Best Coffee For Cold Brew: Beans And Pre Ground

By Shabbir
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Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard of cold brew coffee. It’s all the rage and taking over the coffee world.

After all, why not? It’s sweet, refreshing, and incredibly smooth. What’s not to like?

Making it is super easy, too. But the key factor in cold brew coffee is the actual coffee beans that you use! So what’s the best coffee for cold brew? Let’s look at our favorite picks.

We’ve chosen a variety of roasts, origins, as well as pre-ground and whole bean options. Normally we would not touch pre-ground coffee with a 10 foot pole, but we’re making an exception here, and we’ll tell you why.

Best Coffee For Cold Brew: Top Picks

LifeBoost Coffee Light Roast: best coffee brand for cold brew

Lifeboost Coffee Light Roast Ground Coffee - Low Acid Single Origin Usda Organic Ground Coffee Beans - Non-Gmo Ground Coffee Light Roast Third Party Tested For Mycotoxins & Pesticides - 12 Ounces

LifeBoost Coffee is one of the best coffee brands out there, and for good reason. Their coffees are incredibly easy on the stomach, organic, chemical-free, and taste incredible.

Their secret is sourcing their coffee beans from coffee farms that exclusively grow for them. This allows them to maintain a strict level of quality control over the end result.

Light roast is the best roast for cold brew coffee because cold brew really shines at brewing light and bright coffees. However, light roasts tend to be quite acidic, so we’ve recommended LifeBoost because their coffees are very low in acidity.

The only downside of LifeBoost is that it is incredibly expensive at $35 per bag. However, we’ve tried the coffee and loved it: if you have the extra cash to drop, it’s definitely worth it.

What we like

  • Great smooth taste
  • Single-origin beans from Nicaragua
  • Very strong quality control that shows in the final brew

What we don’t like

  • Very expensive: nearly 2.5 times the cost of regular coffee

Stone Street Cold Brew Dark Roast

Stone Street Cold Brew Coffee, Strong & Smooth Blend, Low Acid, 100% Arabica, Gourmet Coffee, Coarse Ground, Dark Roast, Colombian Single Origin, 1 LB

Next up on our list of the best coffees for cold brew is Stone Street’s Dark Roast. While LifeBoost was a light roast, Stone Street’s Dark Roast offers a really nice contrast in case your palate prefers earthier, deeper, and more caramelized flavors.

Coffee made from Stone Street’s Cold Brew Roast will have a very caramelized flavor that darker roasts are known for, but won’t have the bitterness that sometimes seeps through in hot brewed coffee.

Stone Street’s Cold Brew Roast is available as whole beans and pre-ground coffee. We suggest getting whole bean coffee and grinding as much as you need, but if you don’t have a grinder, the pre-ground option is also there to consider.

In case you feel the coffee is too strong even after brewing with a regular ratio, you can always dilute it a little further or add a splash of milk before drinking.

What we like

  • Colombian supremo beans are some of the best in the world
  • Smooth, caramelized flavor without any extra bitterness
  • Signature blend for cold brew

What we don’t like

  • Some folks may find the dark roast too intense

Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Bags Medium Roast: best pre ground coffee for cold brew

Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee | Smooth & Sweet Blend | Coarse Ground Coffee | Medium Roast | Micro Sifted | Specialty Grade | 100% Arabica | Brew Bags | 4 Count | Makes 14 Cups

The Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Bags are really convenient all-in-one solutions to make cold brew coffee. With these bags, you won’t even need a special cold brew coffee maker: just a regular jug or mason jar will do the trick just fine, and clean-up is really easy.

Just add two bags of coffee to 4 cups of coffee to make a cold brew concentrate, brew for 12 to 18 hours, and then dilute with another 3 cups of water.

Alternatively, you can just use two bags to 7 cups for a straight brew.

Bizzy coffees are organic and sourced from Central America, home to some of the best coffees in the world. You’ll taste sweet flavors like caramel and hazelnut.

What we like

  • Conveniently packaged in bags for easy brewing
  • Each package contains 4 brew bags
  • Use a single brew bag for a smaller batch

What we don’t like

  • Some folks may wish to opt for whole beans

Ovalware 08 Neptune Cold Brew Blend

OVALWARE 08 Neptune - Cold Brew, Organic Medium Roast Whole Coffee Bean, Colombia and Brazil Blend (1lb / 16oz)

The Ovalware 08 cold brew blend is made from a blend of Brazilian and Colombian coffee beans, two of the most prime coffee growing regions in the world.

This coffee is available in whole beans so you can grind it at home just before you brew to unlock the optimal flavors and tasting notes.

The chocolate, almond, and creamy flavor notes work really well in cold brew coffee and the result is a smooth and refreshing drink that will delight your taste buds every time.

These blends combine the best of what each region has to offer and the result is a really flavorful and sweet brew.

What we like

  • Whole bean coffee
  • Very economical for an entire pound of coffee beans
  • Organic

What we don’t like

  • Some people may prefer brighter flavors rather than earthy flavors for cold brew

Blackout Coffee Covert Ops Cold Brew Blend

Blackout Coffee, Covert Op Cold Brew Medium Roast Coffee, Perfect for Cold Brew, Drip & Pour Overs, Small Batch Fresh Roasted in the USA – 12 oz Bag (Whole Bean Coffee)

This 12 ounce bag of cold brew coffee beans from Blackout Coffee is a medium roast that has a really smooth and balanced flavor.

You may have noticed that we’re suggesting medium roasts more than anything else, and that’s because medium roasts tend to work really well with cold brews.

Plus, if you buy whole beans and decide your first batch of cold brew was not all that great, you can just make any other kind of coffee!

Blackout Coffee is a small batch roaster based in the USA, and their coffees are really good. I’ve tried quite a few of them and was pleasantly surprised with the beans.

What we like

  • Great tasting Arabica beans

Blue Bottle Coffee Home Blend Bright Coffee

Blue Bottle Whole Bean Organic Coffee, Bright, Light Roast, 12 Ounce Bag (Pack of 1)

Blue Bottle Coffee is another really well-known name in the coffee world and their coffees are top-notch.

This is a light roast coffee that’s a good pick for making cold brew coffee. It’s very bright and fruity and is a blend of coffees from East Africa.

Most of the coffees we’ve listed in this post are from Central America, so if you’re looking for something unique and different, this East African coffee is definitely worth looking into.

Serving this cold brewed coffee over ice will make for a really refreshing summer drink. It will be so sweet and tangy it will almost seem like a fruit juice!

What we like

  • East African coffee with lemony notes
  • Natural-processed for even more flavor

What we don’t like

What is Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is made by using room temperature or cold water to extract flavor from coffee instead of using hot water. This is quite a revolutionary idea when you think about it. Hot brewing works very well because it is quick and the water particles have a lot of energy.

However, this results in a lot of bitter and acidic compounds getting extracted as well. This is not an altogether bad thing, as acidity and intensity may be desirable qualities in a cup of coffee.

Cold brew is designed to remove those compounds for a different experience. The cold water extracts flavor very gradually, and never agitates the coffee grounds enough to release acidic and bitter compounds.

The result is a much smoother and fruitier cup of coffee in which you can really pick up on the flavor notes.

One caveat of brewing with cold water is that you need a lot more coffee and a lot more time to be able to extract enough flavors. While a typical cup of hot coffee uses a 1:15 ratio, a cup of cold brew coffee must be brewed with a 1:8 ratio, nearly twice as much!

Cold brew and Japanese iced coffee

At this point, you may be wondering if there is a real difference between cold brew and Japanese iced coffee, which is pour over coffee made on ice.

The answer is a resounding yes!

Japanese iced coffee is brewed with hot water, which means the acidic and bitter compounds will most certainly get extracted along with the rest of the flavors.

A 1:1 ratio of hot water and ice is used, so that the resulting drink is cool and there is ice left in the glass even after the pour is complete.

The resulting drink is just like a pour over, except that it is served cold.

Cold brew does not use hot water, so the resulting drink is much smoother and easier on the stomach.

Immersion or drip?

While we’re on the topic of iced coffee, it’s worth noting that cold brew coffee can also be made by dripping, though the jury is still out whether drip or immersion cold brew is better.

I personally prefer immersion cold brew.

You can think of it this way: imagine the difference between french press and pour over coffee. Pour over is generally cleaner, and french press is generally full-bodied.

Immersion cold brew has more body to it(though it’s still quite clean), whereas dripped cold brew will be even more cleaner and have less of a kick.

Immersion cold brew is much easier to brew, though, as you don’t need any specialized equipment. Drip cold brew requires a cold brew tower that has a special valve that controls the flow rate.

Water will very slowly drip over the bed of coffee grounds and percolate through.

The bottom line is that if you want something that is straightforward and can be brewed without much fuss, stick to immersion cold brewing.

If you’re up for experimenting and have the patience of a saint, you can try dripping!

Use coarse ground coffee for cold brew

The right grind size for cold brew coffee is a very coarse grind. You can learn more about grind sizes here. The reason you want such a coarse grind is to really control the rate of extraction.

If the grind size is too fine, the extraction will happen a little too quickly, resulting in unwanted flavors seeping into your coffee.

Since the whole idea behind cold brew is a super slow, steady extraction, the rate is controlled by both the grind size and the water temperature.

Some automatic cold brew machines recommend using a medium grind, but this is because the extraction is taking place very quickly and a coarse grind will not be enough for getting the flavors out.

However, all immersion cold brews must use a very coarse grind.

Should you buy whole beans or pre-ground coffee?

Under normal circumstances, we’d tell you to get whole beans all the time and stay away from pre-ground coffee. However, you can make an exception with cold brew, especially if you only have a manual grinder.

You need to grind a lot of coffee for a single batch of cold brew, and unless you’re happy to turn a manual grinder for 15 minutes just to get enough coffee for a batch, you may wish to opt for pre-ground coffee instead.

Also, if you get pre-ground coffee that’s already packaged in fabric bags, that makes your life that much easier.

I was a skeptic myself until I actually tried some pre-ground coffee in a bag and was pleasantly surprised with the resulting taste.

For best results, though, stick to whole bean and use an electric grinder to quickly grind the amount you need!

What’s the best roast for cold brew?

The best roast for cold brew coffee is a lighter or medium roast. These roasts tend to be very bright and fruity, which are the flavors that are most accentuated in cold brews.

You can certainly make cold brew with a dark roast if you prefer more earthy, bittersweet coffees. It’s not set in stone, and it comes down to a matter of seeing what works best for you.

If you’re really on the fence, one thing you can do is to try a sampler pack of light, medium, and dark roasts, and brew all three to see which one you prefer.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

  • Light roast cold brews: good for drinking straight; fruity, floral, bright flavors
  • Medium roast cold brews: good for drinking straight; earthy, balanced, and smooth flavors
  • Dark roast cold brews: good for drinking with milk or diluted over ice; bittersweet, caramelly, intense kick of flavor

Best type of coffee for cold brew: Single-origin or blends?

For the very discerning coffee aficionado, one question that comes up is if you’d like to try single origin or blends when making cold brew.

Single origin coffees tend to have one dominant flavor profile that is obtained from wherever it is grown. Some regions tend to skew towards particular flavors, and if you know what you like, single origin coffees are a great way to get consistent, controlled results.

Blends utilize multiple regions to bring out the best of each flavor profile and combine them for a newer taste. A properly crafted blend can be incredibly tasty, and if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something new, a blend is good to try.


Like all coffee, what works for you in cold brew may not work for someone else. The key is to experiment and try different coffees and roasts until you find something you like.

Of course, if you already have a preferred flavor profile or roast, you can use that as a benchmark and then experiment by moving up or down the roast spectrum.

If you’re completely new to cold brew and just want the overall best coffee for cold brew, we suggest going for the Bizzy Organic Cold Brew, which is the easiest to brew and has the most balanced flavor profile. It’s also pretty budget friendly.

Iced coffee made with cold brew

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.