(Photo by Alberto Bogo on Unsplash)

(Photo by Alberto Bogo on Unsplash)

In the last few years, cold brew coffee has gone from being an underground option only available at the chicest of cafes to a beverage so common that you can buy it by the gallon at your local grocery store. The reason for this explosion in its popularity is easy to see; between the smooth richness, the less acidic flavor, and the refreshing kick of caffeine, the best store-bought cold brews are delicious and energizing options that are just waiting to become a staple of your morning routine.

It seems as though the already near-universal popularity of coffee grew even more during the COVID-19 pandemic, with half of Americans describing themselves as having become expert coffee makers over the course of lockdown. A 2020 poll of 2,000 coffee-drinking Americans finds 49 percent became a “quarista,” an at-home barista during the pandemic. The survey commissioned by Mr. Coffee reports two-thirds (66%) of these at-home coffee experts intended to continue brewing their own java once COVID restrictions came to an end.

In addition to providing a nice boost of energy to start your day, research also suggests there might be something more in your daily iced coffee. One study found that two to three cups of coffee a day could add years to your life by aiding in heart health. The authors of the study concluded that both for individuals with heart disease and those without it, a moderate amount of coffee consumption aided in reducing mortality due to cardiac complications. In addition to the noted benefits in heart health, another study also found that regular coffee consumption significantly reduces the risk of stroke. In other words, drink up!

Brewing at home is an option for some, but thankfully, more convenient options are available for the less brave of heart. We’ve seen a myriad of new brews enter the market to meet the rising demand for everyone’s new favorite way to get their caffeine fix. From small-town breweries to big name coffee companies, it seems like just about everyone has their own spin on the perfect at-home cold brew. Whether you prefer light-roast or dark roast, canned lattes or glass bottled concentrate, pre-flavored or unsweetened, there’s an option out there for every coffee lover. Staring down the wall of flavors on your next grocery run can be a bit intimidating, so to save you the hassle, StudyFinds sought out reviews from ten expert websites to compile this list of the best store-bought cold brews. These are the most frequently recommended brews, but as always, if you have a favorite that we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments below!

clear drinking glass with brown liquid
Cold brew coffee (Photo by K8 on Unsplash)

The List: Best Store-Bought Cold Brew, According to Caffeine Lovers

 

1. Califia Farms Cold Brew

Sometimes, the simple things really are the best. Califia Farms makes their cold brew with only two ingredients: 100% Arabica beans and water. That authenticity scores it major points among even the most diehard cold brew lovers. “This pure black cold brew option from Califia Farms is the ultimate choice for straight coffee drinkers,” says Food Network. “It can even be heated up on the stove or in the microwave, if you prefer to drink your cold brew hot.”

brown bottle of coffee
Califia Farms Cold Brew (Photo via Amazon)

“Califia Farms creates its cold brew through a slow, patient process that uses cold instead of hot water to create a smoother brew,” says Mashed. “[The company] offers an array of products featuring cold brews brewed in such a manner, like its Pure Black Mushroom Cold Brew Coffee, Vanilla Latte Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk, and Mocha Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk, to name a few. With so many flavors, we still stick by the unsweetened Cold Brew Concentrate as we feel it is the best base to add flavorings to.”

In addition to being delicious and affordable, this coffee’s just as easy on the environment as it is on the taste buds. “It has BPA free packaging, no carrageenan, and is non-GMO,” notes What the Froth. If you want a cold brew that doesn’t cut any corners, look no further than Califia Farms.

2. SToK Cold Brew

If there’s one label you’ve seen for at-home cold brew, it’s bound to be this one. The experts at SToK have mastered the art of cold brew, with their myriad of flavors and varying levels of boldness giving them a truly universal appeal. “A terrific brand for cold brew beginners, as well as those who want to avoid tossing too many coins down the cold brew well. Easy to find in grocery stores, convenience stores, and dorm rooms, this coffee is as delightful to the wallet as it is to the taste buds,” says The Spruce Eats. “The company’s two most popular varieties are Un-Sweet and Not Too Sweet, but there are other flavors to choose from, including options like Vanilla, Mocha, and Pumpkin.”

SToK Cold Brew
SToK Cold Brew

With an unusually high amount of coffee beans and their signature “low and slow” brewing method, it’s easy to see how SToK took the market by storm. “Stok drinkers are dedicated and diehard,” claims SheKnows. “Stok’s cold brew family includes 11 different offerings, including unsweetened, semi-sweet, chocolate and vanilla; and they’re all bold and flavorful.” The brand is regularly praised for its consistency, affordability, and perfect balance of boldness and flavor. 

While SToK is known for being both delicious and easy to find, there’s much more to their cold brew than just that. Their unique blend of highly-concentrated grounds makes it much more caffeinated than your average brew. With 125 mg of caffeine per cup, it’s easy to fuel your mornings or get that afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of this Colorado-based brew. Testers at Sporked concur, with one reviewer noting, “even with the low-key taste, you get the feeling it packs a punch (seriously, my hands were shaky by the time we wrapped up this taste test).”

3. Stumptown Cold Brew

If this list were ranking each brew by style, Stumptown Coffee would have easily won first place. The iconic brown-glass bottle hints at the contents inside: something cool, bold, and powerful. “The brand’s nitro cold brew remains one of the best around,” raves The Spruce Eats. Whether it’s their classic cold brew or the triple-caffeine Nitro Brew, Stumptown doesn’t disappoint. 

Stumptown Cold Brew Concentrate
Stumptown Cold Brew Concentrate

“If you like expensive, third wave coffee, this is the stuff. It’s bottled and you can buy it at the grocery store, but it’s every bit as good as a $6 cold brew from your local coffee shop,” claims a Sporked reviewer. “If you poured me a cup of this Stumptown and told me it was brewed the day before, I’d totally believe you. Maybe it’s the glass bottle (which is cool and makes you feel like you’re drinking a beer). Maybe it’s the high-quality beans. Either way, we really loved the way this one managed to preserve its fresh flavor and intensity.”

If you’re not sold yet, they’ve even got an option sweetened with Oatly oat milk for a 100% vegan, low-calorie, high-caffeine brew. “Stumptown’s Original Cold Brew with Oatly takes the original goodness of cold brew mixed with the delicious dairy-free Oatly beverage,” writes Mashed. “To make this particular collaborative drink, two companies partnered under their shared commitment to sustainable business practices.”

4. Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

This 100% organic cold brew concentrate is a great option for anyone willing to put in an extra step or two of work for a great-tasting product. This coffee was described as “very bright” by America’s Test Kitchen, noting that it “will wake you right up.” With a much lower level of acidity than most other coffees on the market, this Minneapolis-based brand has made a name for themselves among even the most diehard cold brew enjoyers.  

Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate (bizzycoffee.com)

“Because of this paler roast, Bizzy’s Breakfast Blend is a bit more acidic, which is what many people rely upon for extra pep. Though don’t be too concerned about this one being overly bright; you’ll find this cold brew coffee finishes very smoothly,” says Taste of Home. “After a few sips, you can really start to feel the caffeine working through your veins.”

As an added bonus, Bizzy Cold Brew goes the extra mile to make quality coffee that does the least harm and the most good. Even for the most conscientious consumer, Bizzy is sure to impress. “Their cold brew is ethically sourced, 100% organic, micro-sifted and sustainably produced,” lists What the Froth. “They only use 100% organic coffee beans and water purified by reverse osmosis. Beans are cold brewed for a whopping 18 hours, too.”

5. La Colombe Cold Brew

You may recognize this name from the bustling cafe you’ve walked past in the city. But you don’t have to be in a major metropolitan area to enjoy a strong cup of La Colombe cold brew. In fact, the bottled stuff packs a major punch to wake you up after that early morning alarm. “The coffee itself is super robust thanks to the three shots of espresso housed within it. If you rely on coffee to get your morning off on the right foot, this is the cold brew choice for you,” writes Food Network.

La Colombe Cold Brew
La Colombe Cold Brew

“If you’re a serious cold brew devotee (but don’t want to make it yourself), a standard 40-ounce bottle isn’t going to cut it. That’s when you need to grab a box of coffee to satisfy your caffeine cravings,” says Taste of Home. “Lucky for you, La Colombe Dark/Medium Roast Cold Brew is an excellent option for when you need a whole lot of coffee ASAP—like for that Sunday brunch you’re hosting.”

While they make their delicious coffee in all the usual flavors you’d expect of a coffee company, their offerings extend far beyond just that. “Some flavors are classics, like caramel and vanilla, while others, like Honeysuckle and Peppermint Mocha, are more adventurous,” lists Yahoo.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.

About Anna Landry

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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2 Comments

  1. M Miller says:

    Shocking! People have found a way to make inexpensive coffee…. very expensive. To those choosing to purchase: I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

  2. Lucas says:

    It seems like you did very little research for this article.

    You highlighted the caffeine in SToK coffee, but they average about 130mg per 12oz servings, which is on the low end for cold brew. On the other hand, the lowest Colombe flavor is like 250mg. By comparison, I recently bought cold brew with ADDED caffeine, and they boasted 200mg. That’s a huge feature to overlook, especially when you mentioned it for a coffee with half the caffeine.

    But worst is this: you said that a good thing about the first cold brew is that it’s made using cold water instead of hot.

    THATS WHAT COLD BREW IS

    Are there companies out there selling “cold brew” that’s not brewed cold? Any of the coffees on this list?

    If any of these coffees make their cold brew with hot water, you REALLY should have let us know. But if they all use cold brewing, why mention it as a feature of just one brand?