The Best Cold Brew Concentrate to Wake Up To

The best cold brew concentrate gives you options—and we love that. Do you like your coffee so strong it gives you the shakes? Go for it! Like it nice and mild? Add some extra water or creamer, and you’re golden.

For this taste test, I prepared all of the cold brew concentrates precisely as their bottles instructed. I’m a hot coffee kind of guy, but coffee you don’t have to actually brew kind of rules. This stuff is a time saver and a money saver—really, even if you buy one of the pricier picks on this list, you’re still saving if you’re not hitting up the coffee shop every day. You’ll be a homeowner in no time (jk, jk). 

Here’s what we were looking for from the best cold brew coffee concentrate: bold coffee flavor, mild acidity (cold brew should not taste acrid), and overall drinkability—bonus points if the cold brew we made tasted like cold brew from a coffee shop. And, no, neither Starbucks cold brew concentrate nor Dunkin cold brew concentrate made the list! Here’s the best cold brew concentrate we found in our taste test.

best vanilla cold brew concentrate

Best Budget

Great Value French Vanilla Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

This is not the best cold brew concentrate you’re ever gonna taste, but it has a lot of good qualities for being very, very affordable (around $4.50 a bottle, so just over 50 cents a serving). It’s nice and toasty and has a wonderful, almost creamy vanilla flavor—it has vanilla frosting vibes, but not in a cloying way. If you don’t like vanilla coffee, you won’t like this, but we thought this was much better than the non-flavored Great Value option we tried. Even if you’re dubious, give it a shot! 




trader joe's cold brew coffee concentrate review

Best No-Nonsense

Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Trader Joe’s coffee has a distinct flavor. I can’t quite describe it, but when I taste tested a bunch of varieties of Trader Joe’s ground coffee, a lot of it had a deeply roasty-toasty flavor profile that reminds me of overheated diner coffee in a good way. Anyway, if you typically buy your coffee at Trader Joe’s, this is the best cold brew concentrate for you. We found TJ’s French roast concentrate to be a little too strong, but the classic cold brew strikes a nice balance between being roasty and flavorful but not aggressive or bitter. You could actually drink this black and be happy with it. Like a lot of Trader Joe’s coffee, this is good, no-nonsense stuff.




jot cold brew concentrate review

Best Vanilla

Jot Ultra Coffee Vanilla

This is by far the best vanilla cold brew concentrate we tried. It’s a bit astringent when it first hits your tongue, but it settles into a pleasant, desserty flavor that keeps you sipping. The flavor is powerful and tangy—I know that sounds weird, but it works! This would be particularly good with a sweet cream creamer (like #1 on our list of the best coffee creamer). That’s gonna be a barista-level bev. Note: Jot is DTC, so you won’t find it at your local grocery store, but it’s worth seeking out online.




chameleon cold brew concentrate review

Best for Black Coffee

Chameleon Organic Hand Crafted Cold Brew Super Concentrate Black Coffee

This is the best cold brew concentrate for black coffee drinkers. It’s pretty mild and pleasantly roasty with a subtle fruity flavor that I think would be overwhelmed by too much cream and sugar. On its own, it’s light and refreshing and naturally sweet. I think this Chameleon cold brew could convert the light-and-sweet crowd to black coffee drinkers.




best cold brew concentrate

Best of the Best

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Cold Brew Concentrate

Stumptown makes our favorite bottled cold brew coffee, and they make the best cold brew concentrate, too. So many of the concentrates we tried were very acidic, but Stumptown is so, so smooth and fresh tasting. It’s mellow but still has such a strong backbone of coffee flavor. If you like quality third wave coffee from that cute shop in your neighborhood, you’re going to be blown away by how good this is. Honestly, I could see this Stumptown brew being a little bit strong for some people, but that’s the beauty of a concentrate! Make it exactly how you want it—the flavor is there and it’s good.




Other products we tried: Great Value Donut Shop Cold Brew Concentrate, Starbucks Signature Black Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, Dunkin Cold Brew Concentrate, Starbucks Madagascar Vanilla Cold Brew Concentrate, Grady’s New Orleans Style Cold Brew Concentrate, Simple Truth Organic Cold Brew Concentrate, Chameleon Vanilla Cold Brew Concentrate

About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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