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- Cold brew coffee is always ready to roll, so keep a can or 10 in your fridge and you’ll never be without a refreshing, energizing beverage.
- KonaRed Cold Brew Coffee is the best ready-made cold brew coffee because it’s sublimely smooth and rich in taste.
In case you hadn’t noticed, cold brew coffee is having a moment. People have been drinking cold coffee for years now, but today, we’re not talking about the cup of joe left sitting on your desk since the morning, nor are we talking about regular coffee you poured over ice.
True cold brew coffee was designed to be sipped chilled from the get go, and purveyors of cold brew coffee manage everything from the bean selection to the roasting timing and temperature to the extraction process to ensure their beverages come out just right.
Cold brew coffees are generally less bitter and acidic than traditional coffee, resulting in a smooth and refreshing beverage. Think about that: refreshing coffee. Sure, the hot stuff can be energizing and comforting and such, but I’ve sipped down cans and bottles of cold brew coffee after a run as many times as I’ve enjoyed one in place of a steaming morning mug.
Refreshment is great, but convenience is an even bigger selling point when it comes to ready-made cold brew coffee. There’s no grinding or scooping, no brewing or perking, no pouring out a cup, even. You just pop the can or bottle open and sip. For the commuter or traveler, cold brew coffee is simply a smart choice. But there’s still one more benefit to pre-packaged cold brew coffee that I think many people overlook: the taste consistency.
When you make your own coffee, chances are you inadvertently use a slightly different bean to water ratio each and every time, and you likely add a varying amount of sugar, cream, or whatever else you use with each and every cup, too. With cold brew coffee, the beverage maker has locked in the exact flavor profile they want, so once you find a brand and a blend you love, you can count on it with each and every serving.
Here is the best cold brew coffee you can buy:
- Best cold brew coffee overall: KonaRed Cold Brew Coffee
- Best flavored cold brew coffee: High Brew Cold Brew Coffee
- Best cold brew concentrate: Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate
- Best cold brew coffee meal replacement: Soylent Cafe Coffiest
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best cold brew coffee overall
Why you’ll love it: KonaRed Cold Brew Coffee is mellow and mild, thanks to its low acidity, but it still has plenty of flavor.
Of all the cold brew coffees I’ve sipped in recent years, KonaRed has always been the brand by which I measure other options. The coffees are consistently mild and mellow, offering lots of flavor with no discernible acidity.
You can sip a KonaRed coffee slowly over time or you can chug a bottle or can. KonaRed also makes three-liter multi-serve boxes with pour spouts for people who want a big supply. The coffee gets all that flavor thanks to a 16-hour cold water steeping process, which enhances the taste and aroma with juice extracted from the coffee berry, which is the fruit that surrounds the bean.
Of the KonaRed coffee blends I’ve tried, the basic black coffee, fittingly called Original, has always been my favorite. but the bold Espresso flavor is also lovely, while the Maui Mocha variety is like a desert in a bottle. The Kauai Caramel blend is frankly too sweet for me, but you just might love it.
Plenty of dedicated coffee connoisseurs certainly love the stuff. A writer from BevNet called KonaRed coffee “smooth but bold.”
Pros: Mild acidity, high caffeine content, unique berry-like flavor notes
Cons: Rather expensive
The best cold brew coffee flavor varieties
- High Brew
Why you’ll love it: High Brew Cold Brew Coffee is delicious stuff no matter which of the six different flavors you choose.
In the mood for something sweet? High Brew has you covered. Want something bold and rich? No problem there, either. Or hey, want some standard black coffee but without the bitterness? Yeah, the company does that, too.
In fact, the best way to share all the various flavors of cold brewed coffee High Brew offers is probably just to list them. So here we go: Double Espresso, Black & Bold, Dark Chocolate Mocha, Creamy Cappuccino, Salted Caramel, and Mexican Vanilla. In case you were wondering, yes, I did list those from least sweet to sweetest. By the time you get to Mexican Vanilla, you’re basically drinking a coffee milkshake. Not that I’m complaining.
Over the past two years, I’ve gone through dozens of cans of this stuff and have enjoyed them all thoroughly. My only complaint, in fact, is that the company does not offer any coffees without added sugar, so if you ever want a truly basic black coffee, you need to look elsewhere.
With about 200 reviews currently posted on Amazon, High Brew Cold Brew Coffee has a solid 4.2-star average rating. A shopper called Candace says High Brew coffee is “very tasty and convenient” in its eight-ounce can, while a brand fan named Ben says he “love[s] the taste” and the “caffeine content.”
Pros: Great selection of flavors, good serving size, certified fair trade
Cons: No sugar-free options
The best cold brew coffee concentrate
- Chameleon Cold Brew
Why you’ll love it: One 32-ounce bottle of Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate yields eight servings of tasty, potent coffee.
There are two kinds of people who will love Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate above most other options. First, there are the people who love saving space, whether because they live in a smaller home or simply dislike clutter. Second are those who love huge doses of caffeine.
One 32-ounce bottle of this concentrated elixir can prepare eight servings of coffee, and when compared ounce-to-ounce with regular coffee, this stuff is three times more potent in terms of caffeine.
Preparing a basic serving of Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee is pretty easy: You blend four ounces of concentrate with four ounces of water. You can also replace the water with milk or with a dairy-free alternative to prepare delicious original drinks, too. As long as you keep to that 1:1 ratio, you’ll be preparing a beverage that has more caffeinating potential than a standard cup of coffee of the same size.
With a couple dozen reviews posted on Amazon, Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate has a fine 4.1-star average rating. One shopper says it has a “really good taste” that’s perfect for a “cold brew mocha.” Another reports loving the stuff but cautions that the caffeine concentration will “knock your socks off.”
Pros: Multiple servings per bottle, high caffeine concentration, 100% organic
Cons: Requires dilution prior to consumption
The best meal replacement cold brew coffee
Why you’ll love it: A 14-ounce bottle of Soylent Coffiest provides a dose of caffeine alongside a small meal’s worth of nutrients.
Every 14-ounce bottle of Soylent Coffiest Ready-To-Drink Meal provides you with 150 milligrams of caffeine, which is about what you’d expect from a decent cup of coffee. If that were all there was to the story, this wouldn’t be a very good story.
Good news: There’s more to talk about here. Because along with that decent dose of caffeine, a bottle of Coffiest also delivers 400 calories and an amazing balance of nutrients. Bear in mind that 2,000 calories is the average recommended daily intake when you consider that this stuff delivers 20% of your daily copper, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, B6, B12, and a whole lot more good stuff, too. It also has 20 grams of protein and 12% daily dietary fiber.
The long story short is that when you don’t have time to prepare a meal, and you’re in need of some extra energy along with your calories, Coffiest has you covered. And don’t worry about getting jittery if you already had a cup or two of coffee before, because this stuff also features l-theanine, naturally occurring amino acid that counteracts the adverse effects of caffeine.
Hundreds of people have left glowing five-star reviews of Soylent Coffiest, and as a regular consumer of this ready-to-go meal in a bottle, I agree with the raves. One reviewer speaks for many when he reports that it’s “nutrition filled… tastes good,” and keeps him going for hours.
The taste and thick texture are not for everyone, to be sure, but if you like the stuff well enough, it’s hard to beat the convenience of your coffee and meal sipped as one.
Pros: Delivers caffeine and nutrients, rich in vitamins, good price for meal replacement product
Cons: Taste is not universally liked
If you want to brew your own cold brew, check out our guide to the best cold brew coffee makers
A top-quality cold brew coffee maker produces a large quantity of full-bodied and flavorful concentrate, is easy to use, and can withstand years of regular use.
While researching the best cold brew coffee makers, we looked at hundreds of ratings and reviews of countless cold brewers from both experts and buyers. The ones included in our guide are durable, user-friendly, and, most importantly, produce cold brew concentrate that is smooth and full of flavor.
Here are the best cold brew coffee makers you can buy:
- Best overall: Filtron Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewer
- Best no-hassle system: Toddy Cold Brew System
- Best for your countertop: OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best under $20: Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
- Best for small kitchens: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Iced Coffee Pot
- Best for a fast cold brew: Cuisinart Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker