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Feature

November 3, 2021
A Lazy Person’s Cheat Sheet For Great Cold Brew, From Concentrates To Cans
Because not everyone has the energy to squeeze coffee grounds in the morning.
Written by

If you’re a coffee person, almost nothing beats a fresh batch of cold brew. On the flip side, there’s almost nothing that compares to the devastation of waking up and realizing you forgot to prep your coffee the night before. To avoid such fates, there are plenty of great cold brew options that are easy to slap together as you’re desperately trying to smooth out the pillow lines on your face before your first Zoom meeting of the day (not that we’re speaking from personal experience).

In our opinion, the best home cold brew option is the one you’ll actually use and drink everyday, rather than the fancy-looking carafe that requires a ton of maintenance, cleaning, or forethought. Thankfully, there are plenty of lazy cold brew solutions that are easy enough to slap together on days when you’re running on fumes. From single-serve pods that are ideal for the office to a powder that can make hyper potent coffee in a few seconds flat, these are the best low-effort ways to get a cup of cold brew.

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A Longer-Lasting Brew Bag

These cold brew bags are convenient to use at home and create little hassle or mess. Simply plop a bag into a mason jar or pitcher of water, then let that sit overnight in the fridge for perfect cold brew in the morning. We love how convenient these are and appreciate how they don’t create too much unnecessary waste (the bags and coffee grounds themselves are compostable). Plus, these bags are strong enough for several brews — you can refill your pitcher with water three or four times before your coffee starts tasting watered down.

Get Driftaway Coffee Cold Brew Bags ($19 - $68)→

The Trader Joe’s One

If you really need a jump start in the morning, this instant coffee will certainly get the job done. One heaping spoonful of this dark arabica powder instantly dissolves into a glass of water for a highly potent cold brew that’ll make your hair stand on end and motivate you to repot your struggling plants and read Dune simultaneously. You can also mix this into milk, banana bread batter, and more to inject a boost of caffeine and coffee flavor. The compact jar makes weeks worth of cold brews, so it’s great for packing on trips or for saving on kitchen space.

Get Trader Joe’s Instant Cold Brew coffee ($4)→

A More Cost-Effective Bean Bag

These bean bags easily make hickory-infused New Orleans style cold brew in just about any container, from a pitcher to a jar or even a large water bottle. And, at less than $8, each bag of 3 servings only costs about $2 — way cheaper than the 12oz cold brew you’d typically grab on your way to work.

Get Grady’s Cold Brew Coffee, Single Can with 4 Bean Bags ($7)→

A Travel-Friendly Solution

If you want to make your own cold brew but don’t have a spare container for overnight steeping, Grady’s also has a pour-and-store kit that brews and dispenses your coffee for you. It’s great for a makeshift Airbnb or camping situation, especially since the large brew bag can easily caffeinate a small crowd.

Get Grady’s Cold Brew Pour & Store Kit with 12 Bean Bags ($30)→

The Most Space-Efficient Concentrate

Jot is one of the strongest, smoothest-tasting coffee concentrates we’ve tried, and it requires even less effort than a brew bag. A single tablespoon of Jot and a few ounces of water can produce a hyper-potent demitasse of coffee, or you can mix your Jot with cold water (or the creamer of your choosing) to produce an excellent iced coffee with minimal effort. We enjoy the original flavor, but the dark roast is great for anyone who’s looking for a little more body and a bolder flavor.

Get Jot Ultra Coffee ($18 - $48)→

A Simple Single-Serve Option

Let’s say you don’t need an entire carafe of coffee to get your morning going and would rather not have a super involved cold brew setup taking up your entire fridge. In that case, get these single-serve cold brew pods. (The medium roast s’more flavor is evocative of campfire coffee.)

Get Bones Coffee S’Morey Time Cold Brew Pods, 12-count ($15)→

The Office-Friendly Solution

If you need something you can store in a spare office drawer for days when you require an extra caffeine boost (or five), try these Starbucks pods. They can be easily swirled with some ice and water, or you can freeze them for super-concentrated coffee ice cubes.

Get Starbucks Signature Single Serve Concentrate Capsules, 6-boxes ($49)→

A Hype Cold Brew Pod

These freezable pods are versatile vehicles for smooth coffee in almost any form. You can brew them in your favorite pod machine, stir them frozen into hot water, or use a melted pod as a strong coffee concentrate for lattes, iced coffees and more. Cometeer also works with specialty roasters from around the U.S., so you can enjoy coffee from cult-favorite roasters like Counter Culture, Birch, and Equator.

Get Cometeer Mixed Box ($48 - $64)→

A Seasonally Appropriate Super Coffee

We were pleasantly surprised when we first tried Super Coffee — it’s a protein-packed beverage that keeps you energized without tasting like a post-workout shake. If you’re gearing up for the holidays, the white chocolate peppermint Super Coffees will add a little extra cheer (or at least caffeine) to the start of your day.

Get White Chocolate Peppermint Super Coffee, 12-pack ($34)→

A Concentrate To Always Have On Hand

We love the simplicity of making cold brew from a carton of concentrate. It’s effective and non-fussy, and you can always adjust the strength of your cup to your liking. We enjoy mixing this particular concentrate with Califia Farm’s other coffee + alt milk products for a very strong cold cup of joe.

Get Califia Farms Concentrated Cold Brew, 6-pack ($38)→

The On-The-Go Can

Keep some of La Colombe’s ready-to-drink cold brew on hand for days when you barely have enough energy to pop open a can, much less make coffee. This medium roast cold brew is smooth and strong enough to replace more than two cups of a standard drip coffee.

Get La Colombe Pure Black Cold Pressed Coffee, 16-count ($47)→

If You Also Like Oat Milk

If you’re not a fan of black coffee but still want an easy way to enjoy zero-effort cold brew in the morning, try this Stumptown beverage that’s pre-mixed with Oatly oat milk. The 11oz carton is easy to sip from, and the coffee itself will gently nudge you awake, rather than jolt you into sudden, terrifying consciousness.

Get Stumptown Original Cold Brew with OATLY, 12-pack ($48)→

If You Want Some Variety

Occasionally, you’ll want to switch things up in your cold brew coffee routine without going through the effort of actually changing your routine. This variety pack from Rise Brewing Co allows you to do just that, with four different versions of its potent nitro cold brew. Go for the classic black nitro, or try a flavor like vanilla, mocha, or oat milk latte. All four variations are great ways to start your day with a caffeine kick (and they’re easy to enjoy on-the-go).

Get Rise Brewing Co Nitro Cold Brew Variety Pack, 12-pack ($35)→

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