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You could head to your local coffee shop to enjoy some of the best cold brew. Or, you could even learn how to make cold brew at home. But when the cafe line is too long and you need a quick boost of caffeine right away, the best bottled cold brew coffees are there for you. As economical as it is, making cold brew at home takes up to 24 hours, meaning there’s a pretty big delay between craving cold brew and actually drinking it.
Before we discuss the best cold brew coffee, let’s first explore how cold brew is made and the benefits of this brewing process.
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
Unlike traditional coffee which is brewed when hot water passes through ground coffee beans, cold brew is made by allowing coffee grounds to soak for up to 24 hours in cold (or room temperature) water. Depending on what your coffee-to-water ratio is, you can brew something that’s concentrated or something that’s ready to drink.
Alternatively, you can add concentrated cold brew to hot water for a hot cup of coffee. It’s a great option for work, because it eliminates the mess and wastefulness of single-serving options that are popular in offices. Cold brew is pretty easy to make at home if you have a French press or even just a mason jar. But as mentioned, it’s a time-consuming process, and it can take extra effort to dial in the perfect ratio. That’s why we rounded up the best cold brew that you can buy in bottles and cans. Stock a few of these at home or even at your desk for something you can enjoy anywhere.
What Does Cold Brew Taste Like?
While hot brewing results in a richer and more complex flavor profile, cold brew results in a profile that’s less bitter and more smooth. It’s also slightly sweet, offsetting the natural bitterness of coffee. While coffee purists might argue that you lose some of the complexity found in coffee by using cold water instead of hot, we’d argue that cold brew is a flavor of its own. Plus, by using cold water, you can get more consistent results. Slight variations in the temperature of hot water can greatly impact the flavor of coffee, whereas the gentler extraction method of cold water and longer wait time deliver more consistency and a greater margin of error.
The flavors of cold brew can vary pretty widely, depending on the roast, strength and beans used. That’s why we picked out some of the best cold brew you can buy right now. These include larger concentrated bottles for stashing in your fridge, as well as small bottles and cans that you can take on the go.
1. La Colombe Cold Brew Coffee
La Colombe starts with freshly roasted Brazilian coffee beans. They then steep these beans overnight in steel wine tanks which are free from oxygen. The resulting liquid is double-filtered so you won’t find any coffee bean bits in this drink. In addition, nitrous oxide is added to give a silky yet thick texture. In each can, you’ll get the caffeine equivalent of two and a quarter cups of coffee. With just five calories in each drink, this is a delicious pick-me-up that won’t break your diet, and one of the best cold brew coffees out there.
2. Blue Bottle Coffee Coffee, Cold Brewed
Blue Bottle is one of the major players in the third-wave coffee movement, and the Oakland-based roaster has since grown to be a global brand. Blue Bottle specializes in lighter roasts that have a bright, light flavor with a more acidic and less bitter flavor. Compared with the 11 and 12 oz cans on this list, this can is 8 oz. That means it’s enough to give you a boost to get you through the day, without leaving you feeling jittery. The coffee is USDA organic.
3. Chameleon Cold Brew Black Coffee Concentrate
Chameleon sells single-serve bottles of coffee, but the best thing to buy from the brand is the bottled coffee concentrate. The concentrated formula is designed to be diluted with water or water and ice to your desired taste level. Plus, Chameleon prioritizes environmentally friendly production and the use of organic ingredients.
4. Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee
Think about where you first tried cold brew coffee. Chances are a good number of you are thinking of Starbucks. The nationwide coffee chain really brought the cold brew trend to fruition, even if it didn’t start the trend itself. Now, Starbucks has bottled its famous cold brew so you can enjoy it at home. They start with a blend of beans that have been specially selected for their ability to be brewed cold. They then steep the beans to create a silky, smooth coffee you’ll find irresistible. Each box contains six 11-ounce glass bottles, and Starbucks also sells their cold brew in a sweetened version or mixed with cocoa, honey and cream.
5. Groundwork Coffee Organic Cold Brew Concentrate
West Coast coffee culture is typically centered around the Bay Area, Seattle and Portland, but Los Angeles is no slouch in the third-wave coffee movement. LA-based Groundwork sells some of the best cold brew and whole bean coffee, with a focus on using organic beans. This 32 oz bottle isn’t cheap, but it’s double concentrated, so it’s a good value when you factor in how much coffee you get out of it.
6. UCC Coffee Drink With Milk
While it’s not cold brew, UCC’s delicious iced coffee still deserves a spot on this list. UCC’s canned coffee was first introduced in 1969, meaning that the brand predates the trend for bottled single-serve coffee by decades. The Japanese brand is less common in the US, but you can still find it in plenty of specialty grocery stores. The cans come in 9 fl oz sizes.
7. Stumptown Coffee Roasters Original Cold Brew Coffee
BOLD AND RICH
Cold brew is already strong, but if you want something extra bold, go for Stumptown’s rich bottled brew. It comes in a 10 oz glass bottle. If you prefer something sweetened, Stumptown also makes bottled cold brew with oat milk or cream and sugar, but purists will love this strong brew.
8. Loud Brew L-Theanine-Infused Cold Brew Coffee
We all love coffee for its ability to wake us up, but what about those of us who can get a little too jittery and buzzed after sipping our favorite brew? Loud Brew, a newer coffee upstart out of the midwest, seeks to remedy this all-too-common situation by adding 50mg of L-Theanine into their brew. Despite including a healthy amount of caffeine into the mix (to the tune of 150mg), Loud Brew offsets the potential of jitters with L-Theanine, an amino acid commonly found in more calming drinks like tea. If you find you love the taste of your morning cold brew but hate the after effects, you should certainly give Loud Brew a try.
9. JAVA HOUSE Cold Brew Coffee
Most of the cold brews on our list come ready to drink straight out of the can or bottle. That usually means the coffee is mixed with either water or milk to make it more palatable, because, in its purest form, cold brew is a coffee concentrate. If you were to brew it at home, you would need to mix it with ice and perhaps milk before you drink it. JAVA HOUSE bottles that pure cold brew, giving you an excellent concentrate. Mix one part of this coffee with four parts of water to create your drink of choice. In this way, each bottle of JAVA HOUSE Cold Brew Coffee provides 20 cups of coffee.
10. High Brew Cold Brew Coffee
BEST SUGAR FREE
For a bold cold brew that’s incredibly low in acidity and contains zero sugar, look no further than High Brew Cold Brew Coffee. The coffee beans used to make these grab-and-go cans are 100% Direct Trade Arabic beans, meaning they’re sourced directly from farmers without using a middleman supplier. This passes along more profits to the people who need it most. The strong, naturally sweet coffee can be enjoyed directly from the can or mixed with sugar and cream for a more cafe-style drink.
11. Wandering Bear Organic Cold Brew Coffee On Tap
BEST ON TAP
Whether you need to supply coffee to a crowd or simply like to keep a bulk supply of cold brew in your fridge at all times, the Wandering Bear Organic Cold Brew Coffee On Tap is a great buy. This delectable cold brew coffee comes in a box akin to those used for boxed wine. The tap on the exterior of the box allows you to pour just as much coffee as you need at any given time. The coffee in the boxes is shelf-stable and can be stored for several months. Once opened, the coffee will stay fresh for up to 30 days thanks to the fact that light and air cannot penetrate the cardboard box. Finally, it’s important to note that there is nothing in this coffee except certified Fair Trade coffee beans and water.
12. KITU Super Cold Brew
Like the other beverages on this list, KITU Super Cold Brew is a bold coffee that lacks acidity or bitterness. Each can contains 250mg of caffeine, giving you the energy boost you crave. However, KITU has also included L-Theanine in its formula. This amino acid is naturally found in many tea leaves and some mushrooms. It’s said to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness, and scientists have also linked L-Theanine to increased focus, decreased blood pressure and better sleep. If you want to balance the jitters and negativity of drinking coffee with more positive benefits, this KITU product could be the answer you’re searching for.
13. La Colombe Vanilla Draft Latte
Not all cold brew is unflavored. La Colombe strikes gold again with their Vanilla Draft Latte. This deliciously frothy drink is created with real ingredients, including milk sourced from local farmers in Michigan, natural vanilla, a bit of maple and cold-brewed espresso. The sweetness comes from a small amount of cane sugar, and the texture is the result of an infusion of nitrous oxide. So, if you don’t like the taste of black cold brew, give this flavored version a try for a sweetly satisfying yet healthy morning beverage.