Cold brew is a coffee drink preferred by people who like flavourful, cold caffeinated beverages. It is easy to make and does not require the use of any coffee-making equipment.
Most people turn to cold brew coffee recipes when they don’t have time to brew coffee using their coffee makers, especially during hot weather.
If you enjoy drinking cold brew, you know it’s packed with flavor and caffeine due to two things. These are the time and the coffee beans used to make it. When we refer to coffee beans, we mean the grind, variety, and type of roasted coffee beans used.
Cold brew is not only a popular beverage in homes; it is also one of the most ordered types of coffee in cafes. Starbucks cold brew is especially appreciated by coffee drinkers. Most wonder how it is brewed and whether they can duplicate the recipe at home.
Of particular interest is the coffee beans used by Starbucks to make their cold brew. Let’s answer that trending question.
What is Cold Brew?
The best place to start is by talking about cold brew. What is it, and how is it made?
Cold brew is a beverage prepared by soaking coffee beans in filtered water and storing them at room or lower temperatures for 24 – 48 hours. It is a naturally sweet, smooth coffee that’s low in acidity and usually characterized by chocolate flavors.
The ideal temperatures to make cold brew coffee are 35 to 70 degrees fahrenheit. Coarse coffee grounds are usually used to prepare it because they have a large surface area. That gives water ample space to work while extracting flavor and aroma from the beans. Some people also prefer to use whole coffee beans when making cold brew.
Cold brew is prepared using immersion by simply soaking coffee grounds or beans in filtered water for up to 48 hours. That gives the grounds or coffee beans enough time to release their flavor resulting in a highly caffeinated, refreshing coffee drink.
There are also coffee-making machines you can use to prepare cold brews called immersion brewers. Starbucks uses a Toddy Cold brew system to make its cold brew coffees.
The Coffee Beans Used to Prepare Starbucks Cold Brew
Starbucks imports and roasts the coffee beans it uses to make cold brew. The coffee shop uses 100% medium roast, Arabica coffee beans from Latin America and Africa for its cold brew beverages.
Although some coffee experts think Starbucks uses a blend of its Veranda coffee beans, Siren’s, and Pike Place blends to make cold brew, that’s not the case. The exact combination it uses is made up of 30% East African coffee beans from Kenya/Ethiopia and 70% Narino Colombia Supremo beans from Latin America.
The African beans are used to prepare Starbucks Cold Brew to give their beverages a pleasant citrus flavor, while the Latin American coffee beans sweeten it with chocolate flavors. These coffee beans are steeped in cold water for up to 48 hours to make the well-loved cold brew coffee popular in most Starbucks coffee shops.
Why Arabica coffee beans? Arabica coffee beans are of better quality than robusta beans. They contain more coffee oils and sugars, making them an ideal ingredient for cold brew coffee. Robusta beans are more suited to making Espressos.
Why Does Starbucks Prefer to Make its Own Cold Brew Blend?
According to coffee experts, Starbucks and other coffee shops prefer blends because they give coffee a unique flavor. They aim to produce consistently flavored coffee by using their own mix as opposed to importing ready-made blends.
A lot of research goes into making Starbucks coffees. It involves tasting single-origin coffee beans and blends from various countries to create a distinct flavor that makes beverages from the coffee house so popular. Baristas have to mix coffee beans in different ratios until they create the perfect brew.
That’s where they get their 70:30 cold brew coffee ratio which stands for 70 percent Latin American beans and 30 percent African beans.
Why not stick to single-origin coffees instead of blends? Although single-origin coffees sound like an exciting option for coffee making, they are unpredictable. You could have a quality crop of beans this year and a poor one the next.
Most of them also contain lots of acids and floral flavors that cannot compare to the low acid, smooth, chocolate flavors preferred by cold brew drinkers. That’s why Starbucks uses a blend of Latin American and African beans to brew their mellow flavored cold brew coffee.
Types of Coffee Beans You Can Use to Make Cold Brew at Home
If you want to prepare a Cold Brew similar to the one from Starbucks, try a blend of medium – dark roast coffee beans from Ethiopia/Kenya and Colombian beans.
Some of the coffee beans you may try as part of creating your own blend of cold brew coffee beans are Grand Paradé Colombia Narino Supremo beans and a single-origin coffee from Kenya. You may also blend Ethiopia Yirgacheffe with Grand Paradé Colombia Narino Supremo coffee beans.
Some coffee drinkers also think Starbucks Ethiopia coffee and Stone Street’s Cold Brew Reserve Colombian Supremo make great cold brew. The mix of Stone Street’s dark roast Colombian Supremo and Starbucks Ethiopia coffee will create a citrusy beverage characterized by dark cocoa flavors similar to Starbucks cold brew coffee.
Coffee Bro’s cold brew blend made of medium roast coffee beans characterized by crisp berry, chocolate, and brown sugar notes can also be used to prepare Starbuck cold brew. These beans create a brew with a smooth mouthfeel and sweet finish.
How to Make Starbucks Cold Brew at home
Now that you have an idea of a few coffee beans you can use to make cold brew, why don’t you make it at home? You can use Starbucks cold brew kit to prepare cold brew coffee. It produces coffee with balanced acidity and aromatic oils.
A simpler option is to make cold brew using simple kitchen equipment by using the following instructions.
8 – ounces of 100% Arabica coffee beans
8 cups of filtered water
A coffee grinder
2 mason jars
A mesh strainer
- Grind the coffee beans coarsely to the size of demerara sugar using a burr grinder.
- Scoop the ground coffee into water in a jar and stir.
- Pour the coffee and water mix into mason jars, cover them with cheese cloths, and secure them with rubber bands.
- Store the mason jars with your cold brew mixture in the fridge for 18 – 24 hours. It should create a flavourful cold brew concentrate.
- Once the brewing period is over, strain the cold brew concentrate into clean mason jars with a tight lid.
- You may store cold brew concentrate in the fridge for up to 14 days.
A cold brew is an excellent beverage to drink on a hot day with some ice, flavored syrup, or sweet cream. You may also use it as a concentrate that acts as the base for other cold coffee drinks such as iced coffee.
Now that you know the coffee beans used to make Starbucks cold brew coffee, you may decide to use them. You could also make your own blend of cold brew coffee beans using the suggestions in this article.
It may also be interesting to experiment with other ways of preparing cold brew, such as using whole coffee beans. Once you find a perfect cold brew recipe that appeals to your palate, you’ll never have to buy cold brew coffee from Starbucks again.