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cold brew ice coffee

I write about coffee, beer, fun, health, fatherhood, Korean food and so many more because I’m so passionate about these things. This one is about caffeine… Back a few years ago, I was introduced to a cold brewed coffee at Starbucks here in Korea…and I LOVED it. I’m a big fan of strong coffee and this hit the spot on a hot summer day here in Seoul.

My aim with this article is to help you uncover the best coffee beans for your cold brew, offering info on various factors that influence the taste, texture, and richness of your brew. Let’s get brewin’!

The Basics of Cold Brew Coffee

For those unfamiliar with cold brewing, it’s a coffee-brewing method that has gained significant popularity over the years and offers a unique flavor and a refreshing experience.

While brewing coffee with hot water is common, cold brewing involves steeping coffee beans in cold water for an extended duration, usually around 12 to 24. This slow extraction result is a deliciously smooth, less acidic coffee that’s perfect for a hot summer day or as a refreshing pick-me-up.

Understanding the Cold Brew Flavor Profile

One of the key factors to consider when choosing coffee beans for cold brew is the flavor profile. Cold brew typically has a milder and less acidic taste compared to hot brewed coffee. The long steeping process extracts different flavor compounds from the beans, resulting in a smoother and less bitter cup of coffee.

whole beans for cold brew

The Importance of Choosing Whole Beans

For the best results, it is highly recommended to use whole coffee beans for cold brew. Whole beans retain their freshness and flavor much better than pre-ground coffee. When beans are ground, they are exposed to air and begin to lose their aroma and flavor. By grinding the beans just before brewing, you ensure a more flavorful and aromatic cold brew coffee. My wife does this with our espresso, drip, and others as well…Best way to go!

The Versatility of Arabica Beans

Arabica beans are widely regarded as the best choice for cold brew coffee due to their superior quality and flavor. These beans are known for their smoothness, low acidity, and nuanced flavor profiles. Arabica beans are typically grown at higher altitudes, which contributes to their desirable characteristics. When selecting coffee beans for cold brew, opt for 100% Arabica beans to ensure an awesome and satisfying cup of coffee.

grocery cart in an aisle

Grocery Store vs. Specialty Coffee

While grocery store coffee is convenient and readily available, it may not always offer the best quality for cold brew. Specialty coffee, on the other hand, is often sourced from specific regions, carefully roasted, and provides a more refined and flavorful experience. Consider exploring local specialty coffee shops or online retailers that offer a wide selection of beans specifically made for cold brew.

The Question of Pre-ground Coffee for Cold Brew

Although coarsely ground coffee beans are ideal for cold brew, you can also prepare cold brew with regular coffee. Regular ground coffee granules are slightly finer than those you would typically use for cold brew.

The Importance of Freshness and the Right Grind Size

The freshness of your beans significantly impacts your coffee’s flavor. Freshly roasted coffee beans are ideal for cold brew, as they retain a vast amount of flavor and aromatic compounds.

When it comes to the grind size for cold brew coffee, a coarse grind is recommended. The larger surface area of coarsely ground beans allows the water to extract more flavor from the beans, resulting in a much richer and more satisfying flavor.

Exploring Espresso Beans

Espresso beans, although primarily used for espresso shots, can also be an excellent choice for cold brew. These beans are often dark-roasted and offer a rich and bold flavor profile. However, it is important to note that not all espresso beans are suitable for cold brew. Look for whole espresso beans that are coarsely ground to ensure optimal extraction during the cold brew process.

Experiment with Different Roasts and Blends

While medium and dark roast beans are commonly recommended for cold brew, don’t be afraid to experiment with different roasts and blends to find your personal preference. Lighter roasts can bring out more nuanced and delicate flavors, while medium-dark roasts offer a balance between sweetness and acidity. Consider trying single-origin beans or cold brew blends to explore the unique flavor profiles they have to offer.

different roasts of coffee from dark to light

The Best Roast Level: Dark, Medium, or Light?

Choosing the right roast for your cold brew can significantly impact the coffee’s flavor profile. The three primary roast types—dark, medium, and light—each bring unique characteristics to your brew.

Dark Roast

Darker roast coffee beans are often considered the ideal choice for cold brew, thanks to their low acidity levels that help preserve the unique flavors of the cold brewing process. The rich, robust texture of a cold brew coffee perfectly complements the smoky, chocolatey undertones of dark roast beans.

Medium Roast

Medium roast beans offer a balanced flavor profile, fusing the sweetness of darker roasts with the acidity of lighter roasts. They reveal more of the beans’ flavor than darker roast cold brews and present an interesting roast profile. Medium roast beans are a good choice for those who prefer less intensity than dark roast preparations offer.

Light Roast

Preparing cold brew coffee with a lighter roast type results in a delicate coffee with a light body. Lightly roasted beans allow more of the beans’ flavor to permeate the drink. They usually result in cold brews that have a subtly toasted flavor.

Organic and Fair-Trade Beans

Organic and fair-trade beans are not only more ethical but also often taste better.

Small-Batch Roast

Choosing beans roasted in small batches means that your cold brew will benefit from the distinct flavor profiles that small-batch roasting offers.

Exploring Bean Origins

The origin of the coffee beans plays a significant role in determining the flavor of your cold brew coffee. Beans from different regions have distinct flavor profiles, and experimenting with different origins can lead to exciting discoveries.

Colombian Beans

Colombian coffee beans are often used in cold brew preparations due to their unique, robust flavor. They offer a well-balanced medium roast that is neither too sweet nor too bitter.

African Beans

Beans from African regions like Ethiopia and Kenya can also make for an excellent cold brew. They typically have vibrant, fruity, and floral notes that add complexity to your cold brew. My wife swears by Ethiopian coffee beans so that’s the only one we have at home…

Brazilian Beans

Brazilian coffee beans are another excellent option for cold brew. Known for their nutty, chocolatey flavor profiles, these beans add richness and depth to your cold brew.

Peruvian Beans

Peruvian coffee beans are known for their smooth, mild flavors and low acidity, making them a perfect fit for a refreshing cold brew.

Storing Your Cold Brew Coffee

Proper storage of your cold brew coffee can extend its shelf life. Store your cold brew in a container with an airtight lid, in the fridge.

Recommended Products

  • Volcanica Coffee: This company has it all…They have my favorite beans. Browse all their selection and choose the best one for you
  • Kicking Horse Dark Roast: This coffee blend offers a balance between fruity sweetness and boldness, with chocolate nutty notes and a creamy mouthfeel.
  • Wink Coffee Cold Brew Reserve: With a dash of caramel and hazelnut notes, this medium-dark roast is perfect for hot brews as well.
  • Stone Street Cold Brew Coffee: This blend produces a classic cold brew flavor with almond-flavored notes.
  • Lavazza: This cold brew blend offers a mix of brown sugar and sumptuous chocolate.
  • Cameron’s Coffee Roasted Ground Coffee Bag: This blend offers savory baking spices, mixing in classic vanilla with tasty hazelnut.
  • Amazon Fresh: This organic blend offers zesty, fruity, and earthy flavors that are unique for cold brew coffee.

Awesome VacOne Method 

The VacOne utilizes the ambient air to brew coffee with patent-pending VacTec® air brewing technology. It’s a new and revolutionary technology that has entered the coffee world. It’s available on the Volcanica website.

mason jar for cold brew

Brewing Tips for the Perfect Cold Brew

To make the most out of your chosen coffee beans, here are some brewing tips to elevate your cold brew experience:

  1. Use a cold brew maker or a mason jar: Cold brew makers are specifically designed for the steeping process, but a mason jar can also work well. Ensure that the vessel is clean and properly sanitized before brewing.
  2. Use a coarse grind: For optimal extraction, grind your coffee beans to a coarse consistency. This helps to prevent over-extraction and produces a smoother, less bitter cold brew.
  3. Use a ratio of coffee grounds to filtered water: A general starting point is to use a ratio of 1:4 up to 1:8 coffee grounds to water. Adjust the ratio according to your preference for a stronger or milder cold brew.
  4. Steep at room temperature or in the refrigerator: Cold brew can be steeped at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Steeping at room temperature typically takes around 12 to 24 hours, while refrigerating the mixture can take up to 48 hours for a stronger brew.
  5. Strain the cold brew concentrate: After the steeping period, strain the cold brew concentrate using a fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter to remove the grounds. This will result in a smooth and clean cold brew.
  6. Dilute and enjoy: Cold brew concentrate is highly concentrated and should be diluted before consumption. Mix the concentrate with water, milk, or ice to achieve your desired strength and flavor. Add sweeteners or flavorings if desired.

​My Last Words

Finding the best coffee beans for your cold brew requires a bit of exploration and experimentation. Don’t overthink it though…

From selecting the right roast to choosing the best origins, each decision influences the final taste of your brew. So, go ahead and start your cold brew journey with the beans that make your taste buds jiggle with joy. Here’s to many refreshing cups of cold brew coffee! Enjoy the journey as much as the destination!

What’s your favorite coffee? Let us know in the comments!

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