Title card for a post by Road Dog Coffee on the best beans to use for cold brew.

Best Coffee to Cold Brew: Top Coffee Beans for Cold Brew


Dive into the chilled depths of cold brew coffee with Road Dog Coffee’s comprehensive guide on selecting the best cold brew coffee beans. Cold brewed coffee isn’t just a seasonal favorite cold brew coffee recipe but a year-round delight celebrated for its distinctively smooth, rich flavors that starkly contrast those produced by traditional hot brew methods.

Whether you’re a seasoned aficionado of cold brew or a curious newcomer, understanding the right brewing method—including the use of coarsely ground beans and medium roast beans—can elevate your experience from mundane to extraordinary. Understanding the cold brew coffee ratio is also crucial for achieving the perfect balance of flavors. This post will explore everything from the perfect coffee taste and brewing coffee techniques, such as using a French press or a fine mesh strainer, to the ideal bean origins for crafting the best cold brew. We’ll cover both cold brew and other brewing methods to help you drink cold brew that meets your taste preferences.

Get ready to discover why cold brewed coffee, often prepared with a coarse ground coffee or specifically chosen cold brew coffee beans, becomes many coffee lovers’ favorite coffee. Engage with the nuances of horse coffee or explore the versatility of using a coffee filter for different cold brew concentrations.

Whether it’s a refreshing summer drink or a bold, robust winter warmer, let Road Dog guide you to the perfect sip of the best cold brew, one cold brew coffee bean at a time.

Cold Brewing vs Other Methods: Why Choosing the Right Coffee Beans Matter

Cold brewing is not just another way to make coffee—it’s a unique method that enhances the flavor profile of your coffee beans. Unlike hot brewing that extracts more acidity and bitterness, cold brewing slowly steeps coffee grounds in cold water for several hours, resulting in a smoother, sweeter, and more flavorful drink.

The choice of coffee beans plays a pivotal role in determining the quality and taste of your cold brew. Additionally, the cold brew coffee benefits include a smoother taste and less acidity, making it a healthier choice for many coffee lovers.

A glass of cold brew coffee, situated in front of a decorative glass with coffee beans, with ice has cream poured into it.

This method highlights the intrinsic qualities of the bean, such as chocolate notes or fruity undertones, which might be overshadowed by the harshness of hot water extraction. Opting for coarsely ground coffee is crucial as it ensures a cleaner brew and easy filtration. Using the right cold brew coffee grind size is essential for achieving the best results. 

Moreover, the best coffee to cold brew often comes from single-origin beans that can provide distinct flavor profiles well-suited for cold extraction. Experimenting with different coffee shops’ offerings or even brewing cold brew coffee at home allows enthusiasts to explore a wide range of taste profiles and find their perfect cup.

Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew

While both iced coffee and cold brew provide a refreshing coffee experience, they differ significantly in preparation and taste. Iced coffee is essentially hot brewed coffee that is cooled down and served over ice, often resulting in a more acidic and bitter flavor. This traditional approach might suit those who enjoy the typical coffee profile but seek a colder beverage. On the other hand, cold brew, never comes into contact with hot water, thus maintaining a smoother and naturally sweeter taste, which many prefer.

The brewing process for cold brew also allows for a higher concentration of coffee, often referred to as cold brew coffee concentrate, which can be diluted according to personal preference without losing the core flavors. This makes cold brew a versatile choice for different coffee drinks, whether served straight or with additions like coconut milk or half and half to enhance the taste. Unlike iced coffee, which can taste watered down as the ice melts, cold brew maintains its robust flavor profile, making it an increasingly popular choice among coffee aficionados.

Which Coffee is Best for Cold Coffee?

The best coffee for cold brew tends to be those with a naturally smooth and sweet profile. Medium to dark roast beans often yield the best results, as they have a more pronounced sweetness and less acidity than lighter roasts. These characteristics make them ideal for the cold brewing methods, where the focus is on drawing out rich and nuanced flavors without the bitterness associated with higher temperatures.

Cold brew coffee being poured into a glass of ice.

Beans from regions known for their bold and flavorful profiles, like those from Brazil or Colombia, are often preferred for cold brew. These beans not only adapt well to the cold brew process but also contribute a sweeter flavor profile, which is highly desirable. For those exploring homemade cold brew or purchasing from coffee shops, it is recommended to experiment with different brands, roast levels, and even a specific cold brew coffee blend to find the most delicious coffee that suits individual taste preferences.

Can You Use Regular Coffee Beans to Make Cold Brew?

Yes, you can certainly use regular coffee beans to make cold brew, but the choice of bean and roast level can greatly affect the taste. While any coffee bean can technically be used, the nuances in flavor become more pronounced when brewed cold. Specialty beans intended for cold brewing often possess characteristics that enhance the final cup, offering a more tailored experience.

For example, beans with naturally sweet and fruity notes or those with chocolate undertones can produce a delicious cold brew coffee that is both refreshing and complex in flavor. Experimenting with different cold brew coffee brands can also help you discover unique flavors and profiles. Opting for coarsely ground coffee beans is crucial as it prevents over-extraction and bitterness that finer grounds might impart. This makes the brewing process forgiving and the coffee more enjoyable.

Do You Need Special Coffee for Cold Brew?

While not strictly necessary, using coffee beans specially selected for cold brew can significantly improve your brewing experience. These beans are typically chosen for their flavor profiles when brewed cold, which may differ from those intended for hot brewing methods. Coffee roasters often curate blends specifically for cold brew, focusing on a coarser grind that optimizes extraction and flavor development at lower temperatures.

A glass of cold brew on a wooden table is having creamer added.

Choosing a cold brew coffee maker or a cold brew coffee kit designed for this method can also enhance the ease of preparation and consistency of your brew.

Choosing the Best Coffee for Cold Brew

Selecting the best coffee for cold brew involves considering beans that are known for their balance and inherent sweetness, which can greatly enhance the cold brew experience. Options such as medium roast Arabica beans from regions like Central and South America, or certain African beans, are frequently recommended due to their smooth, fruity, or floral notes that translate beautifully in cold brew. These beans provide a perfect cold brew that is less acidic and more flavorful than what might be produced with darker or lighter roasts.

Moreover, using freshly ground beans just before brewing with the cold brew coffee method can also elevate the taste, capturing the full potential of the coffee’s aroma and flavor in each sip. When making cold brew coffee at home or selecting pre-ground coffee from grocery stores, aim for a coarse grind to ensure optimal water flow and flavor extraction without the bitterness or sediment that finer grinds could produce.

Roast Level

The roast level of your coffee beans plays a crucial role in the flavor profile of your cold brew. Light roasts, while vibrant and complex, can sometimes impart an undesirable level of acidity in cold brews. Medium to dark roasts, including a cold brew coffee roast, on the other hand, are favored for their richer, more mellow characteristics.

These roasts bring out chocolatey and caramel notes that meld beautifully with the cool brewing process, creating a delicious cold brew coffee that’s both robust and smooth. Darker roasts especially tend to minimize acidity, enhancing the coffee’s naturally sweet flavors and providing a bold flavor that’s less likely to taste bitter even when steeped for extended periods.

Image of a plastic cup filled with cold brew, photographed from above.

Bean Origin

The origin of the coffee beans can significantly affect the final taste of your cold brew. Single-origin beans are often favored by aficionados looking to experience the unique taste profiles specific to different regions, whether it’s the floral hints from Ethiopian beans or the fruity undertones from Colombian coffee. Understanding the cold brew coffee origin can enhance your appreciation of these distinct flavors, making each sip of cold brew a unique tasting adventure.

However, blends are not to be overlooked; they can provide a harmoniously balanced flavor that combines the best characteristics of beans from multiple origins. This can result in a complex, well-rounded cold brew that caters to a broader palate, ensuring every drinker can enjoy their cold brew experience.

Does the Type of Coffee Matter for Cold Brew?

The type of coffee you choose is pivotal in crafting the perfect cold brew. This choice affects everything from the coffee’s taste to its mouthfeel. Opting for the right cold brew coffee type enhances the cold brew experience, elevating it from just a simple chilled coffee drink to a refined, flavorful beverage that can compete with what you’d find in a high-end coffee shop. Specific coffee types are designed to release their best flavors slowly, making them ideal for the lengthy cold brew process.

Is Arabica or Robusta Better for Cold Brew?

For cold brew, Arabica beans are generally the preferred choice due to their nuanced flavor spectrum that includes hints of fruits, flowers, and sugars, providing a smoother and more appealing taste profile suitable for cold extraction. Using cold brew coffee beans that are specifically selected for their quality can further enhance the experience.

Robusta beans, known for their stronger, more bitter flavor and higher caffeine content, can sometimes overpower the subtle complexities that make cold brew so special. However, for those who prefer a kick of boldness in their coffee, a blend incorporating some Robusta might enhance the body and add a desirable edge to the brew.

Closeup image of an Aeropress being brewed.

Top Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

When selecting the best coffee beans for cold brew, consider those that are known for their inherent sweetness and low acidity. A good cold brew coffee selection includes beans that have flavor notes such as chocolate, caramel, nuts, or even slight fruitiness. These characteristics tend to be enhanced through the cold brewing process, resulting in a coffee that’s not only delicious and aromatic but also complex and immensely satisfying.

What Kind of Bean Grind for Cold Brew?

For optimal cold brew, a coarse grind is essential. This grind size, often referred to as a cold brew coffee grind, ensures a slow and steady extraction, which is crucial for avoiding the over-extraction of bitter flavors often associated with finer grinds used in methods like espresso or drip coffee. The larger surface area of coarsely ground coffee beans allows for a full, even extraction, resulting in a smoother, richer cold brew. This is particularly important since cold brew requires a longer steeping time—often 12 hours or more—which could lead to bitterness if the grind is too fine.

Cold Brew vs. Cold Drip

Understanding the differences between cold brew and cold drip coffee is key to mastering these popular brewing methods. Cold brew, known for its simplicity, involves immersing coarsely ground coffee in room temperature water for an extended period, usually 12 to 24 hours. This cold brew coffee process produces a coffee concentrate that is typically less acidic and smoother due to its prolonged exposure to water at a consistent temperature.

In contrast, cold drip coffee, sometimes called Dutch or Kyoto-style coffee, uses a more intricate setup where water drips slowly through coffee grounds, typically via a specialized cold drip apparatus. The drip method extracts different flavor profiles and generally takes less time than traditional cold brew methods. Cold drip coffee often highlights more nuanced flavors and can be less bitter than its immersion-brewed counterpart.

Tips for Making Cold Brew

image of a French press, making a batch of cold brew coffee.

When discussing the French press method, it's essential to understand the cold brew coffee preparation process.

French Press method

To make cold brew in a French press, start by selecting the best beans for a smooth flavor. Coarsely grind about one cup of beans and place them in the French press. Pour four cups of cold or room temperature water over the grounds, ensuring all the coffee is saturated. Stir gently, then place the lid on without pressing down. Let the coffee steep for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature using the cold brew coffee technique. After steeping, slowly press down the plunger to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee.

Mesh Strainer

Alternatively, you can use a fine mesh strainer or a cold brew coffee filter to make cold brew. Follow the same coffee preparation steps, but instead of a French press, place the grounds in the strainer over a pitcher. Slowly pour water over the grounds, allowing it to drip through. After steeping, lift the strainer, letting the last drips of coffee fall into the pitcher. Both methods avoid the bitterness often associated with hot coffee, providing a deliciously smooth cold brew.

The Perfect Ratio for Cold Brew Coffee

Finding the perfect coffee-to-water ratio for cold brew is more of an art than a science, depending on personal preference for strength and flavor. Generally, a 1:8 cold brew coffee ratio serves as a good starting point for those new to cold brewing. This ratio ensures a balanced extraction that is neither too weak nor overpoweringly strong, creating a deliciously smooth cup of cold brew. Experimentation is encouraged, as slight adjustments can tailor the strength to suit individual taste buds.

Ratio for Cold Brew Concentrate

For those who prefer a more robust flavor or plan to dilute their coffee, crafting a cold brew concentrate is an excellent option. Using a 1:4 cold brew coffee concentrate ratio of coffee to water produces a potent concentrate that’s perfect for mixing with water, milk, or even for use in recipes that call for strong coffee.

This concentrated form allows for versatility in how much you dilute your cold brew, giving you control over the intensity and flavor of your final cup. Whether you prefer a lighter touch or a more caffeine-packed drink, adjusting the concentrate ratio provides flexibility in your cold brewing process.


Choosing the right coffee beans for your cold brew can elevate your coffee experience, particularly when the coffee is prepared with attention to detail. Experiment with different beans, roasts, and ratios to discover what best suits your palate.

For making cold brew, Road Dog Coffee Company’s “Black Dog” blend is the perfect choice. Black Dog’s bold and robust flavor profile, combined with its smooth finish, makes it ideal for cold brewing. The rich, chocolatey notes and hints of caramel complement the cold brewing process, resulting in a deliciously refreshing and satisfying cold brew coffee. Additionally, Black Dog’s strong kick ensures that its flavor remains prominent even when diluted with ice or milk, providing a consistently flavorful cold brew experience.

Embrace the cold brew coffee experience and let Road Dog Coffee guide you to the perfect cup of cold brew. Explore our selection of specially curated beans, perfect for enhancing your coffee ritual, and step into a world of refined flavors with every brew.

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