Starbucks offers an array of delicious coffee drinks. Their cold brews are particularly refreshing and invigorating!
So what coffee does Starbucks use for their cold brew drinks, anyway?
This is something that I found interesting and worth finding out as a regular cold brew customer. Also, if you want to recreate Starbucks cold brew drinks at home, it’s essential to have the right ingredients on hand.
Below, we will discuss the coffee Starbucks uses for their cold brews, what cold brew coffee drinks are available, and more!
What Coffee Beans Does Starbucks Use for Cold Brew?
For cold brew beverages, Starbucks uses a signature blend of 100% Arabica coffee beans. Only Starbucks knows the specifics of this blend.
What we know, is that these coffee beans are sourced from an array of coffee-growing regions around the world. The coffee beans are carefully medium roasted before being brewed in cold water for a smooth and unforgettable pick-me-up.
What is in the Starbucks Cold Brew Blend?
The Arabica coffee beans in the Starbucks cold brew blend are from African and Latin American coffee-growing regions.
Starbucks has revealed that 70 percent of the blend comes from Nariño, a region located in southwestern Colombia. Coffee from this area is generally known for its smooth body and nutty flavor.
This blend of African and Latin American Arabica coffee beans showcases citrus, nutty, and chocolate notes when blended together. This is ideal for a refreshing yet decadent flavor.
How is Starbucks Cold Brew Made?
Using Latin American and African coffee beans in a cold brew blend, Starbucks makes this coffee in small batches. It’s a time-consuming process undertaken with much care.
After the coffee beans are washed, they are roasted to a medium level. This helps to bring out the natural aromas and flavors.
Next, the blend is ground and steeped in cold filtered water. The steeping process takes about 48 hours. It is done in small batches to ensure the best quality.
Difference Between Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew
You probably know something about this already, but it’s worth noting that iced coffee and cold brew are not the same.
Traditionally, iced coffee is brewed hot and made cold by pouring it over ice. However, cold brew implements only cold water in the brewing process. As such, the coffee beans are only ever heated during the roasting process.
With cold brew coffee, the brewing process takes longer. This process also brings out the natural flavors of coffee without too much acidity or sharpness.
How Much Caffeine is in Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee?
The caffeine content in Starbucks coffee differs on the size of the drink that you order and whether it’s a plain cold brew or if it contains other ingredients like milk.
A grande-sized (16 oz) Starbucks cold brew coffee contains approximately 205 mg of caffeine. You can find more details about Starbucks cold brew coffee drinks here.
But what if you make cold brew coffee at home, how do you know the caffeine content?
Well, it’s impossible to know the exact amount but it’s good to have some kind of estimate.
When determining caffeine content, consider the amount of coffee used in a beverage, what type of coffee has been used, and the serving size. Brewing time can also have an impact on caffeine content.
The longer cold brew coffee is steeped, the more caffeine will be present in the final beverage. However, compared to hot coffee, cold brew drinks tend to have slightly lower caffeine levels.
Even though the ratio of coffee and water is often stronger compared to hot brewing, the extraction is slower. Plus, the total amount of caffeine that cold water can draw out of coffee grounds is less compared to hot water.
Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee Drink Options
Starbucks offers a range of delicious cold brew drinks from the standard plain one to options blended with anything from regular milk or almond milk to Irish cream.
Then they also have nitro cold brews — these are cold brew coffees infused with nitrogen gas.
In addition to the regular cold brew and cold brew with milk here are some popular Starbucks cold brew coffee drinks that you can try:
- Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
- Reserve Cold Brew
- Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew
- Irish Cream Cold Brew
- Nitro Cold Brew (Regular, Reserve, or Vanilla Sweet Cream)
The New Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew
The latest summer menu features mouthwatering temptations like the all-new Chocolate Cream Cold Brew.
This creamy drink lets you cool off and refresh your senses with silky flavors paired with vanilla and cold brew coffee. The classic combo of chocolate and coffee is enhanced with malt flavors for a drink that’s reminiscent of chocolate ice cream on a summer day!
Starbucks Cold Brew – How to Make it at Home?
So what are the best Starbucks beans for making cold brew at home?
Starbucks Pitcher Packs are recommended for making copycat cold brews at home.
This is by far the easiest way to replicate a Starbucks cold brew beverage in just a few minutes (plus you still need to let it steep). 4 coffee packs will make about 12 cups of cold brew coffee.
Here is how to use them:
Starbucks Cold Brew Copycat Recipe Using Pitcher Packs
What You’ll Need:
- 1 Starbucks Cold Brew pitcher pack
- 3 ½ cups of water
- 3 cups ice
- In a pitcher, combine 2 cups of cool or room temperature water and 1 pitcher pack.
- Now, cover the pitcher and steep it in your refrigerator for about 20-24 hours.
- Be sure the entire coffee pitcher pack is submerged in water.
- Remove the Starbucks pitcher pack and add an additional 1 ½ cup of cold water.
- To replicate a Starbucks grande Cold Brew Coffee, use 1 cup of cold brew and 1 cup of ice.
Other Options for Making Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee
Starbucks Cold Brew Concentrate is another great option for at-home cold brews. All you need to do is add some water and ice — even easier than using the pitcher packs!
You can also choose the Madagascar Vanilla Cold Brew Concentrate and enjoy deliciously balanced vanilla notes. This coffee has a delicious, rich taste with the Starbucks cold-steeped blend for creamy nuances with just a touch of sweetness.
But frankly, you can’t say you are brewing anything here.
So if you really want to get steeped in the art of making your own cold brew, you can make it from scratch.
Here’s how to make Starbucks cold brew at home from the ground up:
What You’ll Need:
- Eight ounces of fresh, whole Arabica coffee beans
- Eight cups (two quarts) of filtered water or spring water
- A coffee grinder
- Two jars or pitchers with lids of three quarts or more
- Any suitable strainer (e.g. a cheesecloth and rubber band)
Instead of a jar or pitcher, you can also use a French press to make the cold brew.
- Grind the coffee beans coarsely. They should resemble raw sugar.
- Combine grounds and water in a jar.
- Stir or shake to blend.
- Steep coffee and water mixture for 18 to 24 hours.
- Strain the mix with a cheesecloth (or another type of strainer). Do not squeeze.
- Transfer to a clean jar with a lid.
- Store for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
If you want to put more attention to the strength of the coffee, read this guide about the cold brew coffee to water ratio.
Recommended Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
- Starbucks Ethiopia – This coffee is a medium with natural cocoa and citrus nuances.
- OGC Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Whole Bean– An aromatic coffee with a floral, chocolatey profile.
- Starbucks Kenya Africa Blend – This blend is bright and balanced.
Final Thoughts on Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee Grounds
Starbucks coffee is known for its full and rich flavors.
With cold brew drinks, these flavors are enhanced and brought to life in a delightfully refreshing way. Starbucks offers some awesome cold brew drinks to freshen up your summer.
To make cold brew at home, the pre-ground pitcher packs or concentrated coffee can be used for an easy solution. Or, you can buy your own low-acidity blend to create fresh, custom cold brew coffee at home.