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

Edited: February, 2023
Figuring out how to make a perfect cup of Joe might be a bit challenging at first.

Now you’re probably wondering what is the best coffee roast to use for your homemade cold brew.

There are many reasons why you may be enjoying the smooth and rich brew this method of coffee extraction produces.

So I guess you’ve decided to try it out for yourself and see whether it can become your go-to home-brewing technique.

Related Post: Best Coffee for Cold Brew – Top Picks Reviewed.

The question that seems to have an unclear answer is whether cold brew coffee should only be prepared with a dark roast.

On the other hand, some people I know would swear that the light roast is the best one for cold brew.

If you’ve been introduced to cold brew by a bigger coffee chain such as Starbucks, you may be asking yourself what beans are the baristas using to prepare it.

In this article, I’ll help you understand what is the best type of coffee roast for a cold brew. I’ll also give you some basic guidelines and recommendations that will help you out if you’re a beginner.

So let’s get straight to the point!

What Is the Best Roast Profile for a Cold Brew?

If you’re trying to figure out what is the best coffee for your cold brew you will quickly find the most suitable grind size and how easy it is to make it at home.

But when it comes to the roast level of the coffee beans it’s a bit harder to find a straight-to-the-point answer.

So here’s what’s the best coffee roast for a cold brew:

Generally, the dark is the most widely used coffee roast for full immersion cold brewing.

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 inherent 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. 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.

With all being said, 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, such as the Yama Glass Tower, I would highly recommend experimenting with light-roast single-origin beans. You will get to enjoy a pleasantly surprising cup of coffee with exciting flavor notes.

Related Guide: How to make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

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.

Related Post: Cold Brew Coffee Drinks: Best Ways to Serve Your Concentrate

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 lightly roasted high-quality coffee beans.

Especially when it comes to cold brew.

This cold water full immersion method of coffee extraction is not as efficient in extracting those deeply appreciated subtle flavors that 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.

Light roast coffee beans do lose some of their complexity when they’re cold-brewed. Nevertheless, I appreciate the personality they’re showing, compared to dark roasts.

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

I enjoy making full immersion or cold drip cold brew batches with medium-light or lightly roasted coffee beans.

With that being said, using lighter roasts for cold brew is more of an occasional experiment, rather than the rule.

So 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, 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 or even 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 exciting flavors different types of coffee beans can offer.

Did you know that you can also use your AeroPress as a cold drip tower?

Check out this post to find out how to make flavorful cold drip coffee in an AeroPress.

If you have this insanely popular coffee brewing device you can also check out my guide on how to make fast cold brew coffee in only 2 minutes.

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. So I started experimenting!

Still, there are some guidelines that a beginner may find useful. Those are the ones that I included in this article.

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 into this world, you will never stop wandering for more unique flavor profiles and coffee experiences.

So why not start this journey through cold brewing?

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