What Coffee Does Starbucks Use for Their Cold Brew?

Marlin Dariel

If you’ve ever wondered what type of coffee Starbucks uses to make their deliciously smooth cold brew, you’re in for a treat. Starbucks, the renowned coffee chain, takes pride in using a special blend of coffee beans specifically crafted for their cold brew concoctions. This unique blend is carefully selected to bring out the optimum flavor profile and ensure a rich and refreshing cold coffee experience. So, let’s unravel the mysteries behind Starbucks’ choice of coffee for their popular cold brew and discover the magic that goes into each soothing sip.


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Starbucks’ cold brew coffee. In this article, we will delve into the world of cold brew and explore what coffee Starbucks uses for their delicious cold brew creations. Cold brew has gained immense popularity in recent years, thanks to its smooth and refreshing taste. We will also discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and ways to enhance your cold brew experience.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a unique brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, usually around 12-24 hours. This slow extraction process results in a milder, less acidic, and smoother coffee concentrate. The final cold brew is typically diluted with water or served over ice, providing a refreshing and enjoyable coffee experience.

Why Choose Cold Brew Coffee?

There are several reasons why coffee lovers opt for cold brew over traditional hot brewed coffee. The slower brewing process extracts different flavor compounds, resulting in a less bitter and more flavorful cup. Additionally, cold brew tends to have a higher caffeine content, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a morning pick-me-up. Its smooth and mellow taste also makes it a great base for various coffee-based beverages.

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The Coffee Blend for Starbucks’ Cold Brew

Starbucks uses a custom blend of coffee beans specifically crafted for their cold brew. The exact combination of coffee beans may vary between different locations and seasonal offerings. However, Starbucks typically selects beans known for their rich flavors and low acidity to create a balanced and delightful cold brew experience.

Cold Brew Blend Origins

The coffee beans used in Starbucks’ cold brew blend come from various regions worldwide, including Latin America, Africa, and Asia. These beans are carefully sourced and selected to ensure the best taste and quality for their cold brew coffee. By combining beans from different regions, Starbucks aims to create a unique flavor profile that appeals to a wide range of coffee enthusiasts.

Roasting Process

After selecting the finest coffee beans, Starbucks expertly roasts them to enhance their flavors and aromas. The roasting process plays a crucial role in determining the overall taste of the cold brew. Starbucks’ roasting expertise ensures that the beans are roasted to perfection, resulting in a smooth and well-rounded cup of cold brew coffee.

Blending and Grinding

Once the coffee beans are roasted, Starbucks combines different bean varieties to create their cold brew blend. The precise blend ratio is a well-guarded secret, known only to their skilled roasters. The coffee beans are then finely ground to ensure optimal extraction during the steeping process.

How to Make Starbucks-Inspired Cold Brew at Home

If you’re a fan of Starbucks’ cold brew and want to enjoy it from the comfort of your home, here’s a simple step-by-step guide to help you recreate their iconic cold brew:

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

To make Starbucks-inspired cold brew, you will need:

  • Coarsely ground coffee beans – choose a medium to dark roast
  • Cold, filtered water
  • A large glass jar or a cold brew coffee maker
  • A fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter

Step 2: Measure and Combine

Measure out 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans and add them to your chosen brewing vessel. Slowly pour 4 cups of cold, filtered water over the coffee grounds, making sure they are fully saturated. Stir gently to ensure even extraction.

Step 3: Steep Time

Cover the jar or coffee maker and let the coffee steep for 12-24 hours at room temperature. The longer the steeping time, the stronger and bolder the flavor will be. Experiment with different steeping durations to find your preferred taste.

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Step 4: Strain and Filter

After the steeping time is complete, carefully strain the cold brew concentrate using a fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter. This will remove the coffee grounds, leaving you with a smooth liquid concentrate.

Step 5: Dilute and Serve

To enjoy your cold brew, dilute the concentrate with equal parts water or your desired liquid. You can also add ice cubes for a refreshing chilled beverage. Customize with your favorite sweeteners, creamers, or flavors to suit your taste preferences.

Advantages of Starbucks’ Cold Brew

There are numerous advantages to opting for Starbucks’ cold brew. Let’s explore some of the key benefits:

1. Smooth and Mellow Flavor

Starbucks’ cold brew delivers a smooth and mellow flavor that is less acidic compared to traditional hot brewed coffee. This makes it a perfect choice for coffee lovers who prefer a less bitter taste.

2. Increased Caffeine Content

Cold brew coffee tends to have a higher caffeine content compared to hot brewed coffee. This makes it an ideal option for those seeking an energy boost in the morning or throughout the day.

3. Versatility in Beverage Options

Starbucks’ cold brew serves as an excellent base for various coffee-based beverages. You can add milk, syrups, or other flavorings to create your personalized iced coffees, lattes, or frappuccinos. The smoothness of cold brew allows the added flavors to shine through, creating a delightful drink.

4. Refreshing and Enjoyable

Cold brew, especially when served over ice, provides a refreshing and enjoyable experience, especially during the hot summer months. It offers a unique way to savor your favorite coffee flavors without the need for heat.

Differences Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

Cold brew and iced coffee may seem similar, but there are fundamental differences between the two brewing methods. Let’s compare cold brew and iced coffee to better understand their distinctions:

Cold Brew Iced Coffee
Steeped in cold water for 12-24 hours Hot brewed coffee cooled down and poured over ice
Less acidic and smoother taste Retains higher acidity and may be slightly bitter
Typically more concentrated and requires dilution Regular strength coffee served over ice
Higher caffeine content Standard caffeine content

Cold Brew Coffee Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips to enhance your cold brew coffee experience:

1. Experiment with Bean Varieties

Try different coffee beans or blends to discover your favorite flavor combination. Lighter roasts may result in brighter and fruitier notes, while darker roasts can offer a bolder and richer taste.

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2. Optimal Grind Size

Use a coarser grind size when brewing cold brew. This will prevent over-extraction and reduce the chances of getting overly bitter flavors. Aim for a grind size similar to coarse sea salt.

3. Customized Dilution

Adjust the dilution of your cold brew concentrate according to your preference. Some may enjoy a bolder taste by using less water, while others might prefer a milder version by adding more water or ice.

4. Cold Brew Storage

Store your cold brew concentrate in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It can stay fresh for up to a week. This allows you to prepare larger batches in advance for convenience.


In conclusion, Starbucks’ cold brew coffee is a delightful and refreshing choice for coffee enthusiasts. The custom blend of coffee beans, carefully selected from various regions, creates a unique flavor profile that is less acidic and more flavorful. With the provided tips and brewing instructions, you can now enjoy a Starbucks-inspired cold brew experience in the comfort of your home. Whether you prefer a plain and simple cold brew or enjoy experimenting with various flavors, cold brew coffee is sure to satisfy your cravings for a smooth and invigorating coffee indulgence.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What type of coffee does Starbucks use for their cold brew?

Starbucks uses a specific blend of coffee called the Cold Brew Blend for their cold brew beverages. This blend consists of a variety of Latin American and African coffees, carefully selected and roasted to create a smooth and rich flavor profile that is perfect for cold brewing.

Q: Is the Cold Brew Blend available for purchase in Starbucks stores?

Yes, Starbucks offers their Cold Brew Blend for customers to purchase and brew at home. You can find it in various forms, including whole bean, ground coffee, or even pre-packaged cold brew concentrate. This allows coffee enthusiasts to enjoy the same high-quality coffee used by Starbucks in their cold brew beverages right in the comfort of their own homes.

Q: Can I customize the coffee used for my cold brew at Starbucks?

Certainly! At Starbucks, you have the flexibility to customize your cold brew by choosing from their available selection of coffees. Besides the Cold Brew Blend, you can opt for other coffee blends or single-origin options based on your taste preferences. However, keep in mind that certain offerings may vary depending on the Starbucks location you visit.

Q: How is the Cold Brew Blend different from regular Starbucks coffee?

The Cold Brew Blend is specifically crafted and roasted with cold brewing in mind. It is typically a darker roast, allowing for a smoother and less acidic flavor when brewed cold. Regular Starbucks coffee, on the other hand, is designed for hot brewing methods. The Cold Brew Blend is a result of careful consideration to create the perfect flavor profile when brewed using the cold brewing process.

Q: Can I use any type of coffee to make cold brew at home?

While you can experiment with different types of coffee to make cold brew at home, it is recommended to use a coffee that is specifically suited for cold brewing. The coarsely ground Cold Brew Blend or other coffee blends labeled for cold brew are generally the best options. These coffees are specifically selected and processed to achieve optimal flavor extraction when brewed using cold water over an extended period. Using regular coffee designed for hot brewing methods may not yield the desired taste and flavor profile for cold brew.

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Marlin Dariel

A seasoned coffee connoisseur, reviews coffee shops, recommends unique places to enjoy a great cup of coffee. "Every coffee bean has an interesting story"


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