Most people experience cold brewed coffee as a kind of minor revelation. Cold coffee doesn’t have to be acidic and stringent? It can be smooth instead of puckering and thin. In the past few years more and more folks have been turned on to this open secret as they’ve gotten the chance to try local concoctions, or sipped some of the stuff bottled.
After being popularized in large part by Sumptown Coffee starting around 2011, coffee roasters both large and small have decided to throw their hat into the ring and produce their own unique brew. The result of all this effort is that coffee drinkers now have a bevy of options to choose from when it comes to getting caffeinated. You can choose from cold brew concentrate – a thicker and highly caffeinated beverage meant to be cut with water or milk, straight up cold brew ready to drink from the bottle, or even citra hopped coffee. We sifted through all the different options to find some classics you can’t pass up – and a few that you may not have heard of, to compile a list of the 10 best bottled cold brew coffees out there. Look for these coffees in local markets or next time you take a trip.
Stumptown Cold Brew
Back in 2011 some guys at the Portland, Oregon based roaster Stumptown thought it would be a good idea to bottle and sell cold brewed coffee in little glass bottles. While they definitely weren’t alone in it, the company is widely regarded as having played a big role in popularizing the method of brewing and drinking coffee (They own ‘coldbrew.com‘). If you want to get a taste of how the whole cold-brew craze got started, pick one of these stubbies up at your nearest market. You won’t be disappointed.
Blue Bottle Cold Brew
Made from the Oakland-based coffee roaster’s ‘Three Africans’ dark roast blend (consists of two Ethiopian coffees – one washed, one natural, and another washed Ugandan), these 8-ounce cans pack a sparkly and light punch. After being brewed for anywhere between 12 and 16 hours, these coffees are put in containers that are designed to be easy to throw in your bag for a picnic or for hanging out by the pool.
La Colombe Pure Black
Founded back in 1994 in Philadelphia, La Colombe was among the first coffee roasters to source beans from small farmers and to roast them in small batches. They’re certifiably ‘OG’ when it comes to the third-wave coffee game and cold brew. The company released Pure Black bottled coffee way back in 2011. Brewed for 16 hours in steel wine tanks sans oxygen, pressed and filtered twice and flash pasteurized – it’s a hell of a great pick that won’t let you down.
Mostra Brazil Oberon Cold Brew
Ok so we have to be up front about this; we are a based in San Diego, and so is Mostra. With all the love we have for this city it was hard not to cover them. With that being said, though, we didn’t include them for nothing. Their brew is outstanding. While the small family run roaster primarily focuses on making cold brew for beer brewers in the area (they have worked with Abnormal Beer, and collaborated with Stone among many others), their coffee easily stands on its own. It is smooth, packed full of flavor, and obsessively crafted for your enjoyment. Pick up a bottle of their Brazilian for your home brewing or for an extra morning kick.
Seaworth Single Fin Sludge
For the uninitiated, “sludge” is a term that may turn up noses and discourage thirsty coffee connoisseurs from grabbing this bottle – but try Seaworth’s Single Fin Sludge just once and you’ll be a convert. Made by a group of surfers who felt that they were being left high and dry in southern California while folks in the pacific northwest and east coast were having all the cold brew fun, this stuff is made from certified fair trade organic beans that are ground and allowed to sit for up to 18 hours in filtered water. The result is a thick concentrate that doesn’t have an acidic bite or a puckering sourness to it.
Anchorhead Hopped Cold Brew
For the coffee drinker who is looking for something different in their cold brew, Anchorhead Coffee’s hopped drink is a perfect go-to. Brewed for 20 hours with beans sourced, roasted, and blended by the Duvall, Washington-based crew – the drink is then steeped in Citra hops. The result of this process is a drink that manages to balance the fruit and floral-forward flavors of the coffee with the dry citrus from the hops.
Grady’s Cold Brew
If you have never had New Orleans style cold brew, then you should stop what you are doing and grab some Grady’s right now. All you need to make it is a mix of coffee, chicory, simple syrup, and milk. Grady’s concentrate covers the whole coffee and chicory part – they brew their mix overnight with beans sourced from Porto Rico Importing Co. in Brooklyn. Once you get a bottle of this, you can cut it with water and sugar if you like it dark, or add little milk for an extra smooth cup.
Dave’s All Natural Coffee Syrup
Sometimes you want to go for something a little sweeter than what a straight cold-brew can get you. For those times, there is Dave’s Coffee Syrup. The Rhode Island based company brews their Brazilian grounds for 18 hours before filtering it, and bringing it to a boil with pure cane sugar. This sweet concentrated mix can then be cut with a glass of cold milk or a spirit for a invigoratingly sweet taste.
Outpost Cold Brew
Straight up ready to drink cold brew is never a bad way to go. Run by a bunch of folks who met while working as production assistants and baristas at a small upstart coffee roasters in L.A., this team has set out on their own to see if they can’t make it in the coffee world. Right now they’re focusing on quality and attention to detail; light roasted coffee, ground and left to steep in cold water for 24 hours, then filtered and bottled. No sugar, no chemicals – just the good stuff.
Made in a quaint little suburb you’ve probably never heard of, Brooklyn, New York, this is one of the few cold brews out there that won’t shatter if you drop it. In each one of these 11 ounce resalable screw top Tetra Paks is a brew from a blend of Rwanda Kigeyo and Brazil Pedra Roxa that has been ground and steeped in water for a smooth and ready to drink cup.