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It’s summer, and that means iced coffee.
But obviously, getting a big iced coffee drink from a coffee shop every day is not only expensive but often unhealthy.
You like your usual coffee either black, or with some cream or milk and maybe sugar, right? So why not have your iced coffee the same way.
Welcome to the wonderful world of cold brew! Cold brew is just as healthy as black coffee, or coffee with cream or milk.
And the best part is, it can be made at home easily.
You can cold brew coffee overnight in a number of ways -- the easiest is to combine rough ground coffee and water in a mason jar over night, and strain it in the morning. Easy!
If you love coffee kit, then you can get simple cold brew pots with filter baskets from all the usual suspects, from Boden to OXO. At the moment there’s a growing trend for Japanese-style slow-drip coffee towers, if you can find one!
So, that’s the method covered... but a question remains.
What kind of coffee makes the best cold brew coffee.
Obviously, we have to account for taste. You probably have a taste for a certain level of coffee roast, for example, or you’ll develop one in time. Of course, that has to be taken into account and your tastebuds will be different to mine, but the generally accepted Platonic ideal of cold brew coffee is a medium roast without too much acidity.
A softness is needed with an iced coffee, especially as it can be chugged so quickly and needs to be thirst-quenching where a hot coffee doesn’t so much.
Then, to throw a spanner in the works, I prefer something lighter and enjoy my iced coffee black and as cold as possible! So play it by ear.
But these are definitely the brews to try. Let us know if you find something you love here, or if you have your own favorite beans for cold brew this 2021, maybe you could suggest that. I’m open to learning!
1. Life Boost Coffee - All Roasts Available
This sounds wild, but Life Boost Coffee is pretty much definitely within the top 3% of coffees in the world.
We know this because the beans are officially ‘speciality grade’, meaning only five beans per batch can be deemed as defects. Additionally (or maybe the two are connected), it’s chemical free and fair trade. Essentially, it’s practically perfect!
With cold brew coffee, the flavor profile of the coffee doesn’t only change, but you can taste it more clearly. These beans are only mildly acidic, which works when flavors are pumped up, and there are cocoa bean, caramel and vanilla notes without the possible burnt touch that goes with those notes.
Life Boost also claim massive health benefits from their coffee, including (straight from the Life Boost website):
- You could live longer
- You’re less likely to develop heart failure
- Your DNA will be stronger
- Your odds of getting colon cancer will go way down
- You may decrease your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease
That may be a little much, but their beans are single origin, organic and stomach friendly.
If you’re a health nut who loves a cold brew or an earth-lover who can’t get enough caffeine, then Life Boost is the one for you!
2. Coffee Bros – Medium Roast
Being New York City-based, the Coffee Bros should know their beans. And their cold brew.
Coffee Bros was only founded in 2019 and is run by a team of two friends. They pride themselves on a no-nonsense approach and exceedingly fresh coffee. They also go for a lighter roast than most overall, and this stands for their cold brew.
The roast could be characterized as a dark light roast or a light-medium roast. Chocolate, berry, and a deep brown sugar ending are the main flavors here.
The Bros themselves advise simply brewing your cold brew coffee in a mason jar with a covering of cheesecloth — they’re all about simplicity!
If you like things stylish and delicious, but also simple, then go for the Coffee Bros.
3. Death Wish Coffee Organic – Medium Roast
Death wish is all about the strength of their coffee. Their coffee is, apparently, twice as strong as most. And they do it all naturally, by selecting the strongest premium beans and using a slow roasting process.
This is a strong brew, but not a dark one. This is another medium roast, with flavors of cherry and chocolate throughout.
Death Wish is proud to use no additives or additional ingredients, meaning you’re just drinking coffee from carefully selected coffee beans.
Death Wish Coffee claim not only that their coffee is great brewed cold, but also as a component of ice cream or even, on the opposite end, chili!
If you like to push boundaries, and you can take a lot of caffeine, then get yourself a (bag of) Death Wish!
4. Cafe Du Monde – Dark Blend
Cafe Du Monde Coffee and Chicory is an unusual iced coffee option that comes at you straight from New Orleans.
Chicory is an anise-flavored, famously coffee-like plant. It’s a woody relative of the dandelion, and as it grows so well in so many parts of the world it has often been used as a coffee alternative either for a decaf option, a cheap option or in times when coffee was unavailable (the second world war, for example). In fact, cold ‘coffee’ drinks based on chicory have been popular for years across Europe. So it makes sense coming from the French Quarter, right? And it makes sense to ice it!
Packaged in a lovely, deep yellow vintage-style tin tin Cafe Du Monde looks as good as it tastes. Flavor wise, it’s akin to a medium roast coffee with a depth of flavor at the middle and a mild finish.
This coffee blend has been served at Cafe Du Monde New Orleans 24 hours a day since 1880. Who are you to argue with that?
If you want something unexpectedly classic, try Cafe Du Monde.
5. Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve – Dark Roast
Tellingly, this isn’t the small New York City coffee company on this list.
Stone Street has several flavored cold brew blends available now, all of which are subtle and naturally flavored, but their original Cold Brew Reserve is the best option to start with. And the most likely to tick most people’s boxes, too.
The beans are Colombian, and though they are dark roasted they’re sweet and slightly acidic and so fit most people’s taste for cold brew. If you get the beans ground, they’re coarse and ready for most cold-brewing options.
Stone Street is committed to ethical relationships with coffee growers, and to small-batch roasting that assures deep, complex, and even flavor across batches.
Stone Street is also, clearly, unashamedly cool.
This is coffee for the hipster with a heart, and great taste in coffee!
6. Bizzy – Dark and Bold Blend
This one’s a little different from the rest, because Bizzy is all about cold brew coffee.
Featured in a whole bunch of publications, from Buzzfeed to NBC News, this trendy company and their coarse-ground beans and pitcher packs have been making a name for themselves recently.
Bizzy focuses on balanced flavor throughout all their brews, including their pre-made bottles of cold brew. They also keep an eye on sustainability. Beans are not only ethically sourced, but they also compost all their factory coffee grounds and ensure their packaging is fully recyclable.
They’ve got a start-up mentality, and have been growing their company since 2013. Odds are, Bizzy will be the name in cold brewed coffee in a few years.
If you want a fantastic selection to choose from for your iced coffee, especially if you want to support a dynamic company, then check out Bizzy.
7. Real Good Coffee – Light Roast
Real Good Coffee Co. is based in Seattle, Washington, one of the USA’s (and maybe the world’s) coffee capitals.
Their Morning Just Got Better breakfast blend is perfect for cold brew coffee. It’s light roasted, with a sharp citrus nature at first but a mellowed out milk chocolate finish. It’s sweet, but not too forward. A great cool sipper on a hot day!
The blend is 100% Arabica and the beans are sourced from Central and South America. Real Good Coffee Co. has more than thirty years of experience in coffee blending and roasting, always based out of Seattle. Their packaging is environmentally friendly, as is their coffee sourcing. Yet, they pride themselves on a ‘no frills’ approach.
That being said, this is good coffee and even good looking packaging! You aren’t missing anything with this affordable, ethical, flavorful coffee. Grind it coarsely and brew it however you usually make your cold brew.
Real Good Coffee is just what it says on the bag, and may be buck for buck your best bet for your daily cold brew fix.
8. Bones Coffee, S’morey Time Whole Bean Medium Roast Coffee
Quite a title, indeed. But Bones Coffee is a stylish, arty coffee company with big ideas.
But they make great coffee too! And they make great coffee specifically for cold brewing; specifically, S’morey Time! The medium-roast Arabica beans used are infused with delicate chocolate, marshmallow and cracker flavors.
A cold coffee that tastes like a toasty fire time treat. What could go wrong?
Bones Coffee go big, with a bunch of single origin options and loads of flavored coffees to choose from too. S’morey time is a big swing, but if you want a great big scoop of comfort with your cold brew then it might be perfect.
Basically, if you like adventure (and cold brew coffee) then go for Bones’ S’morey Time!
So, What are the Cold Coffee Rules?
Sorry, there really aren’t any!
To start with at least, don’t go with any blend too dark or too light. You want balance in your iced coffee because the flavors are very different after the slow extraction process. Plus, your mouth reacts differently to a cold drink than it does to a hot one.
Having said that, there are options for everyone on this list. Plus, cold brew coffee is obviously… well… excuse the pun… cool…
The Best of the Best
The best coffees in this list, for me, are LifeBoost Coffee well balanced blend (it really should suit anyone -- I would give it to guests, no question) and the much more controversial Cade Du Monde. I love cold chicory coffee or coffee-style drinks, but that’s probably because I was brought up on Camp coffee drink, a ‘coffee’ syrup flavored with chicory that was invented in Scotland in the late 1800s and is still pretty popular mixed with cold milk and served over ice on a hot day. And yet, sometimes I just need to grab something premade out of the fridge -- that’s where Bizzy would come in.
So, you can see how it’s a personal decision!
Why not try as many of the options as you can get your hands on? At least until you find one you adore.
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