For the coffee snobs out there, Stone Cold Jo delivers specialty-grade, ethically sourced, artisan coffee. The company highlights that all of its beans are roasted by artisan craftsmen in a micro-roastery, so you get attention to detail missing from other brands. Stone Cold Jo sources from multiple regions, so each blend can be different.
These beans are 100 percent organic, fair trade, and even kosher. The company also offers a satisfaction guarantee so that you can buy a bag with confidence. This particular blend is a dark roast with hints of toffee, chocolate, and caramel. You can buy a 12-ounce or two-pound bag.
The Final Word on the Best Ground Coffee for Cold Brew Is up to You
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.