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5 to Try: Coffees for Cold Brew

As director of coffee at Trade, a customized coffee subscription service, Maciej Kasperowicz tastes hundreds of coffees from roasters across the country. With cold-brew coffee season underway, we tapped Kasperowicz to recommend some of the best beans for the job. “Stay away from coffees that are highlighted by their acidity,” he says. “They won’t necessarily taste bad, but it’s like watching a movie with a brilliant score on cheap laptop speakers—you’re just not optimizing that particular coffee. Instead, choose coffees with big bodies and tasting notes like chocolate and darker fruit that are easier to extract without hot water.”

Waxwing Blend, Red Rooster Coffee “A successful roaster based in tiny Floyd, Virginia, with a Specialty Coffee Association–certified training center and an on-site daycare is already a pretty big deal,” says Kasperowicz. “But folks probably wouldn’t be talking about Red Rooster if they didn’t also roast a wide variety of delicious coffees. Their medium- dark Waxwing blend is chocolatey, sweet, and slightly rustic. It tastes like the kind of coffee you want to take on a summer camping trip.” $13.49/12 oz., redroostercoffee.com

Stargazer, Gimme! Coffee “A big body and a flavor that’s clean and fruity (but not too acidic) is perfect for cold brew,” Kasperowicz says. “This blend from Ithaca’s Gimme! Coffee, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is one of my favorites. It has complex, dark-fruit flavor that comes through beautifully when steeped overnight.” $15/12 oz., drinktrade.com

Phantom Limb, Huckleberry Roasters “Blends that include both washed and natural-process Ethiopian coffees have popped off in the last few years, and Phantom Limb, from Denver’s always- terrific Huckleberry, is one of the best,” says Kasperowicz. “This kind of blend is a great way to access floral notes and bright fruit flavors, which are usually pretty tough to pull off in a cold brew. Huck’s Shelby Williamson won the U.S. Roasters Championship in 2019, and that skill comes through loud and clear in their coffees.” $17/12 oz., huckleberryroasters.com

Eye of the Tiger Espresso, Equator Coffees “Espresso and cold brew could not be any less similar brewing methods, but they both present challenges (a short brew time and a lack of heat, respectively),” says Kasperowicz. “So it’s a decent bet that any well-roasted espresso blend will also work well as cold brew. Equator’s seasonal espresso, always syrupy and sweet regardless of the specific seasonal components, is one of my favorites.” $17.50/12 oz., equatorcoffees.com

Marco’s Organic Blend, DOMA Coffee Roasting Company “I’ve been really impressed with this Idaho roaster’s ability to roast very tasty coffee all up and down the light-to-dark and familiar-to-surprising spectrums,” Kasperowicz says. “If you prefer some roasty flavors in your coffee, their Marco’s Blend has that covered. And for a certified-organic coffee (which, with the complexities of the coffee supply chain, can be difficult to achieve), this is a great choice.” $17/12 oz., domacoffee.com

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