Coffee is definitely my beverage of choice. I wake up thinking about coffee. I think about coffee all day. I am highly susceptible to any type of coffee marketing. I drink a lot of coffee. I love coffee.
Once, while living a bucket list dream to travel Europe with a friend, I spotted just a green sliver on a building from blocks away and I took off running. It was like a scene in a movie. Crazy American lady runs down a street in France, hopping over children, dodging the elderly, and narrowly escaping a collision with a vespa, while her bewildered friend follows behind screaming, “WHERE ARE YOU GOING!”
And then I paid $8 dollars for a frappuccino.
But, a strong coffee addiction isn’t cheap. Those little cups of joy add up quick – particularly when you’re a coffee snob and won’t drink it black.
That’s why – out of sheer necessity – it was time to perfect my coffee-from-home game. And, it needed to be good if it was going to survive – because that little green siren calls to me.
I won’t get into details, but suffice to say, many brands failed the first few rounds of taste tests.No, I’m not going to tell you which ones. I’m not here to hurt any feelings – plus, maybe one of them works for you. And that is what this is all about – DRINKING MORE COFFEE.
But, I will tell you some reasons why some were quickly eliminated:
1. Coffee bags leaking or breaking (i.e., poor quality, too thin…)
2. Weak coffee
3. Too bitter or acidic tasting coffee
2. The Final Three:
2. Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew
3. Don Francisco’s Cold BrewWe exclusively tested the pitcher packs because they are very easy to use. You simply drop them in to a pitcher of water and steep for 24 hours. Then, you remove the bag, add more water, add simple syrup if desired, and you are ready to go with 6-8 servings of cold brew coffee.
In the past, we have tried coarser ground coffee in the type of pitcher designed to make cold brew with coffee grounds. This never worked out for us, because coffee grounds inevitably ended up in the coffee. I understand that we could then pour the coffee through a strainer that would remove any grounds – but I am going for the path of least resistance here, people.
If ain’t easy – I’m not doing it!
3. The Judging Criteria:
I did some research for this section, because I’m nothing if not thorough. I found this incredibly well-informed coffee guide to help establish a baseline for our judging. “How to Judge a Coffee Quality Like a Pro” says professional coffee testers evaluate coffee based on 6 qualities: flavor, body, aroma, acidity, sweetness, and aftertaste/finish.
But who’s really got time for that?!
So, we simplified the list to 5 core parameters. Here’s our very official scorecard:
4. Test Results:
I know, you’re impressed with our research. I had a feeling you would say that.Let’s narrow this down so you can get your coffee on.
Honestly, all three of these easy cold brew pitcher packs are strong contenders. You could buy any of them and you would be pretty happy.
But, there was a unanimous decision among the judges that one cold brew was just slightly better in all categories.
And even though I don’t care for coffee black – the winner was smooth enough where I just might consider it.
Without further ado – the winning cold brew coffee is ….
BUT…. wait, wait, wait…if you DON’T drink black coffee – and you DO like some sweetener and cream, you may actually prefer this stronger, more full-bodied cold brew that can handle that sort of thing without getting too watered down:
And, wait for it, this is the CHEAPEST option, too!Starbucks is the most expensive, with the box only containing enough for one full pitcher and pricing in at around: $15 bucks.
The Don Francisco’s is usually around 8 or 9, but we got ours on sale with a Safeway Club Card for only $4.99!
If each pitcher makes 6 cups of coffee, that’s 12 in the box – bringing your per coffee cup price to about FIFTY CENTS, PEOPLE.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL. RUN TO YOUR NEAREST SAFEWAY AND BUY ALL THE DON FRANCISCO’S COLD BREW.
5. The Process:
Making cold brew at home with … couldn’t be easier. You just need a pitcher that can fit 48 ounces. If you want to get official, you can buy a cold brew pitcher on Amazon.In my picture, I use one actual cold brew pitcher (the first one below), one pitcher from Crate & Barrel, and a third pitcher from the Magnolia collection at Target.
Here are a few highly rated options to get you started if you wanta get all official:
For how to make your particular cold brew, just follow the directions on the box for whichever brand you are using.If you like your coffee sweeter, use a simple syrup, since any granulated sweetener is going to just fall to the bottom.
Here’s a super easy simple syrup recipe you can use. I’ve even tried adding cinnamon sticks to make a cinnamon simple syrup and that was delicious, too.
4. CustomizableWhat do you have to lose – other than a triple digit monthly coffee bill?Exactly.
Sip up, friends, and stay tuned for an upcoming post – our Peet’s Cold Brew Fog Latte Copycat – using our favorite cold brew coffee as a base!
Have a fabulous day,