What coffee does Starbucks use for cold brew?

Marlin Dariel

If you’re a self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast or simply someone who needs a daily caffeine fix, chances are you’ve heard of cold brew coffee. But have you ever wondered about the type of coffee beans that go into making Starbucks’ famous cold brew? Well, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Starbucks’ cold brew coffee, exploring the specific kind of beans they use, and why they’re the perfect choice for crafting that smooth and refreshing cup of cold brew goodness. So, grab a seat, and let’s embark on this coffee adventure together!


What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a popular beverage that has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. It is a unique brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended period of time, usually at least 12 hours. This slow extraction process results in a smooth, less acidic, and more flavorful coffee concentrate.

What Kind of Coffee Does Starbucks Use for Cold Brew?

Overview of Starbucks Cold Brew

Starbucks, being a widely recognized coffee chain, offers its own signature cold brew coffee. The coffee beans used for this specific brewing method are specially selected to ensure the best flavor profile for cold brew. Starbucks Cold Brew is known for its rich and smooth taste with subtle notes of chocolate and nut. The company takes pride in using only high-quality, 100% Arabica coffee beans for their cold brew.

The Blend: How Starbucks Creates the Perfect Cold Brew

Starbucks uses a proprietary blend of coffee beans for their cold brew. This blend is specifically crafted to complement the cold brewing process and bring out the desired flavors and characteristics. While the exact blend and ratio of beans used are a closely guarded secret, Starbucks ensures that their cold brew blend delivers a consistent taste experience across their stores.

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The Roast: A Darker Approach

Starbucks uses a medium-to-dark roast for their cold brew coffee. This darker roast enhances the flavor profile and creates a bolder taste. The coffee beans are roasted to perfection to bring out the rich and complex flavors that are well-suited for cold brewing. The dark roast also contributes to the low acidity of the final cold brew product.

Sourcing and Sustainability

Starbucks takes pride in responsible sourcing and sustainability practices. The coffee beans used for their cold brew are ethically sourced from regions around the world, supporting the farmers and their communities. Starbucks is committed to ensuring the highest quality, flavor, and integrity of their coffee while also caring for the environment.

Why Choose Starbucks Cold Brew?

Smooth and Bold Flavor

One of the main reasons to choose Starbucks cold brew is the unique flavor it offers. The slow extraction process of cold brewing results in a smoother and less acidic coffee compared to traditional brewing methods. Starbucks’ selection of beans and their specific roast profile adds a bold and rich taste that many coffee enthusiasts appreciate.

Convenience and Availability

Another advantage of opting for Starbucks cold brew is the convenience and wide availability. Starbucks has a vast network of stores around the world, making it easy to find their cold brew wherever you are. It saves you the time and effort of preparing cold brew at home and ensures consistency in taste and quality.

Ready-to-Enjoy Bottled Options

In addition to their freshly brewed cold brew available in stores, Starbucks also offers bottled cold brew options. These ready-to-enjoy bottles make it even more convenient to enjoy their cold brew on the go. Simply grab a bottle from the store or your local grocery, and you have a refreshing and flavorful cold brew coffee within reach.

How to Make Starbucks Cold Brew at Home

Step-by-Step Guide

If you prefer to enjoy Starbucks cold brew in the comfort of your own home, you can easily make it yourself. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Start by acquiring Starbucks Cold Brew coffee packets or ground coffee of your choice.
  2. In a large container, combine the coffee grounds and cold water using the recommended ratio (usually 1 packet per 4 cups of water).
  3. Stir gently to ensure all the coffee grounds are fully saturated.
  4. Cover the container and let the mixture steep in the refrigerator for at least 12 to 24 hours.
  5. Once the steeping time is complete, strain the mixture using a fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter.
  6. Your homemade Starbucks cold brew is now ready to be enjoyed. Serve it over ice and add any desired sweeteners or milk according to your taste preferences.
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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Starbucks Cold Brew


– Smooth and less acidic flavor profile.

– Wide availability and convenience.

– Ready-to-enjoy bottled options for on-the-go consumption.

– High-quality beans and responsible sourcing.


– Comparatively higher cost compared to homemade cold brew.

– Limited customization options in terms of brewing parameters.

Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

Definition and Brewing Process

Cold brew and iced coffee are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different brewing methods:

– Cold Brew: The coffee grounds are steeped in cold or room temperature water for a long period of time, resulting in a smooth and less acidic coffee concentrate. It is then diluted with water or served over ice.

– Iced Coffee: Traditional hot brewed coffee that is cooled down and poured over ice or mixed with ice. It retains more of the natural acidity and flavors of hot brewing methods.

Flavor and Strength

– Cold Brew: Known for its smooth and bold flavor with lower acidity.

– Iced Coffee: Retains more acidity and flavors from the hot brewing process.

Caffeine Content

– Cold Brew: Usually has a higher caffeine content due to the longer steeping time.

– Iced Coffee: Can vary depending on the brewing method, but generally has slightly less caffeine compared to cold brew.

Tips for Making the Perfect Starbucks Cold Brew

Use Freshly Ground Coffee

For the best flavor, always opt for freshly ground coffee beans rather than pre-ground coffee. This ensures maximum freshness and aroma in your cold brew.

Experiment with Steeping Time

The recommended steeping time for Starbucks Cold Brew is 12 to 24 hours. However, feel free to adjust the time according to your personal preference. A longer steeping time can result in a stronger and more intense flavor.

Try Different Additions

While Starbucks cold brew is delicious on its own, you can also experiment with different additions to personalize your drink. Add a splash of milk, a drizzle of flavored syrup, or even a sprinkle of cinnamon for an extra kick of flavor.

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Store It Properly

Once you have made your cold brew, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This helps maintain its freshness and flavor for a longer period of time.

Comparison Cold Brew Iced Coffee
Definition A brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time. Traditional hot brewed coffee that is cooled down and poured over ice.
Flavor Smooth and less acidic. Retains more acidity and flavors from hot brewing methods.
Caffeine Content Usually higher due to the longer steeping time. Can vary, but generally slightly lower compared to cold brew.

In conclusion, Starbucks uses a specially crafted blend of coffee beans, a medium-to-dark roast, and a slow steeping process to create their signature cold brew. The result is a smooth and bold coffee with rich flavors and low acidity. Starbucks cold brew offers the convenience of readily available options and can also be enjoyed at home by following a simple brewing process. Whether you choose to grab a bottle from the store or make your own, Starbucks cold brew is a great choice for coffee enthusiasts looking for a refreshing and flavorful experience.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1: Why is cold brew becoming so popular?

Cold brew coffee has gained popularity for its smooth and less acidic flavor profile. The brewing process involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, usually between 12 to 24 hours. This slow extraction method results in a sweeter, less bitter coffee concentrate that can be diluted or served over ice. Cold brew’s rise in popularity is also attributed to its versatility as a base for various coffee beverages such as iced lattes, frappuccinos, and refreshing summer drinks.

Question 2: What kind of coffee does Starbucks use for their cold brew?

Starbucks uses a proprietary blend known as the “Cold Brew Blend” for their cold brew coffee. This blend comprises a mix of African and Latin American coffees specifically selected and roasted to enhance the flavor and aroma when brewed using the cold brew method. It is a medium-bodied blend with notes of cocoa and nuts, complementing the smoothness and richness of the cold brew extraction.

Question 3: Does the type of coffee used affect the taste of cold brew?

Yes, the type of coffee used significantly influences the taste of cold brew. Different coffee origins and roasting profiles can result in distinctive flavor characteristics. While some may prefer a more chocolatey and nutty tasting cold brew, others may enjoy fruity or floral notes. The selection and blending of coffee beans for cold brew are crucial to achieving a balanced and enjoyable flavor profile.

Question 4: Can I make cold brew at home using Starbucks coffee?

Absolutely! Starbucks offers pre-packaged cold brew coffee pitchers, which are convenient and simple to use at home. However, if you prefer to make your own cold brew from scratch, you can use any Starbucks whole bean coffee that suits your taste preferences. Grinding the coffee coarsely and following a cold brew recipe will allow you to create your own delicious cold brew coffee at home using Starbucks coffee.

Question 5: Does Starbucks offer any flavored cold brew options?

Yes, Starbucks is known for its extensive menu of customizable beverages, and cold brew is no exception. Along with the classic cold brew, Starbucks offers flavored variations such as the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew, and the Nitro Cold Brew with Sweet Cream. These variations add additional layers of sweetness and creaminess to the cold brew experience, catering to different taste preferences.

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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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