When it's hot out, most people instinctively reach for a cold beverage to keep cool. For most coffee lovers, that beverage would be iced coffee.
With prices going up across the board, it's getting harder to justify the trip to the local coffee house. So you might hear a fellow coffee lover argue that it's cheaper to make an iced latte or espresso at home. This begs the question: What are the best coffee grounds for iced coffee?
If you're currently grappling with the above question, grapple no more! This guide reveals five options for great-tasting iced coffee any time of the year.
The 5 Best Coffee Grounds to Make Iced Coffee
- Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
- Olde Brooklyn Coffee French Roast Whole Bean
- Coffee Bros Cold Brew Blend Whole Bean
- Stone Street Coffee Cold Brew Reserve
- San Francisco Bay Coffee French Roast
Best for Iced Coffee With a Rich Earthy Flavor
Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason Blend ranks high among the best coffee for iced coffee. Its beans originate from the Americas and Indo-Pacific countries and are washed or wet-hulled before making it to the states (and ultimately your kitchen counter). The benefit these processing methods provide is coffee beans with high acidity (washed) or herbal (wet-hulled) flavors.
This coffee's hand-roasted and sealed to lock in the freshness. You’ll receive your delivery straight from Peet’s Coffee’s roastery. And you can make your iced coffee using two brewing methods: French press or pour-over.
The flavor profile of this coffee is earthy, with some spiciness mixed in. While it gives the coffee an interesting taste, some people may find it too earthy for their palette. Still, the Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason Blend has an undeniably delicious taste.
- The beans are processed using washed or wet-hulled methods
- Hand-roasted and sealed for maximum freshness
- Delivered straight from the roastery to your doorstep
- You can brew it using two brewing methods
- Some people may not be fans of its earthy-taste
Best for Iced Coffee With a Strong, Full-Bodied Coffee Taste
The Olde Brooklyn Coffee is one of the best coffee brands for iced coffee. The company handpicks its Arabica coffee beans, which it sources from South and Central America. And it offers blends like Italian Dark Roast, Brazilian Santos, and French Roast. Its whole-bean French roast coffee is dark-roasted to perfection, providing a full-bodied taste and sweet, smoky aroma.
In addition, the Olde Brooklyn Coffee French Roast Whole Bean coffee beans are packaged using state-of-the-art techniques. And Olde Brooklyn Coffee slow roasts them close to their distribution centers within the country. Therefore, every order can arrive fresh with all the flavor and taste locked in.
If there were one drawback to this coffee, it would ironically be its flavor. Even though it’s full-bodied, coffee lovers with a more diverse taste palette may find it a little weak. However, it’ll only be a huge deal-breaker for hardcore coffee aficionados. Everyone else will enjoy Olde Brooklyn Coffee’s French roast whole-bean coffee in their iced coffee.
- Dark-roasted to perfection with a sweet aroma and full taste
- Packaged using state-of-the-art techniques
- Slow-roasted in the country to ensure freshness on arrival
- Arabica coffee beans
- Some may find the flavor a little weak
Best Chocolatey Iced Coffee With Hints of Berries
Coffee Bros Cold Brew Coffee Blend is a delicious choice for people who want to sip the best coffee for iced coffee at home. The company sources its beans from Brazil and Ethiopia and uses 100% Arabica coffee. These beans have a wonderful aroma and are two times more flavorful than other coffee types.
This medium-roasted whole-bean coffee has a chocolatey taste with hints of mixed berries and brown sugar. And since Coffee Bros. roasts the beans when you place an order, you get it fresh with all the flavor locked in. Try it if you want one of the strongest iced coffee drinks you can get.
One issue we found with these beans is some batches were too lightly roasted. This issue meant we weren’t getting the full flavor profile. However, subsequent batches didn’t have this issue, so we pegged it down to a lapse in quality control.
- Delicious and unique-tasting cold brew coffee
- Sourced from exotic coffee destinations like Brazil and Ethiopia
- The beans are roasted on demand for freshness
- 100% organic
- The beans may be too lightly roasted for some
Best for Iced Coffee With a Hint of Chocolate
Stone Street Cold Brew Coffee Dark Roast Blend is for people who like their iced coffee with a bold flavor. The beans are sourced from Indonesia and South America, and the company only uses fair-trade beans.
This dark-roasted coffee has a thick, chocolatey flavor. Still, it doesn’t have the burnt smell you sometimes get with beans roasted in this way. Also, the Stone Street Coffee Company grinds their coffee using three styles: fine (for espresso), medium (for drip), or coarse (for French press). Therefore, it’s one of the best coffee to use for iced coffee like lattes and espressos.
With that said, it isn’t lost on us that some people may find this coffee too bitter (especially the coarse grind style). Still, considering this is dark-roasted coffee, we think that’s to be expected.
- Dark-roasted without the burnt smell
- Bold flavor with a hint of chocolate
- It contains fair-trade beans sourced from Indonesia and South America
- You can get your coffee ground in three styles
- The coffee might be too bitter for some
Best for Delicious Sustainable Iced Coffee
If you love your coffee dark-roasted with a full-bodied taste and smoky finish, the San Francisco Bay French Roast Whole-Bean Coffee may be right up your alley. These 100% Arabica beans are sustainably-farmed and sourced from South and Central America. Therefore, you’ll be drinking some of the most sustainable iced coffee on the planet.
SF Bay Coffee uses only high-quality beans. In addition, they have certified evaluators who taste their products. The result is every bag of SF Bay coffee is filled with beans roasted to perfection, meaning you can expect some of the best coffee grounds for iced coffee with every purchase.
The one area where we think these beans could potentially lose fans is their oiliness. Unfortunately, the batch we had oily beans, which gave the iced coffee a murky after-taste. However, we’re positive this problem is unique to the batch we tried.
- Sustainably-farmed beans sourced from South and Central America
- The beans are taste-tested by certified evaluators
- Only high-quality 100% Arabica beans are included in every bag
- Delicious dark-roasted beans
- Some may find the beans too oily for their tastes
How to Buy the Best Coffee for Iced Coffee
Iced coffee is an excellent way to beat the heat during the summer months and is an ideal beverage for coffee lovers craving a cold drink. When made using the best coffee beans for iced coffee, it can provide pleasure all year round (yes, even during winter).
Of course, you should avoid drinking iced coffee when pregnant, and its high caffeine won’t do you any favors if you have trouble sleeping. Still, if you don’t fall into the above categories of coffee lovers and you’re looking for the best roast for iced coffee, keep the following factors in mind:
- Dark or Light-Roasted
- Single-Sourced or Blend
- Processing Method
- Ethical Sourcing
- Whole-Bean or Ground
Dark or Light-Roasted
This purchase decision is highly subjective due to people having different tastes. If you like your iced coffee to have a hint of bitterness and a strong taste, choose dark-roasted coffee. However, if you prefer iced coffee with a richer, if slightly more acidic taste, light-roasted beans will be the better choice.
You can tell lightly-roasted coffee by its dark tan shade and lack of visible oils. Conversely, dark-roasted coffee grounds are much darker and oilier.
Single-Sourced or Blend
Single-sourced coffee beans come from a single source (i.e., a farm). All beans inside a bag of single-sourced coffee share the same flavor profile and characteristics, making for a homogenous taste. As such, they’re desirable because of their uniformity.
Alternatively, blends contain beans from multiple sources. However, bean blending doesn't entail mixing disparate bean types. Rather, it involves pairing complementary beans to create unique flavors. Therefore, let your taste determine the type of grounds you choose (single-source or blend).
Iced coffee tastes best when brewed with fresh coffee grounds. At their freshest, the beans' acids are balanced, their sugars sweet, and their natural oils give them an appetizing high-quality sheen. The opposite holds true when nature begins to take its course and the beans begin to decay.
Therefore, choose a brand that roasts the coffee beans on demand (preferably at a roastery in your area). Unlike beans roasted in their country of origin, these grounds will arrive at your door at their freshest and tastiest.
Some coffee sellers mention how their beans are processed in their original country. You should care about this information because it determines how flavorful your beans will be. Three of the most common processing methods are natural, washed, and wet-hulled.
The natural method involves drying the coffee cherries whole before milling. Washing coffee involves running the coffee cherry through a pulper and letting the seed ferment for a couple of hours before washing and milling. Finally, wet-hulled processing is similar to washing, except the process is done by hand.
All three processing methods produce beans with wildly different flavor profiles.
Unfortunately, coffee farmers worldwide are some of the poorest and uneducated members of their society. As such, they're prone to be exploited by multinational corporations. For example, their produce may fetch unsustainably low prices due to the farmers having little to no bargaining power.
Some coffee companies have initiatives in place that ensure the coffee farmers they partner with get a fair price for their products. Therefore, if you're morally inclined, you can do your part to help these farmers by purchasing ethically-sourced fair-trade coffee grounds.
Whole-Bean or Ground
Whole bean is the best coffee to make iced coffee when you own a coffee grinder because it gives you more control over the texture. As such, you can get a better taste than if you bought the coffee ground. With that said, you’d be better off going for pre-ground coffee beans if you don’t own a grinder.
Your chosen coffee’s grind size matters because it affects its flavor. Finely ground coarse coffee tends to have a more balanced flavor. Meanwhile, coffee grounds that are thick and coarse produce a more robust flavor.
Can You Make Iced Coffee With Regular Coffee?
Yes, you can make iced coffee using regular coffee. The easiest way to do it is to pour your brewed coffee on ice (let it cool first). For a stronger iced coffee with a bolder taste, try using two times more coffee grounds when brewing making it this way.
Alternatively, try brewing the coffee grounds with cold water and then pouring the brew on ice. This second method takes longer but results in a tastier iced coffee.
What Blend Does Starbucks Use for Iced Coffee?
Starbucks uses the Terraza blend for its iced coffee. These coffee grounds are derived from coffee imported from East Africa and Latin America. They’re medium-roasted and pre-ground.
So which of the above coffee grounds will you use for your iced coffee? Factors like whether the beans are light or dark-roasted, single-sourced or blended, and whole-bean or ground are likely to influence your decision.
In any case, ensure you order beans from a company that roasts them on demand so you get them at their freshest. That way, you’ll be drinking the best coffee for cold brew iced coffee.