What’s the Best Coffee Roast for Cold Brew & How to Choose?

Figuring out how to make a perfect cup might be a bit challenging at first.

Now you’re probably wondering what is the best coffee roast to use for your cold brew that is made at home. I totally understand why you’ve fallen in love with the smooth low-acid coffee this method of preparation produces. So I guess you’ve decided to try it out yourself and see whether it can become your go-to home-brewing technique. It sure has become mine, especially during the summer.

The question that seems to have an unclear answer is whether the cold brew is only to be prepared with a dark roast. Meanwhile, some would swear that a light one is the best cold brew coffee roast.

If you’ve been introduced to cold brew by a bigger coffee chain such as Starbucks, you might be asking yourself what beans are the baristas using to prepare it. And overall: what is the best coffee type for this brewing method in general?

In this article, I’ll help you understand what is the best kind of coffee roast for a cold brew and give you some basic guidelines and recommendations that will help you out at the beginning.

So let’s get straight to the point!

What is the Best Roast profile for a Cold Brew ?

If you’re trying to understand what is the best coffee for your cold brew you will quickly find the most suitable grind size and how easy it is to prepare this refreshing drink at home.

But when it comes to the degree of roasting of the beans it’s a bit harder to find a straight to the point answer.

So here is the best coffee roast for a cold brew:

Generally the dark is the most widely used coffee roast for full immersion cold brew. This roast profile overshadows the intrinsic bean flavors which results in a consistent robust taste batch after batch. Dark roasts are usually cheaper and a rather safe choice used in many cafès and by a number of consumers at home. However, by using a medium coffee roast you will be able to experience some of the distinctive flavors of the beans along with the roast flavors. Therefore if you’re looking for a more complex cup the best coffee roast for cold brew is the medium, and if you are a beginner you will find medium-dark and dark roasts to work best for you.

Of course, it all comes down to your personal preference.

Nevertheless, lightly roasted coffee beans are often preferred by coffee enthusiasts who use the cold drip method instead of the most widely spread – full immersion. If you have a cold drip brewing device, I would highly recommend experimenting with light roast single-origin beans. You will get to enjoy a quite exciting cup of coffee with distinctive fruity/citrusy notes.

How to Choose according to your Personal taste?

It’s worth noting that if you usually have your cold brew with milk, cream, sweeteners, etc., I would definitely recommend going for the dark roast.

If you aren’t a passionate coffee enthusiast that enjoys every single fruit note and subtle aroma in single-origin beans, there is no point for you to pay more for light roasted high-quality coffee.

Especially when it comes to cold brew.

The full immersion method of extraction is not as efficient in extracting those deeply appreciated subtle flavors single-origin lightly roasted coffee is known for. A higher temperature is needed for that.

I usually use medium-dark roast for my cold brew, even though I can proudly say I’ve experimented quite a bit.

While light roasts do loose some of their complexity compared to when brewed with hot water, I appreciate the personality they’re showing in comparison with dark roasts.

It’s quite interesting to taste them with subdued acidity.

I enjoy making medium-light or light roasted single-origin full immersion or cold drip batches from time to time when I feel like experimenting with my cold brew.

And I always drink those clean – no added milk!

If you’re trying to replicate the Starbucks cold brew you will find it’s easy to achieve an even better outcome at home with a medium-dark or a dark roast.

After you’ve achieved the desired results and cold brewing has become a routine, you can try experimenting with different roasts.

In time you might find yourself switching it up to a lighter roast profile and getting yourself a cold drip tower to experience the contrast between different cold brewing methods.

And maybe you’ll become even more passionate about coffee and the diversity of the flavors different beans can offer.

What is the Best Coffee Product for a Cold Brew – Pre-ground & Whole Bean Recommendations

Now that the roast profile is clear, I feel it’s good to quickly go over other details about the coffee you should use to make cold brew with.

Go for a medium to coarse grind. Using fine grind would lead to over-extraction and bitter-tasting coffee.

If you have a grinder at home, that’s great! Buying whole beans and freshly grinding your coffee before brewing is always much better.

If you don’t have a grinder at home it’s totally fine to use pre-ground coffee for your cold brew. There are some great options available and some coffee brands have made it easy for you.

I decided to go over some products that are perfect to use for your prepared-at-home cold brew.

So here are the best pre-ground and whole bean coffee packages for cold brew:

Coffee Name Roast Profile Type
1. Cooper’s Medium Pre-Ground
2. Stone Street Dark Pre-Ground/Whole Bean
3. Inspired Coffee Co. Dark Pre-Ground
4. Primos Medium Pre-Ground
5. Stone Cold Jo Dark Pre-Ground/Whole Bean
5. Bizzy Smooth & Sweet Blend Pre-Ground

Let’s review each one of those.

1. Cooper’s

Click here to see the current price and more photos on Amazon.

I am starting with my personal favorite.

If you’re used to having cold brew made at some of the large coffee chains and you’ve just decided that you want to make it yourself at home, start with this one.

With these Peruvian single-origin medium roasted beans you will truly experience the best cold brew you’ve ever had and never go back to your old habits.

As soon as you open the package you will fall in love with the coffee aroma coming out of it.

The roast profile gives you a rich, smooth and well-balanced cup.

A bit earlier in the article, I pointed out that the medium roast is perfect if you want to have a more complex cup that reveals the beans’ character.

The roast profile of Cooper’s organic coffee does just that.

It’s also pre-ground to the most adequate grind size for cold brew.

Cooper’s brand has another great alternative for cold brew. The Colombian single-origin beans are also fantastic.

They’re roasted a bit darker and you can check them out on Amazon by clicking here.

Again – they’re pre-ground and ready for use for your cold brew at home.

I’m sure you’ll love the bold yet smooth flavor you get to experience by using those beans.

Actually, Cooper’s have another beans bag roasted for cold brew, which you can also buy as a whole bean package (see on Amazon). It’s again medium roast and is from Guatemala.

If you want to try all you can go for this box set:

It includes all three of the Cooper’s cold brew alternatives and see which one you’ll love the most.

This box also makes a great gift for a coffee lover that enjoys this type of brewing at home.

Overall, Cooper’s offer the best pre-ground beans for cold brew. And they also come at a pretty good price.

2. Stone Street

Click here to see the current price and more photos on Amazon.

Stone Street coffee for cold brew is simply great.

You can get it as a whole bean or as a pre-ground package.

It is the perfect choice for those of you who are looking to have amazingly enjoyable cold brew.

It’s dark roasted with thrilling aroma and since it’s designed for this brewing method will likely become your go-to.

So I would gladly recommend it to anyone that wants to have an excellent homemade cold brew coffee.

3. Inspired Coffee Co French Vanilla

Click here to see the current price and more photos on Amazon.

There are quite a few different types of beans Inspired Coffee Co offers that are made for cold brew.

I decided to point out the French Vanilla bag, which is full of coarsely pre-ground single-origin Columbian Supremo coffee.

I would say the vanilla flavor isn’t strongly pronounced but is delightful. The cold brew you get will be sweet and flavorful.

The roast profile is dark and will give those nutty undertones that suit this type of coffee nicely.

If you want to try out other of the cold brew bags Inspired Coffee offers you can go for the sampler pack, which you can find on Amazon here :

This way you will get to have a few different batches comparing one to the other and deciding which one of them is your favorite kind. It’s always fun to do that.

If you don’t feel like doing so, I’d recommend the French Vanilla – you won’t be disappointed.

4. Primos

Click here to see the current price and more photos on Amazon.

This is a great pre-ground product that is perfect for cold brew.

Its medium roast gives a rich flavor without a bitter edge.

Unlike the other alternatives on the list, this bag isn’t marketed as “made for a cold brew”, but is just as suitable for this brewing method.

Many people use it for their French press and love it. It’s fantastic when brewed hot too.

I would say it’s a high-quality coffee that will leave you satisfied with your purchase.

So if you want to have a nice and refreshing homemade cold brew, you won’t make a mistake by going for Primos.

5. Stone Cold Jo

Click here to see the current price and more photos on Amazon.

When I first saw the name on this bag I immediately pictured a 6’7’’ bearded man that lives in the mountains and loves his coffee. He just can’t compromise on the taste and the ritual of having his cup is the highlight of his day and the only time he sincerely smiles.

That’s why I was drawn to try it out and it’s one of the best I’ve had.

You can also find it coarsely ground ready to use for your made-at-home cold brew.

The coffee will be just right – full-bodied, flavorful, with a smooth taste, no matter how you drink it – straight up, with milk, or with added sweeteners and cream.

My friend’s father has stomach issues and this is the only coffee he drinks and enjoys.

He uses the immersion cold brew technique to prepare it. During the colder months, he dilutes it with boiling water and gets to have a cozy warm and flavorful cup that gets to pick him up and doesn’t bother his stomach.

No wonder Stone Cold Jo only smiles when having his coffee.

You should try it out for sure – it’s worth it.

6. Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee

Click here to see the current price and more photos on Amazon.

With Bizzy, you will get to have affordable coarsely ground beans.

Many people think that this is the best bag full of coffee for a cold brew and it’s definitely among my favorites.

It’s an awesome solution to those of you who are trying to save some money by switching up their Starbucks cold brew with a homemade alternative that tastes much better.

Also, this brand aims to achieve the best possible coffee roast for cold brew.

For the Smooth & Sweet bag, they made a blend with light medium and dark roasted beans, which results in a perfectly balanced cup with an exceptional flavor.

That’s why this blend is the Bizzy winner in my eyes. There are other alternatives for a cold brew that the brand offers, but I would recommend that you start with this one and you won’t regret it.

A Bonus Tip – The Water

When it comes to the water you use for your coffee I would recommend using either bottled or filtered water.

Before I was using tap water for my homemade cup.

When I switched it up to bottled water I noticed a great improvement in my coffee’s taste.

I read a lot about it and now I understand the chemistry behind it. I’m planning on writing a full article on that matter very soon.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether you use cold drip, immersion cold brew or any other home brewing technique – the water makes a difference that’s worth experiencing.

Final Words

I truly enjoyed writing this article.

A while back I was wondering if cold brew coffee will taste better if prepared with a light roast. In time I realized that for a cold brew I have to look for the best according to my taste coffee roast. And I started experimenting!

Still, there are some guidelines that a beginner may find useful. Those I included in this article. I hope I also managed to help you out with my recommendations of whole bean and ground coffee packages.

I’m confident that you can find your all-time favorite among them.

However, if you turn your coffee drinking habit into a hobby of yours you will start to enjoy experimenting with different roasts, blends, etc.

By diving deeper in this world, you will never stop wandering for more unique taste profiles and coffee experiences.

And after all – why not start this journey through cold brewing?

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