Ah, sweet summertime. Do you know what that means? Cold Brew Coffee time! While cold brew coffee is a year-round offering, cold brew coffee tastes particularly better in the warmer months. It’s refreshing to the taste buds and gives you a nice, bold coffee flavor. And the best part about making your own at home is how customizable you can make it!
Before we talk about the Best Starbucks Coffee Beans for Cold Brew, let’s discuss a few important things to know about this delicious and energizing coffee drink.
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
Cold brew coffee is a method in which you pour cold water over coffee grounds and allow it to steep (the process of soaking coarse ground coffee) for 20-24 hours. This is much different from traditional brewed coffee where you use hot water and can have a cup of coffee in 5 minutes.
While the process of making your own cold brew is not instantaneous, making a batch of cold brew at home allows you to make several cups at one time. Plus, the other added benefit, is that you’re saving nearly $5 a glass compared to visiting the well-known coffee shop. This could save you lots of money in the long run if you’re making daily trips to one of the most popular coffee chains.
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference?
While many people would think, “If they’re both cold, it’s all the same.” But we coffee lovers know, there is a pretty big difference between the two. Iced coffee is basically a stronger brew of drip coffee with ice added to it. Iced coffee generally only takes 15 minutes or longer, depending on how long you allow the coffee to sit and get cold. With iced coffee, you might find that the coffee is slightly bitter, due to the hot-brewing method.
However, with cold brew, we’re doing this nice and slow. We’re taking the, “Slow and steady wins the race” motto here. We’re essentially ‘cold brewing’ the coffee grounds with cold water for several hours, Because of this, cold brew coffee tends to have a more smooth and mellow flavor with less acidity compared to hot brewed coffee.
Did you know that cold brew coffee has more caffeine than iced coffee? To compare, a grande iced coffee from Starbucks has about 165 mg of caffeine, while a grande cold brew has about 205 mg of caffeine. Better tasting coffee and more caffeine?! Yes please!
If you’re new to the world of iced coffee, I think you should definitely give both drinks a try to compare. At first, you might not notice much of a difference. But with time, you’ll come to find that a good cold brew is the clear winner with its smooth taste and naturally sweeter profile.
Light vs Medium vs Dark Roast: Which is Best for Cold Brew?
When visiting Starbucks, you’ll find there’s a massive variety of coffee beans to choose from. Blonde roast, single-origin coffee beans, Arabica beans, dark roast coffees, etc. It can definitely get overwhelming to choose from. But that’s why I’m here to help!
When making Starbucks cold brew coffee at home, I recommend sticking to medium roast coffee beans or light roast beans. When you start going into the darker roasts, you might find that the taste is much more bitter and almost burnt tasting. The reason for this is that dark roasts are roasted for a longer time, resulting in beans that have a more pronounced roasted flavor. When you go to steep your cold brew coffee, this can lead to an overpowering taste and strange ‘mouth-feel’ as the oils can be heavier from the dark beans.
As far as the origin of the beans go, I would stick to single-origin whole beans. The reason is that as you begin to brew your own cold brew at home, you’ll begin to experience the distinct flavor characteristics of that particular origin. Because cold brew is a long, yet gentle brewing process, this can bring out the subtle flavors of single-origin beans.
This is also a great opportunity to compare several single-origin coffees when you begin your cold-brew coffee adventures at home. However, there is a really good coffee blend that I’d definitely recommend if you’re looking for something that is not single-origin. Keep on reading!
What are the Best Starbucks Coffee Beans for Cold Brew?
Now that you have a little background information on cold brew, what are the Best Starbucks Coffee Beans for Cold Brew? Here are my two picks:
- Guatemala Antigua – This single-origin coffee has notes of cocoa and other mellow flavors, low acidity, and a clean finish. This is my top choice for the Best Starbucks Coffee Beans for Cold Brew.
- Pike Place Roast – Remember when I mentioned there’s a great coffee blend option for cold brew recipes? This is it! Pike Place Roast coffee has a smooth yet full-bodied flavor that makes for a great-tasting cold brew. Although, I do love this coffee for French press at home too!
Best Starbucks Coffee Beans for Cold Brew Recipe
Ready to make your own cold brew at home? I’ll share with you exactly how I make cold brew at home in this easy step-by-step tutorial.
- Half-Gallon Jars – These half-gallon mason jars are perfect for brewing cold brew, as they are large enough to make several cups, but still small enough that it won’t take up all of the space in your fridge. I buy the two-pack so that I can either make two batches at once or when I go to strain the grounds, I can pour the cold brew into a clean mason jar to serve from.
- Cheesecloth – You’ll need something fine like cheesecloth to strain the coffee grounds from the jar. The cool thing about this cheesecloth is that they are washable and reusable, so these guys should last a very long time.
- Coffee Grinder – I’ve been grinding my own coffee for years (you really won’t believe the difference freshly ground coffee beans can be once you’ve compared pre-ground to whole bean!). This small, yet powerful grinder has been working for me daily for several years already! I even take it with me on family vacations so I can still have my delicious cup of coffee on the road.
- Food Scale – While not completely necessary, using a Food Kitchen Scale can ensure a more balanced brew when weighing out coffee beans. When I use a half-gallon mason jar, I like to weigh out 8 ounces of whole-bean coffee. Additionally, if you purchase one-pound coffee bags, you can eyeball half of the bag too!
Steps to Making Cold Brew
1) Buy Your Beans
The first thing you’re going to do is purchase beans. I always buy whole bean coffee so that I can grind my own beans at home. Grinding your own coffee beans from home ensures optimal freshness because once you open the beans, they get exposed to the air, which causes them to lose their freshness. If you don’t have a grinder at home, you can always have the baristas grind your coffee beans for you. Remember, using the freshest and best coffee beans is the way to go.
2) Grind your Beans
Grind size matters! You’ll want your coffee grinds to be fairly coarse so that they don’t pass through the filter that you use. If you’re having a barista grind your beans, ask them to grind them coarse for a French press.
After you grind your beans, you can either weight out 8 ounces of coffee, or eye-ball it. The more you make cold brew, the better you get at eye-balling it!
3) Using Filtered Water
Cold filtered water is generally recommended over room temperature water when making cold brew. The reason is that cold water extracts the flavor from the coffee beans differently than room temperature or hot water. Using cold water is the best way to get a smoother, less acidic brew from your coffee beans. If cold water is not readily accessible, you can always use room-temperature water, you’ll just have to adjust the brewing time by a couple of hours.
4) Steep Your Grounds
Once you add your cold water to your coffee grounds, you’ll want to steep your cold brew anywhere from 20-24 hours depending on the strength. Personally, I tend to go for a 20-hour steep, but if you want to have a slightly bolder brew, go for the 24-hour mark. You’ll hear varying opinions on steeping your cold brew in the refrigerator versus on the counter. I personally like to place my cold brew in the refrigerator while it’s steeping.
The refrigerator maintains a cold environment for the cold brew to do its thing while sitting the brew on the counter can have varying temperature fluctuations. Also, sitting on the counter means you’ll have a faster brew, if that’s what you’re looking for. Again, it’s all a matter of taste, but slow and steady should be your mantra for cold brew.
5) Straining your Cold Brew
Now it’s time to drain the cold brew from the coffee grounds. I like to use both a fine mesh strainer with a cheesecloth over it to ensure that coffee grounds do not pass through. This process should only take about 5 minutes. Properly strained cold brew can be refrigerated and enjoyed for up to 7 days.
Brewing Cold Brew Concentrate in Half-Gallon Jars
- Step 1: Weigh out 8 ounces of whole beans (or eyeball half a pound of coffee) from your 1-pound bag. Grind your coffee on a coarse grind.
- Step 2: Place ground coffee in the bottom of a clean half-gallon mason jar.
- Step 3: Fill up your half-gallon mason jar with cold water almost all the way to the top (about 7 cups of water). If you want it slightly bolder, add 5 cups of water.
- Step 4: Stir with a wooden spoon to ensure all of the coffee grounds are wet.
- Step 5: Place the lid back on the mason jar and allow it to steep in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Step 6: When the time is up, place a square piece of cheesecloth into a fine mesh strainer. Into a clean mason jar or pitcher, being to pour your cold brew into the strainer to remove the liquid gold from the grounds.
- Step 7: Keep your cold brew concentrate in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy!
How to Serve Cold Brew
Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour your cold brew concentrate about halfway. Add as much cold filtered water as you’d like to dilute it. I prefer a 1:1 ratio of concentrate to water. So if I use a 1/2 cup of concentrate, use a 1/2 cup of filtered water. Add in your sweeteners and milk as desired.
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Looking for some delicious treats to serve with your cold brew? Check out these Copycat Starbucks recipes!
- Starbucks Dupe Pumpkin Scone Recipe
- The Best Copycat Starbucks Blueberry Muffins Recipe
- Starbucks Dupe Pumpkin Loaf Recipe
- One-Bowl Fudgy Espresso Brownies Recipe (Starbucks Copycat)
- Starbucks Iced Lemon Loaf Copycat Recipe
- Starbucks Dupe Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin Recipe
Yes. When you serve your cold brew, you want to add cold filtered water before you drink it.
Homemade cold brew when stored properly will keep for up to one week.
Nope! Leave your cold brew in the refrigerator until it’s time to strain your coffee grounds.
No, there is no need to stir the coffee grounds before straining the cold brew.
The Best Starbucks Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
- 8 ounces coarse ground coffee
- 7 cups cold filtered water
- Weigh out 8 ounces of whole beans (or eyeball half a pound of coffee) from your 1-pound bag. Grind your coffee on a coarse grind.
- Place ground coffee in the bottom of a clean half-gallon mason jar.
- Fill up your half-gallon mason jar with cold water almost all the way to the top (about 7 cups of water). If you want it slightly bolder, add 5 cups of water.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to ensure all of the coffee grounds are wet.
- Place the lid back on the mason jar and allow it to steep in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- When the time is up, place a square piece of cheesecloth into a fine mesh strainer. Into a clean mason jar or pitcher, being to pour your cold brew into the strainer to remove the cold brew from the grounds.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Enjoy!*
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