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Best Coffee for Cold Brew 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

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cold brew coffee

To identify the best-tasting cold brew coffee, we have been trying many dozens of different options. Our goal is to help you find the best coffee beans, no matter what you’re looking for.

For traditional lovers of java, we have flavorful, fragrant options that will satisfy your palate while waking you up.

However, we also have choices for budget buyers, bulk buyers, and even people who are worried about the environment. Coffee is for everyone, and so is this guide. Keep reading for our cold brew coffee reviews!


A Quick Summary of our Favorites for 2020

ModelPriceRoastEditor Rating
STONE COLD JO Cold Brew Coffee
STONE COLD JO
(Top Pick)

Check Price
Dark4.75/5
Death Wish Ground Coffee
Death Wish Ground Coffee
(Top Ground Coffee)

Check Price
Dark4.60/5
Starbucks VIA Decaf Italian Coffee
Starbucks VIA Decaf Italian Coffee
(Top Decaf Pick)

Check Price
Dark4.50/5
Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Check Price
4.35/5
AmazonFresh Colombia Ground Coffee
AmazonFresh Colombia Ground Coffee

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Medium4.25/5

10 Best Cold Brew Coffee Brands

1. STONE COLD JO: Cold Brew Coffee Blend – Best Overall

STONE COLD JO

Our pick for the best cold brew coffee beans is a specialty product that has actually been specially made for the cold brew method. Though you can prepare the Stone Cold Jo beans anyway you like, they have been made to be low in acidity and bitterness, making them very complementary to the process of the cold brew.

In addition to being a delicate, mild blend that is perfect for the discerning palate, it’s also a very natural coffee. The coffee beans are grown organically and then harvested by workers who are paid fair wages.

Like most fair trade coffees, these beans are on the pricier side. It’s also worth keeping in mind that since this is a whole bean coffee, you won’t get much use out of it unless you have a grinder.

Pros
  • Fair trade
  • Organic
  • Designed for cold brew
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Can’t be used without grinder

2. Death Wish — Best Ground Coffee Pick

Death Wish Ground Coffee

Death Wish takes our best cold brew ground coffee distinction. This immensely powerful blend features twice the caffeine of a normal coffee. It’s a bold brew that packs an enormous amount of flavor into every cup. Though the grounds aren’t as coarse as we’d like for cold brew, if you don’t want to grind beans, they’ll do.

It’s also just a neat company. It harvests beans in a way that is environmentally sound, it pays fair wages, and it runs a low-energy, state-of-the-art roasting facility that is sustainable and effective.

The coffee is great for cold brewing because the process naturally mitigates some of the bitterness that comes with the territory of this strong a roast.

Death Wish is notoriously pricey. This is largely due to the gimmick factor, though it can likely also be attributed to the company’s commitment to ethical business practices.

Pros
  • Naturally works well with cold brew
  • Very rich flavor
  • Lots of caffeine for a pick-me-up
Cons
  • Pricey

3. Starbucks VIA Italian Coffee — Top Decaf Pick

Starbucks VIA Decaf Italian Coffee

Most people know and love Starbucks. The VIA Decaf Italian Coffee is a cold brew packet system that comes from one of the most recognizable coffee makers of all time. The coffee comes in individually wrapped packages that can be brewed instantly by being steeped in water.

It’s a decaf coffee that packs lots of tasty and familiar flavor into each serving. However, like any instant style coffee, it won’t quite pass for the real thing. Though the flavor itself is impressive, the coffee lacks the full-bodied richness of something that has been brewed the traditional way.

Pros
  • Very convenient
  • Quality taste
Cons
  • Lacks flavor of traditionally brewed coffee

4. Nitro Cold Brew Sugar-Free Coffee

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

The Nitro Cold Brew is something of a departure from the other options on our list. It’s distinguished for the fact that it’s already been brewed for you. These canned coffees serve as a great way to enjoy a fast pick-me-up when you’re on the go.

It’s also a very diet-friendly product. The coffee is sugar-free, and certified as compatible with both keto and paleo diets.

The package comes with twelve cans. Due to the convenience factor of having the coffee prepared for you, the cost is much more significant than that of buying ground coffee. If you are a budget buyer, this may be a disqualifying attribute.

Some people also report that the metal can gives the coffee a peculiar flavor, though this is, of course, a subjective critique.

Pros
  • Convenience of a can
  • Sugar-free
  • Keto/paleo certified
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Some say can gives coffee peculiar taste

5. AmazonFresh Colombia Ground Coffee

AmazonFresh Colombia Ground Coffee

Cold or hot, it’s difficult to beat the enticing value offering of any AmazonFresh coffee. This affordable but high-quality coffee is a great way to get a delicious drink at a great price.

The Colombia Ground Coffee option here is a three-pack, which further enhances the value offering. Though these grounds are not specifically made for cold brewing, they will work as long as you steep for a shorter time. As a Colombian-style bean, the flavor is very bold and rich.

It may not be quite as flavorful as some of the higher-end options on our list, but the value more than makes up for any shortcomings.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Three-pack
  • Full-bodied
Cons
  • Not quite as tasty as some other options on our list

6. Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend

Dunkin Donuts Original Blend

Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the most popular makers of coffee in the United States. The Original Blend we have here is a flavorful, familiar coffee that tastes much like what you will find at the shop itself. It’s affordable, full-bodied, and perfect for anyone who wants to bring the taste of a bakery right to their kitchen.

As a medium roast, the flavors are a bit more subtle. With a cold brew, they come across as very mellow and refreshing.  These grounds are somewhat more acidic than the other options on our list, but this issue will be mitigated slightly by the cold brew process.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Familiar flavor
  • Refreshing flavor
Cons
  • A little bit acidic

7. Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend

Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend

Caribou Coffee makes high-quality coffee at very moderate prices. The Caribou Medium Roast blend is of a subtler, low-key variety. The flavor profile is very moderate and smooth.

Buyers concerned with the environment will also be pleased. This is a company that prioritizes sustainability. It harvests and processes beans in a way that is stable for the environment. In fact, as a budget-friendly coffee, this may well be one of the most affordable sustainable choices on the market.

The freshness factor is slightly underwhelming. Depending on the luck of your draw, the chances are fairly decent that you’ll get a bag of beans that are at least slightly stale. However, if you want ethical coffee at a very competitive price, there’s no beating Caribou.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Smooth taste
  • Eco-friendly
Cons
  • Freshness is a little lacking

8. High Brew Cold Brew Coffee

High Brew Cold Brew Coffee

Here we have another set of cold brew coffee cans. High Brew’s simple black coffees are convenient, moderately priced, and delicious. The cold brewing process has stripped the beans of their bitterness. What remains is a smooth, mellow drink that doesn’t overwhelm the taste buds.

However, not everything about this coffee is mellow. The caffeine count is nearly twice that of average coffees. If you really need a pick-me-up, this feature may actually hold some appeal, but we found the drink to be a little overwhelming in that regard.

Pros
  • Moderate price
  • Mellow taste
  • Convenience of a can
Cons
  • Caffeine content is a little too high

9. Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee

Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee

Bizzy’s Organic Cold Brew Coffee has been ground coarsely, making it optimal for the cold brew method. The grounds are low-key and feature a sweet undertone that enhances the overall drinking experience.

What’s more, the company puts a keen emphasis on ethics. The beans are ethically sourced so that the workers are paid fair wages, and the entire process has as small an impact on the environment as possible.

Being organic and ethically sourced, the coffee is on the pricier side. We also found that the bag tears very easily, which can lead to major freshness concerns.

Pros
  • Organic
  • Sweet flavor notes
  • Ethically sourced
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Bag tears easily

10. Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend

Peets Coffee Major Dickasons Blend

We close the list with a bold dark roast. The Major Dickason’s Blend is one of the most popular options that Peet’s makes, and for good reason. There is a big emphasis placed on freshness with this coffee.

The beans are harvested, roasted, and shipped off in as quick a time frame as possible. This is to ensure that each bag is maximally fresh. The caffeine count with these grounds is a little higher than average. This might be a bit overwhelming for drinkers who would like something mellow.

Several customers have also reported receiving very old bags, which contradicts the company’s promise to provide fresh coffee to all its customers.

Pros
  • Fresh
Cons
  • Caffeine content is a little overwhelming
  • Some customers report receiving very old bags

Buyer’s Guide

Here are a few buying considerations that should make it as easy as possible for you to pick the perfect cold brew coffee grounds.

Can Any Kind of Coffee Be Used for Cold Brew?

Yes! Some coffees are specifically marketed for cold brewers and may benefit more from this method of making coffee. However, any coffee beans are compatible with the cold brew process. Done correctly, the cold brew process results in sweet, mellow flavors, no matter which coffee beans you use.

Cold brew coffees are less bitter and acidic than java steeped in hot water, so choose your favorite beans and get right down to it!

Roast Style

There are many different styles of coffee out there, but of the endless variations, there are three main roasting styles for you to be aware of: light roast, medium roast, and dark roast.

Any of the three styles can be used seamlessly with the cold brew method. However, to choose the right roast for your own personal preferences, there are a couple of quick facts to keep in mind about each.

For instance, light roast coffee tends to be subtle and low-key in taste. For this reason, many flavored coffees are lightly roasted so as to better bring out the taste of the hazelnut, highlander grog, and so on. However, despite tasting more delicate, light roast blends are usually higher in caffeine and acidity, which is something drinkers with delicate stomachs will need to be on the lookout for.

cold brew coffee on a plank

Image credit: cshuttleworth, Pixabay

Medium roast is a happy blend between the two styles. Though not confronting the way a potently dark roast might be, it does have a boldness to it that’s not seen in the lighter varieties. Dark roast is a more full-bodied and flavorful coffee. Some like the powerful taste, while others find it to be on the bitter side.

There is no right or wrong way to choose your roast style. You’ve just got to experiment and decide for yourself which style suits you.

Whole Bean or Grounds

Coffee connoisseurs usually tend to lean towards whole bean coffee for a few reasons. For one thing, going with this style allows them to grind the beans down to the coarseness of their choosing. This is especially important for cold brew, where you want to use coarsely-ground beans to avoid over-extraction.

RELATED READ: How fine should you grind? The Ultimate Grind Size Chart

Whole bean coffees are also thought to be fresher. Coffee is at its best immediately after roasting. Once it’s ground up, it begins to lose freshness fairly rapidly. You can maximize the freshness factor by grinding and then immediately using your beans.

However, there is also the matter of convenience. If it’s 6 AM and you’re trying to get to work on time, chances are you don’t want to mess around with a coffee grinder. It’s all a matter of choosing the method most suitable for your lifestyle.

Conclusion

If you feel overwhelmed by our cold brew coffee reviews, we get it. With all the products out there, narrowing the options down to one can be a little challenging.

There are a couple of easy recommendations we can provide that might simplify your choice a little bit. Our top choice, the STONE COLD JO Cold Brew Coffee Blend, is perfect for buyers who emphasize quality. Meanwhile, the AmazonFresh Colombia Ground Coffee will be a good choice for people who want a delicious but affordable coffee.

Missing some key equipment? Take a look at our guide to the best cold brew coffee makers of 2020.


Featured image credit: MissSuki, Pixabay