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What Are The Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew? Try 1 Of These

glass of cold brew coffee on ice with black background, best coffee beans for cold brew

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Whether you’re an experienced cold brewer or a newcomer, selecting the best coffee beans for cold brew can be daunting. What coffee is best for cold brew?

The good news is that cold brew, like all coffee, is a matter of personal preference, so there is no one “best” coffee bean for cold brewing. 

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of our go-to picks for cold brew coffee beans, from fruity and light to bold and dark roasts.

So let’s get (cold) brewing.

The Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew

In no particular order, here are five of our top picks for cold brewing:

Tips for Cold Brewing Coffee

Before we get to the deets for each of our five picks for the best coffee beans for cold brew, let’s review a few essential factors to remember when selecting your coffee beans.

Opt for Organic Coffee Beans

You’ll notice that all of our cold brew coffee bean picks are organic.

When shopping for coffee beans, but especially when choosing beans for cold brewing, always opt for organic beans. 

Organic coffee is a better choice for the planet, and it minimizes exposure to toxic chemicals that may be found in regular coffee. 

Check out our article on why organic coffee is better for more information on the subject.

glass canister of coffee beans with blue bottle cold brewer in background

Always Buy Whole Bean Coffee

If you’re looking for the best ground coffee for cold brew, there isn’t one. Pre-ground coffee will not work for cold brewing.

Coffee should always be ground immediately before use, as the longer it has exposure to oxygen and moisture, the more flavor it will lose.

Therefore, when shopping for the best coffee beans for cold brew, make sure you buy whole beans to grind them immediately before use. Get a burr grinder for the best results. 

Burr grinders are better than blade grinders because they produce consistent grounds for various brewing styles, while blade grinders merely chop up the beans and have an inconsistent grind.

But what grind for cold brew is best?

fellow opus grinder
The Fellow Opus Grinder

Best Grind Size For Cold Brew

The best grind for cold brew is coarse to extra coarse. The grind should resemble coarse sea salt or even rock salt.

You want the grind to be slightly more coarse than what you would typically use when brewing French press coffee.

One of the benefits of cold brew is the slow steeping process, which draws out subtle nuances from the coffee. The extra coarse grind ensures the brew doesn’t over-extract during the long cold brewing coffee process.

We always recommend grinding your beans using a high-quality burr grinder. There are many reasons to avoid pre-ground coffee, but for cold-brewing coffee, here are the top three:

  1. The grind size of pre-ground coffee is too fine for cold brew
  2. Pre-ground coffee becomes stale much faster
  3. Buying pre-ground coffee limits the brewer to only 1 or 2 brewing methods (mostly… drip)

If you are new to cold brewing coffee, check out this easy cold brew recipe.

The Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew – Reviews

groundwork organic sumatra single origin coffee in a can

Groundwork Coffee Organic Sumatra Single Origin 

While you may not immediately think of Sumatran coffees as the best coffee beans for cold brew, you’d be remiss not to try this Organic Sumatra from Groundwork.

These coffee beans produce a bold, smooth, rich cold brew that lends itself well to dilution with milk or cream. 

Top flavor notes include vanilla bean and bourbon, with just a hint of smoke. This coffee will be your new favorite if you like your cold brew on the bolder side.

shedlight coffee roasters organic ethiopia coffee

ShedLight Organic Ethiopia Kayon Mountain Farm

Many people would argue that one of the best types of coffee for cold brew is a light roast from Ethiopia. And, if that’s your jam, they’d be right.

Our organic Ethiopia coffee from the Kayon Mountain Farm produces a complex cup with floral jasmine, black currant, and fig jam notes with a hint of aged balsamic vinegar on the finish. 

The cold brewing process’s more prolonged extraction draws out every nuance, resulting in a delightfully bright and fruity cup with a floral aroma. In summary, it makes a dynamite cold brew.

bag of blue bottle organic bright coffee blend whole bean coffee

Blue Bottle Organic Bright Blend

You get a smooth yet excitingly zesty cold brew with Blue Bottle Organic Bright Light Roast

This exclusive blend of naturally processed organic beans from East Africa has a perfect balance of fruity flavors with notes of blueberries, lemon zest, and golden raisins. 

The unique flavors of this light roast make it a super exciting choice and some of the best coffee beans for cold brew.

bag of Stumptown holler mountain organic coffee blend whole bean

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Organic Holler Mountain

Another solid coffee blend that feels almost specifically tailored for cold brew is Stumptown Coffee Roasters Organic Holler Mountain Blend

This medium-dark roast is bolder than some of our other picks for the best coffee beans for cold brew yet less acidic, thanks to the longer roasting time. It’s a proprietary blend of beans that’s been a favorite amongst Stumptown loyalists from the beginning. 

This unique blend has notes of citrus and berry jam and a finish of creamy caramel. It’s perfect for those who want to take their cold brew to the next level.

bag of counter culture la golondrina organic whole bean coffee

Counter Culture La Golondrina Columbia Organic

Counter Culture La Golondrina Columbia Organic is a light-medium roasted blend of Columbian coffees.

It has bright, sweet cherry notes, a pleasant nuttiness, a smooth milk chocolate finish, and a unique aromatic profile. When brewed as cold brew, the flavor takes on an intense sweetness

The bright acidity and summery flavor profile give the coffee a refreshing finish that’s perfect for hot days.

Airscape vacuum coffee canister in matte black
Airscape Stainless Steel Coffee Canister

How To Store Coffee Beans Properly

So now that you know which are the best coffee beans for cold brew, you’re ready to start shopping, tasting, and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

But wait, how should you store your coffee beans?

It’s pretty simple. If your beans came in a foil bag with a one-way air filter (let’s air out but not in), leave them there.

Seal the bag with a couple of clips and store it in a cool, dark place away from any heat sources. Doing this will ensure the coffee will last you up to two weeks.

If your beans come in a paper bag, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in a cool, dark place.

an angled stemless glass of cold brew with milk pouring from above

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you reuse coffee grounds for cold brew?

Put simply, no.

As far as we know, you can’t reuse coffee grounds for anything other than your compost. Used coffee grounds will not produce delicious coffee.

When cold-brewing coffee, you always want to use the freshest coffee possible. For the reasons listed above, avoid buying pre-ground coffee and always grind your beans before brewing.

Grab any of our picks for the best coffee beans for cold brew and toss your used coffee grounds into the compost for the plants to enjoy.

Does cold brew go bad?

Like any brewed coffee, it will go bad, whether cold brew vs hot brewed. But the good news is that cold brew lasts much longer than hot brewed coffee.

When stored properly, a batch of cold brew can last up to 14 days in the refrigerator. Store it in an airtight container, and you’re good to go.

Once you’ve passed the 14-day mark, the cold brew will decline in flavor and develop sour, bitter notes. That’s when you know it’s time to brew a fresh batch for optimal flavor. 

Can cold brew be stored at room temperature?

We prefer to cold brew coffee at room temperature; however, when it comes to storage, we always use the refrigerator.

Cold brew coffee will expire much faster at room temperature (about two days versus two weeks in the fridge).

So once your cold brew concentrate is ready to drink, always move it to the refrigerator to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible.

Can you freeze cold brew coffee?

In short, yes! Like so many other foods, cold brew freezes exceptionally well and can be enjoyed for months when stored in the freezer.

We love storing cold brew in ice cube trays instead of regular ice when we need a zero-dilution boost. Or, toss them into your morning smoothie for a deliciously caffeinated protein shake.

If you wish to enjoy frozen cold brew as cold brew (go figure), you can place them in the refrigerator for an hour or put them in a glass on the kitchen counter for faster results.


Heather Calatrello

Heather Calatrello owner of ShedLight Coffee Roasters