Unlike iced coffee, cold brew doesn’t need to be poured over ice, so it maintains its flavor as you drink it. While you can use any coffee grounds to make homemade cold brews, there are some specialty grounds made specifically with cold brews in mind. If you want to make your own cold brew from scratch, consider one of the following bags of cold brew coffee grounds.
How We Chose the Best Cold Brew Coffee Grounds
First, we researched the type of coffee grounds most suited to making a homemade cold brew and what made them the best. Then, we investigated the manufacturers’ claims and considered their reputations.
After that, we turned to user reviews to hear directly from people who’d actually used the respective coffee grounds. This gave us a good idea of what multiple people liked about each product, how the resulted cold brew tasted, and the drawbacks and benefits of each item.
Once we had narrowed our selection down to less than 10 products, we turned to the experts for their input. We read reviews by and picked the brains of several former baristas to see what they had to say about cold brew coffee grounds. With their guidance, we were able to narrow down the product selection to the five best options.
Buying Guide for Cold Brew Coffee Grounds
Why buy cold brew coffee grounds?
Cold brew itself is smoother, less acidic, and richer-tasting than regular hot coffee. Some people who prefer cold coffee drinks find cold brew preferable to iced coffee for these reasons, especially since cold brew is often made in the fridge and pre-chilled, so they don’t have to worry about ice cubes watering down their coffee. Creating your own cold brew from scratch also gives you greater control over the ratio of water to grounds, the size of the grounds, and the strength and flavor of the coffee.
If you decide cold brew is the type of coffee for you, there are plenty of good reasons to buy cold brew coffee grounds and make your own from scratch. Cold brew is quite expensive to purchase at your local coffee shop since it requires more ground coffee beans to create. On average, cold brew runs around $4 a cup or more. (Especially for nitro cold brews.) Thus, it’s much more cost-efficient to buy your own grounds.
And since cold brew has to be made well in advance, coffee shops will have a limited quantity each day. It’s not uncommon for them to run out of cold brew; the barista can’t just quickly whip a new batch in a few minutes or hours. If you make your own from coffee grounds, you’ll always know how much cold brew is on hand.
Besides the long-term cost benefits, making your own cold brew can be a time-saver on busy mornings if you play your cards right. Buying pre-ground coffee beans takes a step out of the process, as you won’t have to factor in the time to grind the beans yourself. And cold brew is often made well in advance since it takes so long to steep, and one batch can last for up to two weeks in the fridge. In the morning before work, all you’ll have to do is take the cold brew out of the refrigerator and pour yourself a cup. You won’t have to fire up a drip coffee maker and make a new vat of coffee whenever you need an extra caffeine boost in the afternoon.
What should you look for in cold brew coffee?
- Caffeine Level: Cold brew, in general, has a higher caffeine content than regular coffee since it’s made with more grounds and less water per cup. On average, cold brew contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup. However, there are plenty of decaffeinated cold brew coffee grounds available for those who only drink decaf coffee. There are also options with higher than average amounts of caffeine per serving if you need an extra boost. Less caffeinated coffee grounds are also an option if you want to reduce your caffeine intake without going for a 100% decaf cold brew.
- Quantity: Consider how many cups of coffee you drink a day, how large those cups are, and the amount of grounds you use in each batch. How many ounces of grounds come per bag? Will you receive more than one bag with each purchase? Are you brewing enough cold brew for a week or more, or just for a few days? Is your cold brew going to be your daily choice of coffee, or is it just an occasional treat? Most cold brew coffee grounds are sold in 1- and 2-pound bags, and buying in bulk tends to be most cost-efficient.
- Flavors: Don’t feel as if you’re limited to plain, black cold brew coffee. You can also find cold brew coffee grounds made from beans with light, medium, and dark roasts. And these roasts come in a variety of tastes, blends, and notes. Grounds with flavors like vanilla or caramel bring a touch of sweetness to cold brew without extra calories or added sugars. There are richer and bolder flavors like mocha and nutty flavors like hazelnut.
How much can you expect to spend on cold brew coffee grounds?
Specialty cold brew coffee grounds are a bit pricier than regular coffee grounds. A 1-pound bag of standard coffee grounds costs around $8.50 per bag. Cold brew coffee grounds run closer to an average range of $13 to $15 per bag. Even with this higher price tag, specialty cold brew coffee grounds still cost less than $1 per ounce. And it’s still less expensive than buying a cup of cold brew at your local coffee shop every day.
How fine or coarse should my cold brew coffee grounds be?
Coarse coffee grounds are the best option for making cold brew coffee. The coarser the ground, the less bitter your coffee will be. Cold brewing is done at room temperature or in the fridge, so it has an overall lower extraction rate than regular coffee makers. This means you’ll lose flavorful oil with fine grounds. The more oil you lose, the more bitter your cold brew. Coarser grounds filter out more efficiently during the steeping process, which decreases your chances of finding some loose debris in your finished product. If you use fine grounds, you’re going to end up with a cloudy, silty cold brew.
This is a big reason why it’s recommended to buy specialty cold brew coffee grounds if you don’t want to grind the beans yourself. Most regular coffee grounds tend to be pretty fine.
Our Picks for the Best-Tasting Cold Brew Coffee Grounds
Pros: These coffee grounds come in an impressive seven different flavors, in dark and light roasts, richer blends and sweeter blends, and more. There are size options for most coffee drinkers’ habits, too. Regardless of quantity and flavor, these coarse grounds were created with cold brews in mind and will make a nice smooth cup or pitcher of java. Don’t feel restricted to cold brew, either. While primarily intended for cold brew coffee, these grounds should work just fine for making other types of hot or cold coffee, too.
Cons: These grounds produce a better-tasting cold brew when steeped for longer. If you want a (relatively) faster batch of homemade cold brew—12 hours rather than 24 hours, for instance—these may not be the grounds for you. If you have a nut allergy, especially hazelnuts, be sure to scour the labels of these grounds carefully. Some of the flavors contain traces of nuts to improve their taste.
Bottom Line: If you want a flavorful cup of cold brew coffee without adding any extra ingredients, these are the cold brew coffee grounds for you. They may take longer steeping to make a better-tasting cold brew, but the wait is well worth the results. With multiple flavors available and both decaf and espresso-blended options, there’s sure to be a caffeine level and flavor that suits just about every taste and preference.
Pros: Some people think that cold brew doesn’t come in different flavors, but this is another set of cold brew coffee grounds that prove this idea false. Besides the plain dark roast, there are five other possible flavor options that range from sweet to bold to even a little bit spicy. You can buy all six flavors (and even a whole-bean option) in a 1- or 2-pound bag, depending on how much cold brew you drink. If you own a French press, these organic grounds are well-suited to creating coffee in the French press style as well.
Cons: None of the options are decaffeinated. While there is technically a plain, black coffee option, even those grounds will have some flavor to them.
Bottom Line: Many people consider dark roast coffee grounds to be the best choice for making cold brews. Once you try a cold brew made with these grounds, you’ll understand why. Whether you like your coffee plain or sweet, spicy or bold, there’s an option for you.
Pros: If you’re a fan of medium roast cold brew, look no further than this bag of cold brew coffee grounds. These grounds are available decaffeinated as well. The bags come in four different possible sizes, both the standard 1- and 2-pound bags, an extra-large 5-pound bag, and an extra-small 12-ounce bag.
Cons: These coffee grounds are priced a bit higher per ounce than most other cold brew coffee grounds. You may have to do some experimenting and tinkering before you figure out the perfect water-to-coffee ratio for you. If you like flavored coffee, these aren’t the cold brew grounds for you.
Bottom Line: Fans of medium roast coffee can tell you that this type of brew can be harder to find compared to dark or light roasts. While a bit on the pricey side, these tasty coffee grounds have you covered. Once you’ve figured out the correct water to coffee ratio, you’ll love the smooth taste of the cold brew made from these grounds. Daily coffee drinkers will also appreciate having the option to buy a 5-pound bulk bag of these grounds as well.
Pros: These coffee grounds are compatible with pretty much all dietary and allergy restrictions, from gluten-free to dairy-free, without sacrificing flavor. If you find the flavor of this light roast isn’t to your liking, there are five other flavors to choose from, as well as decaf and espresso-laced options for more or less caffeine. If you ever want to make regular iced coffee or even hot coffee with these grounds, feel free.
Cons: The minimum time for cold brewing– 12 hours– probably isn’t going to be long enough. For the best possible end result, you’re going to have to steep your coffee for longer. And as nice as it is to have flavor options, black coffee drinkers are out of luck with these cold brew grounds unless they want decaf coffee.
Bottom Line: Not all cold brew or coffee has to be dark and heavy. If you prefer something light and refreshing instead, you’ll love these light roast cold brew coffee grounds. Lighter roasts aren’t as widely recommended for cold brew, but the unique citrus and floral undertones of these grounds might change your mind. Those who can’t consume dairy or gluten won’t have to miss out on these unique cold brew grounds, either.
Pros: No more will you have to sacrifice flavor or taste when it comes to decaf coffee. These cold brew coffee grounds are decaf, but they’re also flavored with French vanilla and nuts as a treat for your tastebuds. They’re produced without any chemicals, so you won’t have to worry about a funny astringent aftertaste or poor ingredients. The bag is resealable to keep your coffee grounds as fresh-tasting as possible.
Cons: If you have a nut allergy, you won’t be able to enjoy these coffee grounds due to the nutty undertones. The bag is also quite small, with only a 12-ounce capacity.
Bottom Line: “Flavor” and “decaffeinated” aren’t often two words that go hand-in-hand when it comes to coffee. These cold brew coffee grounds defy that notion, however. If you prefer to drink decaf coffee or have to for health purposes, you won’t have to settle. Those with a sweet tooth will especially appreciate the natural smoothness of cold brew with the added sweetness of vanilla enhanced by the nutty undertones.
Do you need a specialty cold brew coffee maker?
Technically, no. You can use a mason jar, mesh strainer, and a paper filter or piece of cheesecloth to make your own cold brew at home. However, you’ll still have to invest in a mesh strainer and new cheesecloth or paper filters each time you want to whip up a batch. And you’ll have to secure a large enough mason jar if you intend to brew a week’s worth or more in one sitting.
Most cold brew coffee makers are far less expensive than many types of coffee makers since the majority don’t require electricity to function. They’re typically straightforward and usually come with a reusable filter. Basically, it’s not strictly necessary to buy a specialty maker for your coffee grounds, but it is more cost-efficient, eco-friendly, and convenient.
Nitro cold brew has to be infused with nitrogen, which does require a specialty coffee maker if you plan to make it yourself.
How long does it take to make your own cold brew coffee?
Unless you have a special electric cold brew coffee maker, cold brew coffee will take, at a minimum, half a day to make, usually longer. 12 to 72 hours of steeping is usually the magic range. The larger your batch, the more time it’ll need to steep properly.
The process might be a long one, but since cold brew holds up so well in the fridge, many people opt to make a week or two weeks’ worth in one session.
Cold brew coffee is well-known for its smoothness, low acidity, and its priciness. Fortunately, this is where cold brew coffee grounds come in. With your own specialty cold brew coffee grounds, you can make your own delicious cold brew at home for a fraction of the cost.
Other Cold Brew Coffees We Considered
If none of these coffee grounds are exactly what you’re looking for or you want a different flavor, here are a few other cold brew coffee grounds we would recommend: