Introduction to Cold Brew

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and its popularity continues to grow with new brewing methods popping up all the time. Cold brew coffee is one of the latest trends in coffee making, and the process yields a smooth, tasty cup that’s different from traditional hot brewed coffee. In this guide, we will explore the history of cold brew, different methods for making it, how it compares to iced coffee, what criteria to consider when shopping for the best beans for cold brew, how to roast for cold brew, and suggested brands of beans. Let’s start by taking a look at the background of cold brew.


Cold brew coffee has been around for centuries, but it is having a resurgence in popularity as people look for a smooth and sweet alternative to traditional hot-brewed coffee. Cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended period of time, usually 12 to 24 hours. The resulting beverage is usually less acidic than hot brews and can be served hot, over ice, with milk or other added ingredients. In this guide we explore the various methods available for making cold brew, as well as the criteria for selecting the best coffee beans for cold brew. We have also included recommendations on specific brands of coffee and a list of resources and further reading.

History of Cold Brew Coffee

Brewing coffee with cold water produces a smoother and sweeter drink than traditional hot brewing methods. Although its exact origin is still debated, cold brew coffee has been gaining in popularity over the last few years.

Cold brew reportedly originated in Japan during the 1600s, where it was prepared by steeping coarsely ground beans overnight in cold water and filtering it the next day. In the early 1800s, the Dutch introduced a European version, known as lukewarm brew, in Indonesia. In the 1860s, New Orleans became popular for its cold-steeped French-style coffee.

But cold brew didn't make its way to American households until more recently, when Todd Simpson created a simple extraction process aptly named after himself. Simpson's method involves slow-drip immersion, a process that takes up to 16 hours for completion.

While many of the brewing methods used today are based on Simpson's technique, cold brew brewers now come in all shapes and sizes, from manual pour overs to automated systems where you can program your desired concentration and flavor profile.

History of Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has recently become one of the most popular ways to enjoy coffee. But what is cold brew and where did it come from? In this section, we will look at the history of cold brew and how it has evolved into the delicious drink that we know today.

The origins of cold brew can be traced back to 17th century Japan. During this time, the Japanese discovered how to make a type of cold brewed tea called koicha. This method of brewing tea involved steeping tea in cold water for a significant amount of time. This allowed for the extraction of a more delicate flavor than hot brewed tea, leading to its popularity.

As the popularity of cold brewed beverages began to grow, the same method was applied to coffee. By the end of the 19th century, cold brewing had become commonplace in parts of Europe and the United States. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that cold brew really began to take off, with a wave of cafes and coffee shops introducing it as a specialty drink.

Today, cold brew is one of the most popular drinks on the market. Not only is it refreshing and tasty, but it also has a much smoother and less acidic taste than regular brewed coffee. Plus, with the rise of nitro cold brew, the possibilities are endless!

Brewing Methods

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period. This process is different from making other types of coffee, such as iced coffee, which is usually brewed hot and then served over ice. There are several methods for making cold brew, each with its own unique characteristics.

French Press

A French press is a great way to make a single serving of cold brew at home. The process is simple – just add the desired amount of coffee grounds to the French press, pour in cold water, and let the mixture steep for 12-24 hours. When done, press down on the plunger and pour the cold brew into your cup.


The Toddy system is a popular brewing method for making large batches of cold brew. It consists of a glass container, a wooden lid, a corrugated paper filter, and a rubber stopper. To use it, simply mix the desired amount of coffee grounds with cold water, let it steep for 12-24 hours, and then decant the liquid through the filter into the Toddy container.

Nitro Cold Brew

Nitro cold brew is a type of cold brew that has been infused with nitrogen gas. This gives it a creamy texture and a frothy head similar to draught beer. To make nitro cold brew, you’ll need a special tap system and a few other pieces of equipment, so it’s best left to professional brewers.

Brewing Methods

There are lots of different ways to make cold brew coffee. Some of these methods are more popular than others and each one will give you slightly different results. Here is a look at some of the most common methods.

French Press

The French press is a popular method for making cold brew coffee. It’s quite simple: just add your coarsely ground coffee to a pot or French press, add cold water, let it sit for 8-24 hours, and then press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the liquid. This method will yield a smooth and flavorful cup of coffee.


The Toddy method is one of the easiest ways to make cold brew coffee. All you need is coffee grinds, cold water, and a special Toddy cold brew system, which consists of a container, filter, and plug. This method will yield a subtly flavored coffee with a low acidity level that makes it easy to drink.

Nitro Cold Brew

Nitro cold brew coffee is made by infusing cold brew coffee with nitrogen gas. This creates a creamy and velvety texture with a unique taste. Nitro cold brew is slightly more complicated to make than regular cold brew, but it can be done at home as long as you have the right equipment.

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee

If you're a fan of coffee, it's likely that you've heard of cold brew or iced coffee. Both drinks feature coffee brewed without the use of heated water. But while they might be served cold and look similar in presentations, there are distinct differences between these two beverages.

A key distinction between cold brew and iced coffee is the brewing process. Cold brew is brewed with cold or room-temperature water and steeped for an extended period of time (anywhere from 8 to 24 hours). By contrast, iced coffee typically involves brewing hot coffee and then cooling it quickly down. This method can result in a bitter taste, which some people don’t enjoy.

In terms of flavor, cold brew and iced coffee also differ significantly from each other. Cold brew tends to have a smoother and richer taste compared to iced coffee, since it is steeped for such a long period of time. Iced coffee, on the other hand, will have a more acidic flavor profile since it’s brewed with hotter temperatures.

The caffeine content of the two drinks also differs. Cold brew contains more caffeine because the extraction process is slowed down and more of the caffeine is extracted from the beans. Iced coffee, on the other hand, has less caffeine than cold brew because it is brewed using hotter temperatures.

Ultimately, when it comes to choosing between cold brew or iced coffee, it really comes down to personal preference. Both drinks offer a refreshing way to enjoy coffee, and are sure to please coffee lovers of all kinds.

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee

When it comes to cooling down your morning cup of joe in the summer, you may be deciding between iced coffee or cold brew. Although these two drinks may sound similar, there are some key differences that you should consider before choosing.

The main difference between iced coffee and cold brew is how they are made. Iced coffee is simply brewed hot coffee that has been cooled, whereas cold brew is coffee that is steeped slowly in cold water for an extended period of time. This unique process results in a unique flavor profile with less bitterness when compared to iced coffee.

In terms of caffeine content, cold brew typically has more caffeine than iced coffee. This is because the process of steeping takes longer, causing more caffeine to be released from the beans. As a result, cold brew tends to be stronger tasting than iced coffee.

Additionally, cold brew tends to have a smoother taste than iced coffee because of the lower acidity. This is because the cold water extraction process eliminates most of the bitter acids that are usually found in hot coffee.

So, if you’re looking for a stronger cup of coffee with a smoother taste, then cold brew is definitely the way to go. If you’re looking for a less potent coffee flavor with higher acidity, then iced coffee may be a better choice.

Shopping for Coffee Beans

When it comes to making the best cold brew, the coffee beans you use may be the single most important factor. It is essential to choose the right beans if you want to create a delicious cup of cold brew with the perfect balance of flavor and caffeine. Here are some tips for shopping for coffee beans that will help you make the best cold brew.

Roast Level

One of the most important considerations when selecting coffee beans for cold brew is the roast level. Generally speaking, lighter roasts are better for cold brew than dark roasts. That’s because light roasts have less acidity, which helps to prevent the cold brew from tasting too sharp or bitter. Darker roasts will still work for cold brew, but the flavor may be a bit intense for some people.

Origin and Variety

When shopping for coffee beans, it’s also important to consider the origin and variety. Different regions of the world produce different varieties of beans, and each variety will bring its own unique flavor profile to your cold brew. Do some research to determine which varietals and regions are best suited to the flavor you’re trying to achieve.

Also, make sure to look at the amount of caffeine in the beans you’re considering. If you want a strong kick of caffeine in your cold brew, opt for beans that are higher in caffeine. Again, this will depend on the variety of bean, so make sure to do your research.

Grind Size

The grind size of the beans can also have an effect on the cold brew. Coarser grinds (which are usually preferable for cold brew) will result in a slower extraction rate. This means the cold brew won’t be as strong, but will have a more subtle flavor. For a stronger cup of cold brew, go with a finer grind.


Finally, make sure the beans you select are fresh. Buy them in small batches, so you know they’re as fresh as possible when you brew them. Also, store them in an airtight container and keep them away from heat and light to maintain the freshness.

Shopping for Coffee Beans

When shopping for the best coffee beans for cold brew, there are a few key criteria to keep in mind. First, you should look for higher-quality beans that have been carefully sourced and roasted. Higher-quality beans will create a better-tasting cup of cold brew, so it’s worth investing a little extra in your beans. When looking at beans, it’s important to consider the flavor profile and origin of the beans. Light roast beans will tend to have more citrus or floral notes while dark roast beans are typically richer and more full-bodied. Additionally, beans from different origins will produce a variety of flavors.

Some brands offer specific blends specifically designed for cold brew. These blends can be quite useful because they are made to bring out certain flavor notes and help create a more complex flavor profile. However, even if you choose a blend specifically created for cold brew, it’s still important to understand the flavor profile of the bean and the origin of the beans in order to make an informed decision.

When selecting the best coffee beans for cold brew, think about what kind of flavor profile you want and find a bean that meets those criteria. If you’re unsure, start by tasting a few different types of beans to get a feel for what flavor profiles you like. Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, you can start experimenting with different combinations of beans to make a custom blend. Finally, make sure to keep an eye out for high-quality roasts and single-origin beans – the perfect combination of these can result in a fantastic cup of cold brew.

Roasting for Cold Brew

When it comes to finding the best coffee beans for cold brew, the roasting process is an important factor to consider. Cold-brew coffee requires a coarser grind than any other type of coffee, so it’s best to use beans that are coarsely ground and roasted on the lighter side. The lighter roast will make it easier to adjust the level of flavor and strength desired in the cold brew.

Light roasted coffee beans bring out the specific, complex flavors of the bean. Darker roasts tend to produce a more dominant, smoky flavor. Therefore, when selecting coffee beans for cold brew, it’s best to opt for a medium or light roast. The lighter the roast, the more delicate flavors will be present in the cold brew.

For cold brew, you should also consider using a blend of different types of beans. Blending different beans can bring out different flavors and aromas in the final product. Additionally, blending different beans will give you better control over the flavor profile of your cold brew.

Roasting for Cold Brew

When it comes to roasting coffee beans for cold brew, there are a few special considerations to keep in mind. The acidity and sweetness of the cold brew is affected by the roast, so it's important to choose the right one.

Light or medium roasts are generally preferred as they produce a brighter, less bitter flavor. They also have a higher caffeine content, which is great for getting that extra kick of energy in the morning. Darker roasts will give you a stronger, smokier flavor, but with less caffeine.

Beans roasted for cold brew should also be ground finer than for hot coffee since the grind has a big impact on the taste. Finer grounds help to bring out and extract more flavorful compounds from the beans.

  • Light or medium roasts are generally preferred for cold brew.
  • Darker roasts will give you a stronger, smokier flavor.
  • Coffee beans for cold brew should be ground finer than for hot coffee.

Recommended Brands (400 words)

When it comes to choosing the best coffee beans for cold brew, there are a variety of factors to consider. The type of roast, the origin of the beans, and the source of the beans all come into play when selecting the perfect beans for your cold brew. Here, we'll offer a few recommendations for brands that excel in making coffee for cold brew.

One highly recommended brand is Single Origin Roasters. They offer a wide range of carefully roasted single origin coffees that are sure to provide a complex flavor profile when brewed as cold brew. Another great choice is Toby's Estate, which has a selection of specialty grade coffee blends that are ideal for cold brewing.

For a more cost-effective option, you may want to look into coffees from Maxwell House. They offer a variety of different roasts that can all make delicious cold brew. No matter what type of flavor you're looking for, Maxwell House has you covered. Finally, you may want to consider Folger's Coffee, which offers a wide selection of coffees in different grinds and flavor profiles.

By taking the time to research and select the best coffee beans for cold brew, you can ensure a delicious cup of coffee every time. With these recommendations in mind, you can more easily choose beans that will make a truly perfect cup of cold brew.

Recommended Brands

When looking for the best coffee beans for cold brew, there are a few brands that are consistently recommended as great options by experienced cold brewers. These brands include Portland Roasting Coffee, Counter Culture Coffee, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

Portland Roasting Coffee is known for their high-quality organic and fair trade beans, making them a favorite among eco-conscious consumers. Their light roasts are popular for cold brewing. Counter Culture Coffee’s coffees feature bright, balanced flavor profiles that work well with cold brew. Stumptown Coffee Roasters is another top-tier pick, with a focus on quality and sustainability. Their light and medium roasts offer excellent sweetness and acidity without over-extracting.

Other popular picks include Intelligentsia Coffee, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, and Onyx Coffee Lab. Intelligentsia Coffee offers a wide range of roasts and flavors ideal for cold brew coffee. La Colombe Coffee Roasters' coffees feature nuanced flavor profiles that keep cold brewers coming back for more. Onyx Coffee Lab specializes in artfully roasted beans with vibrant and complex flavors.


Cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its smooth, mellow flavor. But crafting the perfect batch of cold brew requires careful consideration of the coffee bean selection process. To make the best cold brew possible, you'll need to consider the type of beans you use, look for a roaster that specializes in cold brew beans and pick a grind that is optimized for cold brew.

The goal of this guide was to provide readers with the information they need to make the best cold brew possible. We discussed the history of cold brew, the major types of brewing methods, the difference between cold brew and iced coffee, the criteria for selecting the best coffee beans for cold brew, roasting considerations, recommended brands, and other resources for further reading.

By following the advice contained in this guide, you'll be well on your way to becoming a cold brew connoisseur in no time! Planning ahead, experimenting with different beans, brews, and grinding techniques are all great ways to customize your cold brew experience and find the perfect cup of coffee.


Cold brew coffee is a unique, flavorful beverage that has rapidly become popular in recent years. Brewing it requires special equipment and techniques, as well as the right type of coffee beans. The best beans for cold brew are those that are medium-dark roasted, as they produce a smooth flavor with balanced acidity.

When making cold brew, it is important to take into account the time it takes to steep the grounds, as well as the desired strength and complexity of the final drink. Different brewing methods will also affect the flavor of the coffee. French press, toddy, and nitro cold brew are some of the more common approaches.

It's also important to differentiate between cold brew and iced coffee. Iced coffee is brewed with hot water, and then cooled down, while cold brew starts with cold or room temperature water.

When looking for coffee beans for cold brew, be sure to consider the roast, origin, and flavor notes. There are a variety of brands that specialize in producing high-quality coffee specifically designed for cold brew. If you're unsure where to start, these brands can provide a great foundation.

Finally, roasting coffee beans specifically for cold brew requires its own set of considerations. This can require experimenting before achieving the perfect flavor.

Resources and Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about cold brew coffee, there are plenty of helpful resources available. In addition to books and courses, there are websites and blogs dedicated to cold brew that can provide valuable information. Here are some of our favorite resources to check out:

  • Manual Coffee Brewing has a great selection of articles and tutorials related to cold brew.
  • Cold Brew Avenue is a blog dedicated to all things cold brew, with informative posts and recipes.
  • Dripex Coffee has a comprehensive collection of cold brew resources and tips.
  • Perfect Daily Grind offers a wide range of articles focusing on specialty coffee.

Finally, don't forget to join the conversation! Cold brew enthusiasts come from all walks of life and there are plenty of forums and social media groups dedicated to the topic.

Resources and Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about cold brew coffee, there are a number of helpful resources available. Here are some places to check out:

  • Cold Brew Avenue – A comprehensive resource for cold brew education and tutorials.
  • Coffee Brewing Methods – Learn the basics of cold brew using a range of equipment.
  • Aroma Cup – Step by step guide to making cold brew at home.
  • HomeGrounds – Tips for selecting the best beans for cold brew.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Q: What is cold brew coffee?
    A: Cold brew coffee is a type of coffee made by steeping coffee grounds in cold, or room temperature, water for an extended period of time. The result is a strong, smooth-tasting beverage with a lower acidity than regular brewed coffee.
  • Q: How is cold brew different than iced coffee?
    A: Iced coffee is typically made by brewing a hot cup of coffee and then cooling it down with ice or refrigeration. Cold brew, on the other hand, is never exposed to heat and is produced by soaking the grounds with cold water over an extended period. For this reason, cold brew has a smoother and more robust flavor profile than traditional iced coffee.
  • Q: What are the best beans for cold brew?
    A: When selecting beans for cold brew, it is important to look for beans that have been specifically roasted for cold brew. Beans for cold brew often have a lighter roast profile, which helps ensure a smooth and balanced flavor. Popular brands for cold brew include Grady's Cold Brew, High Brew Coffee, and Chameleon Organic Cold Brew.
  • Q: How long do I need to let my beans steep for cold brew?
    A: Generally, cold brew should be steeped for 12 – 24 hours. This will allow the flavor of the beans to fully develop and produce a smooth, full-bodied drink.
  • Q: How is French press cold brew different?
    A: The French press method uses an immersion technique to extract the flavor of the beans. Hot water is added to the insulated carafe and mixed with the coffee grounds. The mixture is then allowed to steep for 4 – 8 minutes before being pressed through the filter. The resulting brew is stronger than other cold brew methods, with a creamy texture and subtle notes from the oils of the beans.
  • Q: What is toddy cold brew?
    A: Toddy cold brew is a method that uses a special device to create an extra concentrated cold brew. The device consists of a glass pitcher with a chamber at the bottom. Coffee grounds are combined with cold water in the chamber and allowed to steep for several hours before the liquid is slowly extracted through a reusable cloth filter. The resulting brew is incredibly smooth and can be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks.
  • Q: What is nitro cold brew?
    A: Nitro cold brew is a type of pre-packaged cold brew that is infused with nitrogen. It is usually served with a creamy, foamy head like a stout beer. Nitro cold brew has a relatively sweet flavor profile and is good for sipping.