Coffee is a favorite drink among many people due to its high caffeine content and the taste and health benefits it provides. People usually brew their coffee with water that is close to boiling, but cold brewing is becoming more popular because it is less acidic, keeps more antioxidants, and tastes less bitter.
If you're wondering what coffee bean to use for your cold brew, here's the quick answer: You can use your favorite coffee beans, but they must be coarse ground coffee to allow the slow extraction process. Another tip for a rich-tasting cold brew is to use a medium or dark roast. However, if you already have light roast coffee, you can make use of that as cold brewing eliminates the acidic taste.
There is a lot to learn about cold brewing, and this article provides detailed information on everything you need to know about cold brewing: the best coffee choice, equipment required, the difference between regular brew, cold brew, and Japanese brew, as well as cold brew methods and techniques.
Table of Contents
What is Cold Brew?
Cold-brewed coffee, also known as cold brew, comes from steeping ground coffee at room temperature or in cold water for several hours, typically 12 to 18 hours or even longer. This much time lets the coffee beans be extracted until they lose their color, which means that the extraction process is done.
Cold brewing takes the flavor and caffeine from your chosen coffee beans to make a strong, fragrant, and energizing drink. Like regular coffee brewed with hot water, cold brew includes added milk, cream, and sugar.
Although some may think that cold brew coffee requires more time than regular brewing, this is not true. When making cold brews, you can just leave your ground coffee steeping without doing any work. To some, the regular brew is more hassle, but this all boils down to personal preference.
What Do You Need to Make Cold Brew?
If you have a French press coffee maker or a cold brew coffee maker, you can use these machines for hassle-free brewing.
However, if you wish to do this the traditional way, you only need freshly ground coffee beans; cool or room temperature water, preferably filtered; a container, such as a pot, pitcher, or jar to brew in; and a method of filtering the coffee.
Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew
As mentioned, there is no such thing as the best cold brew coffee beans, but you can use your favorite coarsely ground coffee for your cold brew. However, you might want to know what different coffee beans taste like after cold brew, so here are our recommendations for the best coffee for cold brew.
Medium Roast Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee
Tanzanian Peaberry coffee beans are rich Arabica coffee with a wonderful fruit-toned acidity from Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tanzanian coffees have a deep, rich flavor, and sometimes you can taste hints of black currant that fade into chocolate and then mix with the coffee's sweet aftertaste.
Medium Roast Hawaiian Kona Coffee
Kona coffee provides a flavor profile you can't taste in other coffee beans. Hawaiian Kona coffee is known for its simple but nuanced flavor, which is often mild, light, and delicate with a complex aroma and taste.
A quality Kona coffee provides a lively, bright acidity while still being classically balanced. The bean has spicy and buttery flavors with hints of wine. It smells wonderful and has a great aftertaste.
You can often see medium-to-dark roast Hawaiian Kona coffee in your local shops, but others sell light roast, if that's what you prefer. You can try Hawaiian Kona Coffee from Royal Kona, Hawaiian Isles, and Aloha Island.
Medium Roast Ethiopian Harrar Coffee
The famously fruity Ethiopian Harrar coffee has notes of strawberry, blueberry, peach, cherry, chocolate, and even wine. It is somewhat acidic and has a medium body. You are more likely to detect fruity overtones if it is lightly roasted. When choosing a dark roast, you can taste more chocolate and spices like cardamom and cinnamon.
Although this is a rich-tasting coffee, not many brands manufacture Harrar coffee. However, you can find brands online like The Coffee Fool, New York Gourmet Coffee, and Revocup. If you can't find any ground Harrar coffee, you can buy whole beans and grind them on your own.
Medium-Dark Roast Brazilian Robusta Coffee
If you enjoy a cup of bitter yet nutty coffee, you will probably enjoy Brazilian Robusta coffee. You can find medium or dark roast in many local shops, but the challenge is finding good-quality Robusta beans. When made with low-quality beans and roasted, robusta tends to taste bitter with a rubber-like aftertaste.
Medium Roast Nicaraguan Arabica Coffee
Excellent Nicaraguan coffee has a light, fruity brightness and tends to have more prominent tones, with citrus and floral notes dominating darker flavors like apricot and chocolate. Nicaraguan coffees are real and organic, but they aren't easy to find in local stores and markets. When used to make cold brew coffee, they have a smooth, well-balanced flavor.
Dark Roast Sumatra Mandheling Coffee
Mandheling coffee comes from Arabica beans from North Sumatra's Mandailing region, close to the Bukit Barisan Mountains of Indonesia. This coffee has a good flavor profile that stays the same. It has a medium acidity, a flowery taste, and a sweet finish. When used in cold brews, you will taste notes of chocolate and nuts, especially when using a dark roast.
Dark Roast Liberica Coffee
While Arabica and Robusta are the two varieties of coffee beans that most coffee drinkers are familiar with, Liberica is a variety that also offers matching qualities. Although only about 2% of all coffee drunk worldwide is Liberica coffee, it is a famous coffee in the Philippines, also known as "kapeng barako," which translates to strong coffee. As the name implies, Liberica beans offer a strong, herbal, and earthy taste that works well with cold brew coffee.
How to Choose Coffee for Cold Brew
Know Your Preferred Flavor Profile
If you're new to cold brewing or brewing coffee in general, it's important to know what kind of taste you like. If you haven't decided what you like best, you can try various beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. You can also try different types of roasting methods and see which one suits your taste the most. Although medium or dark roast works well for cold brew, you might like white coffee or light brew better.
Always Buy The Freshest Batch
The key to quality brewing is in the quality of the coffee beans. To ensure a rich-tasting cold brew, always buy the freshest batch on the market. When coffee beans are stored for a long time, they oxidize, which makes them taste sour and bitter.
A way to check for freshly roasted coffee beans is by noticing their shine. Old coffee tends to appear dull and have a lot of residue, while fresh coffee beans appear smooth, shiny, and intact.
Although you can easily buy coffee in local shops, getting hold of premium coffee is sometimes tricky. If you wish to make cold brew a part of your daily routine, you have to consider using coffee beans that are readily available in your local stores. Nevertheless, you can always try new coffee beans to explore different flavors.
Consider Price Point
Although premium coffees offer excellent quality, they come at a price. Try to find a local alternative to premium coffee beans to save money on things you don't need. You can also check brands that offer your preferred coffee bean at a lower price, but be sure to read reviews first.
Cold Brew vs. Regular Brew
There is so much difference between a cold brew and a regular brew or hot coffee. As the name implies, hot brewed coffee uses hot water, while cold brew uses room temperature water, making their end products different. Due to the lower temperature, cold brew coffee has higher caffeine content, is less acidic, less bitter, and has a smoother and sweeter taste than hot coffee.
Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee
Although cold brew and iced coffee have a few similarities, they are different brews. Traditional iced coffee comes from brewing hot coffee and cooling it with ice, while cold brew uses room temperature water for the extraction.
If you wish for a more robust yet smooth-tasting coffee, you will love cold brew more than iced coffee. Note that cold brew does not take much time; you can just leave it steeping while you do your daily tasks.
Cold Brew Methods
In the immersion brewing process, ground coffee and cold water are combined and allowed to steep for several hours. You can easily make a smooth coffee after straining.
Ice Drip Brewing
This technique produces a brew with various subtle and complex flavors and sugary notes. Ice drip coffee brewing involves cold water slowly dripping into the coffee filter and onto the container.
Nitro cold brew involves using odorless nitrogen gas to extract the coffee, which results in a smooth and silky drink that is much less acidic.
How To Make The Best Cold Brew Coffee
Make sure you have fresh coffee to make the best cold brew. You can buy freshly ground coffee, pre-ground coffee, or whole beans and have your coffee ground at home. When making cold brews, the key is patience: the longer the brewing, the better the results. For additional flavor, you can add a dash of your favorite spice while the coffee is brewing.
It's also essential to filter or strain the coffee slowly to achieve a smooth finish. I recommend using liquid sweeteners to add sweetness to your cold brew, since the low temperature of your coffee might make it hard for other kinds to dissolve. Lastly, like with regular brewed coffee, you can add milk and creamer to enhance the texture of your cold coffee.
The caffeine content of your coffee, whether hot or cold brewed, is determined by how many coffee beans or ground coffee you use and how much water you use. But because there isn't much water in cold brew concentrate, it has a lot of caffeine. Regarding coffee brands, Death Wish Coffee offers one of the highest caffeine contents.
This all boils down to preference. Since you can use your favorite coffee bean when making coffee using these three techniques, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
After soaking overnight, you can store your cold brew in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.