Coffee purveyors all over the country are betting that the next big thing is serving their product cold brewed, i.e. steeping it in cool, rather than boiling, water. Cold brews are generally lower in acidity and often less bitter than their traditional counterparts, resulting in a smooth taste that’s unbeatable for many aficionados. And it’s not to be confused with iced coffee, which is just your typical hot cup diluted with ice.
This summer, Starbucks introduced a bottled cold brew to compete against other major retail brands. So to help you determine how to get the best cold-brew fix on the run, we’ve decided to size them up against one another on a ratings scale of 1 to 10.
10 out of 10
Smooth and creamy with just a tiny bit of sweetness, this is the clear winner when it comes to cold brew on the go. It even comes in a milk carton so that you can relive your childhood days of waiting on line for milk in the cafeteria.
9 of 10
This has become one of my favorite cold-brew products over the past few months. They come in nice small servings (perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up) and offer calorie counts right on the front. Favorites include the 20-calorie Black and Bold and the never bitter but flavor-packed salted caramel.
8 of 10
With coffee shops now open in Manhattan, Stumptown is one of the original names in cold brew. Originally founded in Portland, OR (and with shops now open in Manhattan), Stumptown is one of the original names in cold brew, and has now expanded their offerings. For something unique, track down their coconut variety.
6 of 10
Austin, Texas does a lot of things right. They offer great music, fantastic weather, and awesome beer. While I’d love to add Cuvee’s canned nitro to that list, it comes up just a little short, offering a smooth finish but lacking punch of other brands.
6 of 10
This was new on my radar, and what makes it stand out is that it drinks more like a sweetened coffee drink than cold brew, with only a mild aftertaste. This is a decent alternative if you’re looking for something that isn’t too strong.
6 of 10
If you’re a black coffee kind of person, Chameleon is for you. It’s rich and dark, without any of that added sugar or dairy found in other cold brews.
5 of 10
Despite their reputation as coffee kings of the United States, I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Their cold brew was on the bitter side and falls short of the big, caffeinated hit you get from their store-brewed product.