What’s the best cold brew?

Anchorhead goes up against Stumptown and Starbucks

By Seattle Mag


August 26, 2015

In case you haven’t noticed, cold brew coffee appears to be the drink of the season. And, before summer winds down, we thought it appropriate to do a taste test of the top Pacific Northwest premium cold brews…and perhaps pick a favorite.

Keep in mind, this kind of beauty is definitely in the palate of the beholder. And, these three cold brews are certainly not the only ones you’ll find around town – we dig the in-house cold brew at Slab Sandwiches + Pie in Capitol Hill (it happens to be heavenly smooth Caffe Vita) – but they’re the most widely available. Here goes:

Starbucks Small-Batch Cold Brew Coffee

This blend of coffee beans from Latin America and Africa are coarsley and slowly ground using no heat then slow-steeped for 20 hours in cool water to extract the dark chocolate and strong citrus rind flavors. It’s rich, with a bitter finish. 

Stumptown Roasters Original Cold Brew Coffee

According to Stumptown’s website, the highest quality coffee beans are cold brewed without heat for 12 hours then go through a double filtration process to yield the flavor that won us over: complex and fruity without a ton of acid. Just smooth, bold notes. Also available: Single origin, nitro cold brew, and the dessert-like Cold Brew with Milk in the carton.

Anchorhead Coffee Original Cold Brew

The Duvall, Wash., based roasters (and brewers) roast and grind their coffee beans then brew them for 20 hours without heat. The caffeine zing and strong bitter notes lingered too long for us. New in their lineup: Hopped Cold Brew, their signature Narwal blend steeped with fresh Citra hops to layer in notes of citrus and flowers. The nonalcoholic drink is very florally aromatic for me, but I imagine it will make a fun seasonal beverage come fall. Hello, egg nog latte.

No need to say farewell to summer’s cold brew after all.