Drinking coffee comes with its share of nutritional benefits. With the weather warming up, cold brew is back on the scene. But when it comes to choosing the best cold brew to start your day off right, the number of options can be overwhelming.
There are many reasons to love a good cold brew. Besides being a refreshing morning pick-me-up, some people prefer the taste and are better able to digest it. Hot brewed coffee is more acidic and bitter than cold brew coffee, says Maddie Pasquariello, RDN. "This might be appealing to those who experience digestive side effects when drinking hot coffee."
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With so many products out there on the market, we set out to find the very best cold brew coffee, and we asked an expert to weigh in.
The Best Cold Brew Coffee
- Best Cold Brew Concentrate: Jot Ultra Coffee Concentrate ($19.50, Jot)
- Best Instant Cold Brew: Trader Joe’s Instant Cold Brew ($20.30, Amazon)
- Best Cold Brew On Tap: Wandering Bear Cold Brew On Tap ($35.99, Amazon)
- Best Nitro Cold Brew: Minor Figures Nitro Black Coffee ($11.70, Amazon)
- Best Organic Cold Brew: Chameleon Cold Brew Black Coffee Concentrate ($10.99)
- Best Medium Roast Cold Brew: Califia Farms Black Medium Roast Cold Brew ($5.69, Target)
- Best Dark Roast Cold Brew: La Colombe Dark Roast Cold Brew ($33.38, Amazon)
- Best Decaf Cold Brew: Trade Boxcar Decaf Colombia ($15.30, Trade)
How We Chose
In our search for the very best cold brew coffee products, we asked a dietitian which cold brew brands she loves. We also asked what makes a good cold brew, and assessed products based on the following criteria:
- Nutritional benefits
- Sugar content
1. Best Cold Brew Concentrate: Jot Ultra Coffee Concentrate
Cold-brew concentrates offer you the opportunity to make your cold brew when you're ready to drink it. Each bottle of Jot concentrate makes about 14 cups of cold brew depending, of course, on how strong you like your coffee.
And when you want to enjoy a cold brew with zero sugar and simple ingredients, Pasquariello suggests adding this cold brew concentrate to your shopping cart. "It makes preparing delicious, tasty cold brew so easy," she says. "All you have to do is add a tablespoon of Jot's concentrate to ice and water and top it off with your favorite milk or creamer."
Buy it: Jot.co; Price: $19.50 per bottle
2. Best Instant Cold Brew: Trader Joe’s Instant Cold Brew
Whenever you want to make a quick cup of cold brew, Pasquariello recommends grabbing this instant blend from Trader Joes.
"This is the best instant cold brew option I've found," she says. "It is easy to make and offers a dark, rich, and smooth aroma." All you have to do is add a teaspoon of this instant cold brew powder to hot or cold water and stir until it's fully disolved. just like that, you have a delicious mug of cold brew to get your morning started.
"This is good in a pinch when you want a super-quick cup, or if you want to add coffee flavor to your baking," Pasquariello says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $20.30 for a pack of two
3. Best Cold Brew on Tap: Wandering Bear Cold Brew On Tap
This boxed brew can definitely come in handy if you're looking to cut down on daily coffee shop visits, or if you're planning an event and want to serve up some delicious, chilled java. This cold brew box is generously sized and its flavor is incredible, Pasquariello says.
"I've had Wandering Bear quite a few times at meetings and events and the taste is absolutely amazing. Plus, they have a bunch of different flavors to choose from, and the boxes are more leak-proof and spill-proof than others I've tried," she says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $35.99
4. Best Nitro Cold Brew: Minor Figures Nitro Black Coffee
Nitro coffee is coffee that's had nitrogen added to it, which gives it a smooth, luxurious taste. "This coffee changed my mind about Nitro coffee," Pasquariello says.
"In addition to nitro coffee, Minor Figures also carries oat milk and chai. They frequently have amazing sales and deals on their products. Plus, everything they make is super high-quality, so you're always enjoying the best of the best."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $11.70
5. Best Organic Cold Brew: Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Made from specialty grade, organic coffee beans, Pasquariello says this cold brew concentrate is worth your while. It only has two ingredients — water and coffee — and boasts a delicious flavor that's not at all acidic. This cold brew doesn't have any added sugar, so the flavor is totally customizable. The label instructs you on how to prepare your brew to perfect strength, depending on how you like it.
It's super simple to prepare. Just store the bottle in your fridge and add "If you drink multiple cups per day, this cold brew is even better as it will last you a long time and is great for the price," she adds.
Buy it: Target.com; Price: $10.99
6. Best Medium Roast Cold Brew: Califia Farms Black Medium Roast Cold Brew
If you like a more balanced brew, this medium roast from Califia Farms is definitely for you. It isn't too strong or too sweet. In fact, it has no added sugar, so you can flavor it using your favorite ingredients and sweeteners.
Pasquariello says this cold brew is a great pick because it only has two simple ingredients — water and coffee. "I always pick up a bottle if I see it at the grocery store, along with a bottle of their almond or oat milk to mix and match," she says.
Buy it: Target.com; Price: $5.69
7. Best Dark Roast Cold Brew: La Colombe Dark Roast Cold Brew
Unlike medium and light roasts, dark roast cold brew is stronger with a more rich and slightly bitter taste, which some even liken to that of dark chocolate.
While Pasquariello explains that she is more of a light roast person, she says that she's obsessed with this unsweetened canned cold brew from La Colombe. "It's a strong, bold cold brew with low acidity that's naturally sweet," she says.
This cold brew comes in a few unsweetened roast varieties, but you can also buy it the Milk and Sugar version.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $33.38 for a 12-pack
8. Best Decaf Cold Brew: Trade Boxcar Decaf Colombia
Caffeine isn't for everyone. I you are looking to sip on some flavorful cold brew that won't give you the jitters or the post-caffeine crash, Pasquariello suggests trying out this medium-roast decaf option from Trade.
"This is another great DIY cold brew option that yields the most delicious decaf coffee. Buy the whole beans, and use the overnight brew method to make the best decaf cold brew you'll ever have," she says.
Buy it: Drinktrade.com Price: $15.30
How to Choose Cold Brew Coffee
While there are tons of cold brew products available online and at the supermarket, consider these factors to help you choose the right one.
Pasquariello stresses the importance of checking the nutritional label of any beverage carefully to ensure that it's low in sugar.
"If you buy pre-flavored cold brew, pay attention to added sugars. It can be quite high in premixed cold brew drinks like lattes," she says.
Cold brew products with the simplest ingredient lists are the best choices, Pasquariello says. "I usually look for cold brew containing just coffee and filtered water and then add my favorite milk and sweetener at home."
If you buy coffee at the coffee shop every day, buying pre-made cold brew or cold brew concentrates can help you save money. But, some options are more affordable than others.
To cut back on your coffee bill, Pasquariello suggests opting for cold brew concentrate, which often yield more servings for the price.